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Good on Paper [Kindle Edition]

Bodie Parkhurst
4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)

Print List Price: $21.00
Kindle Price: $2.99
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Book Description

Once upon a time, a king named David got the hots for a steamy little number named Bathsheba. Lucky for David, Mr. Bathsheba was busy being one of David’s best generals, so Bathsheba was home all by her lonesome...

See where this is heading? Of course you do.

So does Sarah Conrad, reluctant Bible scholar and unwilling paramour of televangelist Pastor Jimmy Jay Rayburn. It’s a destination she knows well. But the destination is only the beginning. Sarah doesn’t wind up sleeping with an aging “man of God” by accident. Eldest sister Elaine’s minister husband isn’t divorcing her on a whim. And middle sister Elizabeth doesn’t vanish in a fit of pique, leaving a dead dog, a roomful of blood, and Sarah and youngest Conrad DJ behind.

The Conrad children survive by keeping up appearances. But it costs them. When family patriarch Dan Conrad is diagnosed with terminal cancer and the children come home to help appearances are no longer enough, and tensions rise. When somebody winds up murdered the Conrads are forced to unravel their past in order to survive their present.

Set on a family farm in a fast-disappearing slice of America, Good on Paper is first and foremost a story in which to lose one’s self--readers consistently comment that they “couldn’t put it down.” But beyond that, the story raises questions. How do we determine who is “good?” How do we decide what is real? Do we respond to the victimization of others, and if so, how? How do we integrate a painful and abusive past into a vibrant and creative present and future? Above all, this story leaves readers wondering, with DJ Conrad, “...what it is about our family, our church, our society, that allows abusers to not only survive, but thrive.”

By turns infuriating, hilarious, magical, frightening, and lyrical, the Conrads’ story captures the paradox lying at the heart of abusive relationships, as well as the courage, honesty and humor that the Conrad children use to survive.

Tracing the Conrad chidren’s journey to healing and resolution makes for a powerful and haunting read, one that should appeal to a many, particularly those interested in understanding how the pain of an abusive past can become the fertile soil from which a rich, meaningful future can spring.

Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Bodie Parkhurst is a writer, designer, and illustrator. She lives in the Pacific Northwest with her son and a small cat ghost. She has written and illustrated numerous picture books. This is her second novel.

Product Details

  • File Size: 918 KB
  • Print Length: 582 pages
  • Publisher: CreateSpace; 1 edition (November 30, 2009)
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B003F77E8G
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Lending: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,448,369 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Bodie Parkhurst is good on paper! February 12, 2011
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I have to give this five stars, even though the eBook version I had was plagued with some formatting problems and the last third of the book wasn't edited as scrupulously as the earlier parts.

Even so, this book is amazing. It swings effortlessly from gritty, painful realism to myth and back. One wonders whether the fairy-tale segments (Grimm Brothers fairy tales, where pain and blood have their places alongside safety and beauty) are metaphorical, hallucinatory, alternate reality or... or what. In the end, it doesn't really matter.

This extraordinary story addresses the very real horror of being in an abusive relationship that no one acknowledges--not even you. It doesn't flinch from showing the most frightening and crippling part of an abuser: the part that's genuinely kind and loving. It's this basic neurological and psychological cross-wiring between strong love and aggression that hobbles the abuser, the target and the care-takers who are supposed to watch for and prevent abuse.

Parkhurst uses multiple points of view to tell this story. Multiple point of view doesn't always work, because the reader CAN lose track of who's talking. No danger of that with Parkhurst's characters--each is unique, and she hardly needs to preface every chapter with who is the narrator; none of her narrators' voices could possibly be confused with any other! It's a stunning piece of work.

I understand she's working on a sequel. I'm waiting
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful Book April 23, 2013
By Rachel
Format:Kindle Edition
I would have rated it five but for one problem.

The prose was beautiful, the voices strong. The issues of abuse were dealt with as delicately as can be when told from a survivor's point of view. I cannot believe I got this book for free, and I plan on recommending it to everyone, with the caveat that it deals with some dark themes and it may not be for them.

