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Reviewed by Michael Gardner for Readers' Favorite
It’s fair to say that Different by Datta Groover is a book with a lot going on. What starts as a family drama, with a couple going to marriage counseling, quickly elevates into much more. The family, husband and wife Frank and Sophia, their two daughters and one son, initially appear to be dealing with the pressures of modern life: namely making enough money to make ends meet, being good parents, and raising their children to have the best possible start in life. We soon discover there are some serious skeletons in the closet, infidelity issues, and subplots aplenty. At the heart of it all is Sam, the son who does not speak. He appears to be autistic, but unlike most people on the far end of the spectrum, he is also highly empathic. The plot thickens with every chapter, as do the revelations about the past, especially with regard to Sam.
Listening to the audiobook version of Different, I particularly appreciated Deva Groover’s somewhat understated reading of the text, which struck me as just the right tone for what is a very dramatic book. As the drama is so intense, with flawed characters making decisions I didn’t necessarily sympathize with all the time, I felt a more dramatic reading would have lessened the emotional impact of the book, pushing it more towards soap opera rather than keeping it well on the ground. We tend to forget that an audiobook is as much about the narrator’s performance as it is about the writing and story. So high praise there. Overall, I enjoyed Different very much.