Not often do I step back into the classics and well I should. They hold the interest of generations through the author’s ability and message conveyed. This one was brought to life for me by narrator Paul Woodson.
Title: The Efficiency Expert
Author: Edgar Rice Burroughs
Genre: Literary Fiction
Published: October 1921
Narrated by: Paul Woodson
Length: 5 hours and 15 minutes
Release Date: May 29, 2015
Published by: Audio Books by Mike Vendetti
The Efficiency Expert is a 1921 novel Edgar Rice Burroughs. One of a small number of Burroughs’ novels set in contemporary America as opposed to a fantasy universe, The Efficiency Expert follows the adventures of Jimmy Torrance as he attempts to make a career for himself in 1921 Chicago. The book is remarkable for the criminal livelihoods of the hero’s friends. It was also admitted to be a fictionalization of Burroughs’ own difficulties in finding a job prior to becoming a best-selling writer. Though written in 1919, it was first published in the October 1921 edition of the All-Story Weekly magazine. Excerpt from Wikipedia https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Efficiency_Expert_(novel)
Publisher’s Summary: Jimmy Torrance, Jr., was a champion athlete in college, if not the brightest scholar. Upon graduation in 1919, he emerges starry-eyed into the grand metropolis of Chicago, cocksure that he will immediately be hired as the manager of a large business. But the real world differs measurably from Jimmy’s grandiose expectations.
As the rough-and-tumble, gritty world of Chicago knocks the scrappy youngster down a few pegs, he crosses paths with all the archetypal characters of early pulp fiction: Little Eva, the hooker with a heart of gold; Harold Bince, the scheming embezzler; Elizabeth Compton and Harriet Holden, two classy society ladies; and, most intriguingly, The Lizard, a sagacious safe cracker and pickpocket who just might hold the key to Jimmy’s future.
Written by the grandfather of science fiction and master pulp writer Edgar Rice Burroughs (author of Tarzan and John Carter of Mars), this oft-overlooked urban adventure of the 1910s-1920s brings all the classic elements of a gripping story into one short novel about an enterprising, determined young man out to begin his professional career in the real world – even if it means pawning his possessions, consorting with criminals, and forging his recommendation letters to land his first “respectable” job.
Professional film and stage actor/narrator Paul Woodson brings this American classic to life, bringing to life each of the over 30 characters in this coming-of-age piece, which is by turns both dramatic and comical.
Public Domain (P)2015 Paul Woodson
My Thoughts: Jimmy Torrance could have been any one of us. He barely got through college, but realized through comments from his father he hadn’t pleased him and in hindsight he hadn’t pleased himself. With the gumption of “I can do better”, he seeks his first job in Chicago. Preferring that, to an offer his father had for work in the family business.
His lessons are numerous in a city of riches and poverty. The message the author conveys to me is one should never spurn those who have less nor give them a fair shake as you should with all society, whether it be a prostitute or even a pickpocket. And what we currently say, what goes around comes around, is very much in evidence in this lovely, entertaining, coming of age story of a young man trying to find his worth in a world quick to accuse and slander.
If it hadn’t been for my admiration of the quality of productions Paul Woodson does, I would not have encountered any of Mr. Burroughs’ works other than the famous Tarzan of the Apes, a fantasy, which I loved. I also found he has written many more books that are now in the public domain. Per chance this is your chance to be introduced to his work, if you aren’t already.
We read and listen to so many marvelous authors of our time. However, it is nice to be able to recount the marvels of past authors. Thank you, Paul Woodson, for giving me a few hours with an author who should not be forgotten with your talented narration of a touching and meaningful story.
About the Narrator, Paul Woodson: Narrator Paul Woodson records, edits, and master audiobooks commissioned by authors and publishers through Audiobook Creation Exchange (ACX). He’s been an AEA and SAG actor for almost 20 years, with most of his work in Theater. He studied theater at Boston University’s BFA program with work in classical theater, dialect and vocal training. When he was a lad (love that word) his family lived in England where his father did graduate work at Cambridge. I asked Paul how he had such great accents in this reading. His answer was thus:
“Perhaps the immersion at a young age, plus my frequent portrayal of Englishmen and Scotsmen has kept my dialects sharp over the years.”
And now I find that Mr. Woodson does many other narrations. Recently listened to Sally Copus’s Blackheart’s Legacy, a young adult story, also thoroughly enjoyed.
He has narrations of 40 books presently on Amazon. If you are a medieval romance historical romance reader, check out his narrations of books from Ceci Giltenan and Lily Baldwin and now Jennifer Lee Davis. If any of my author friends need a narrator who speaks French and German among other talents, seek him out.