Thursday, January 20, 2022

AudioBook Review: Miss Benson's Beetle by Rachel Joyce

Miss Benson's Beetle by Rachel Joyce book cover and review
Although Miss Benson's Beetle is not my usual type of book, I enjoyed this delightful, heartwarming story.

In 1950, England is still recovering from WWII. Margery Benson is a worn-out school teacher who suffers a midlife crisis. She leaves her job and decides she wants to fulfill her lifelong quest -- to find the Golden Beetle in New Caledonia. Her father taught her about beetles when she was a child, and as you will find out as she flashes back throughout the story, she has never stopped learning about them. New Caledonia is on the other side of the world, and Margery has no idea how to get there. She has no money. She doesn't speak the language. But that doesn't stop her.

She advertises for an assistant, and the applicants leave a lot to be desired. She rejects an ex-POW who is suffering from PTSD. And she rejects Enid Pretty, a ditsy blond who wears high heels and obviously would not survive a jungle expedition on the other side of the world. But, because of circumstances, Enid is exactly who Margery ends up with.

Enid has many secrets which make it all the more remarkable that these two women manage to get as far as they do. And I won't tell you how far that is. They manage to get around when the odds are against them. No passport, no luggage, no visa, no money, no food. Police inquiries. Lost supplies. Injuries and other health issues. And the reappearance of the ex-POW. Nothing can stop them. These two unlikely women begin to respect each other, and their partnership improves both of their lives.

I giggled at the stupidity and brashness of Enid. And Margery's obsession with beetles and her ability to avoid unpleasantness using that knowledge is remarkable. 

Part of the reason I enjoyed Miss Benson's Beetle is because I listened to the audio version. This is one of the best audiobooks I've ever listened to. Juliet Stevenson's voices add so much to the story. I just can't recommend the audio version enough.

If Miss Benson's Beetle is your type of book, you should grab it. If it isn't your type of book, you should still consider it, especially if you enjoy audiobooks.

Published by Dial, 2020
Audiobook obtained from the library (Cloud Library)
352 pages

Rating: 4.5/5

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  1. I enjoyed this as well. Although I thought the male character was unnecessary - still would have been a great book.

  2. Oh good. I am requesting the audiobook from the library as soon as I get done typing here. Thank you.

  3. I see you are listening to The Four Winds. It is quite good in the audio format, too.

    1. I’m loving it. Almost finished, but I own it, and I keep getting interrupted by audiobooks I put on hold from the library!

  4. I am so glad you enjoyed this one even though you didn't really expect to. I agree that it was fun, funny, and poignant.

  5. I've been hesitating on this one. I think it's because the word "beetle" makes it sound science-y. Sounds like it's a really entertaining read, though. I'm always on the lookout for new audiobooks, so I'm going to try this one out. Thanks for changing my mind!

    1. Miss Benson is into the science of beetles, but it doesn’t make the book “sciencey” at all.


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