Unabridged Access

15 August 2016

Staff Listens: Adnan’s Story

Alex shares her latest listen, Rabia Chaudry’s Adnan’s Story. Adnan’s Story is available as an unabridged CD and digital download: Audiobooks.com, Amazon, Audible, Barnes & Noble, NOOK audiobooks, IndieBound

In early 2000, Adnan Syed was convicted and sentenced to life plus thirty years for the murder of his ex-girlfriend Hae Min Lee, a high school senior in Baltimore, Maryland. Syed has maintained his innocence, and Rabia Chaudry—a family friend—has always believed him. By 2013, after almost all appeals had been exhausted, Rabia contacted Sarah Koenig—a producer at This American Life—in hopes of finding a journalist who could shed light on Adnan’s story. The result of Koenig’s investigation was Serial, a Peabody Award-winning podcast with more than 500 million international listeners.

Like that hoard of listeners, I listened to the first episode of Serial and was instantly hooked. Sarah Koenig’s voice, the narrative, the mystery—it was all perfect storytelling. In that first episode when listeners are introduced to Rabia, I was immediately impressed. She’s fought for this long for her little brother’s best friend, while maintaining her own, successful career, but Serial doesn’t show the whole picture. When I finished Serial and I was yearning for more, I then found Rabia’s Undisclosed podcast. With Rabia’s passion, and Susan Simpson and Colin Miller’s research and investigative efforts, so much more of the story is told. I realized just how much more there was to this case than I heard in Serial, and now with Adnan’s Story, listeners get to see the whole picture.

Adnan’s Story is more than just the aftermath of Serial and more than a fuller backstory of Adnan Syed. It’s about a failure in the justice system, a broken family, terrible prejudices in America, and a friend desperately trying to do right by someone who was nearly abandoned and forgotten about. As much as this story is about Adnan, it’s about Rabia too. It was absolutely the perfect audiobook to listen to versus reading the printed or eBook editions. Rabia’s experience with her podcast really lent itself to narrating the story, and the parts where she reveals things from her personal life that we didn’t hear on the podcasts are given so much more emotion when delivered via her own voice. Rabia is a new heroine of mine. I liked her before; I think she’s a champion now.

Hear Rabia reading the introduction to Adnan’s Story in this audiobook excerpt:

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