Narrator Spotlight: Jorjeana Marie

by Danielle

On average I listen to about 75 books a year. Since I started using my commute and chores to work my way through my TBR pile, I’ve probably listened to over 300 books. I’ve fallen in and out of love with some narrators and had my favorites. But I confess that often times I forget narrators. Maybe the book wasn’t memorable or I was distracted by a screaming toddler in the backseat of my car or my mind was elsewhere for part of the book.

Recently I listened to Jennifer Close’s The Hopefuls, a timely novel about young politicians in Washington. D.C. At the time, I would have sworn I’d never heard Jorjeana Marie narrate before and I was excited to find a new voice. Then, upon searching the catalog I discovered I had in fact listened to Jorjeana Marie before, including two books this year.

This is a testament to her ability as a narrator (and her training as a character actress and time in theater) that I had listened to Gayle Forman’s I Was Here and The Hopefuls and did not recognize Marie’s voice as being the same. She manage to transform these two contemporary novels so that they were memorable on their own.  She hopefulsreally gets into character. According to a 2015 interview for AudioFile sometimes Marie’s deep involvement with characters can be hard. She just finished narrating a story about someone who lived through lots of trauma. “It was written in the first person, so I was really living it. That’s part of the depth, making the decision to fully embody that person, but it can be emotionally exhausting to live inside somebody else for six hours straight.”

Her work with the novels Belzhar by Meg Wolitzer and Forman’s I Was Here earned her AudioFile’s Best of 2014 and 2015 Young Adult. But Marie’s range goes beyond YA novels and political comedies. In Hope: A Memoir of Survival in Cleveland by Amanda Berry, her narration of this memoir is heartbreaking and haunting. She makes If You Find This Letter by Hannah Brencher even more heartwarming. And Marie transitions effortlessly from thrillers like The Darkest Corners and Beware That Girl to fantasy in The Faerie Prince.

The best part about rediscovering Jorjeana Marie is that there are still many books narrated by her left to read!

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Comments

One response to “Narrator Spotlight: Jorjeana Marie”

  1. I was about to say that I haven’t listened to any of her’s but decided to verify that first (so librarian!). Turns out I listened to The Assistants by Camille Perri as read by her this spring. It was great. It also looks like she reads The City Baker’s Guide to Country Living which I read in print and loved last week. Sounds like she gets good gigs!

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