What Remains True – Janis Thomas

What remains true

I’m having a lot of weird coincidences lately and this is the second book in a row that is told from the perspective of several characters.

It tells the story of a family dealing with the death of Jonah, their son, brother, nephew and owner ­– yes, you even get the dog’s perspective. The how of the death is left a mystery for the bulk of the story, however you can work out the basics of what took place, but the finer details are kept under wraps until the very end.

The characters are all working through their grief in different ways but they all share one thing – they blame themselves.

It’s a very interesting concept and an awful situation for any family to find themselves in. At first, I thought I was onto another winner with this book, but by the time I was on each characters’ third chapter my patience was beginning to wane. There was a great framework but no substance behind it. It began to feel like the author was trying to draw out the story, but there wasn’t enough family drama or tension to really make it compelling. Instead there was a lot of detail about the mundane minute of the characters lives, which became too much for me. My English teacher in school talked to us about speed reading, where you skip over all the unimportant information. I don’t have that ability and so I get frustrated when an author tells me someone went to work on their laptop but had to turn it on first. Unless turning it on has a major impact on the story I can guess they switched it on, or maybe it was already on, who knows, who cares? If they are working on it, at some point it got switched on. And there was a lot of this as far as I was concerned.

The story builds and builds to the point of the big reveal and what happened on the day Jonah died but what happens in-between wasn’t particularly interesting.

I did think, at one point, that the book would be a good read for adolescents. The point of view from Jonah’s sister Sam is well constructed. However, that was until the sex scene that hit me like a wet fish across the face. There are one or two sentences that are so sexually graphic in an otherwise placid book that I physically recoiled.

It was very out of keeping with the rest of the book and unnecessary. I’m not one who is easily offended but this just made no sense in the overall tone of the book. The story line around this moment could very easily have been told without the shock value.

Overall, it was an okay read, but I’d probably give it a miss if you have a better offer on the shelf.

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