That being said, it was disheartening to see all the Christians portrayed so badly (with the exception of the brother and a sister who seemed in between). As a Christian, it would have been nice to have one person, strong in the faith and throwing aside the twisted version of Christianity that the leaders of the church had warped to fit their needs.

But really, that was it. It was a beautiful book. I've been reading so many bad Indie books lately, that reading this was more than a gem. I'm very surprised this book is not more popular, and I wish the author all the success in the world.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Story of Good And Evil and Healing July 18, 2014
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
This book grabbed me and nearly throttled me before I finished it. It was horrifying and redemptive and kind by turns, sometimes so quickly it was dizzying. Incest and abuse of all kinds abound and yet times of love and light shine through so brightly it's nearly terrifying. Throw in some Magical Realism every now and then for relief. I could hardly wait for the ending because I couldn't imagine how things might be reconciled. And after taking this emotional roller coaster ride I was pleased and satisfied with Bodie Parkhurst's finale.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Child abuse is real! And horrible! December 6, 2013
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
This book was way more than I bargained for. Told essentially as monologues by four distinct and very real characters, the reader is immersed in the hell of trying to survive an abusive father, enabled by a conspiracy of silence and surrounded by a cloak of religion - warping Christianity to serve evil.
Elaine, Bethie, and Sarah - three sisters, physically and sexually abused; each respond differently but all are warped. Their mother,fearing to protect them, is in denial and their more or less fundamentalist church leaders look on placidly. "After all, it happens in all families."
The fourth voice is that of Jennifer, their sister-in-law. Jennifer grew up in a non-abusive family, is highly educated (as she reminds everyone she can get to listen to her) and is vicious - albeit able to rationalize her most demonic acts into her version of altruism, again cloaked in religion.
Often the same event is repeated through the eyes of more than one character - and often it is hard to recognize it as the same event amidst the subjectivity. Jennifer acts as a catalyst, eventually breaking through the "know-nothing" confederacy when she can no longer be ignored, not even by those with a lifetime of practice in denial.
Despite its length, I found it very difficult to put this book down. I was a bit disappointed in the author's decision to fall back on the esoteric/supernatural in seeking resolution (which might suggest that there IS NO resolution in the real world), and while I believe that the abused are truly conflicted by the belief that they should love their abuser, I question whether it works the other way around.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A truly amazing story July 28, 2013
By N
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I haven't been able to stop thinking about this book since I finished it reading it- twice. In a day.
This is not a book for the faint of heart or someone looking for a light piece of fiction.
I first must say that this book deals with incest, child molestations and a very rigid Christian doctrine. And in this same sense I felt that it dealt with these horrific truths and ideas as delicately as anyone could. In reading the horror of that these protagonists went through, you go through this journey with a sense of sadness and in the same breath I felt so fiercely protective of these children. And somehow once the author reveals the beginning of that cycle of horror, you want to weep for each child that was destroyed and I've come to the conclusion that in this particular story, evil seeped in and began the cycle because of a mothers failure to protect her children. And the cycle continued when the mother of our protagonists fails to protect her children- and it finally ends when our characters protect each other.
A previous reviewer mentioned they felt that the magic that came into play seemed out of place- I felt quite the opposite. Given the circumstances, the hell that was described in such depth- the idea that healing can come from elsewhere from something nearly inexplicable seemed... Very organic. Maybe because in those "magic" filled scenes, it was like taking a breath after having been surrounded by the vile despicable horrors that no one should've ensured.
Reading this as a woman and as a mother struck a chord. I felt revulsion, deep sorrow and for half the time it was hard to read with tears streaming down my cheeks. In many ways, the mother in me wanted to tear those children away, keep them safe and protected and loved. And towards the end, it was the woman in me that was so proud that each child broke free- it's the sign of an amazing read to keep me feeling a wealth of emotions.
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More About the Author

Bodie Parkhurst has been writing and illustrating stories since third grade. She has worked as a reader, a tutor, a ranch hand, a mechanic, a truck driver, a dairy maid, a writer, an editor, a fine artist, an illustrator, and a designer. In addition to writing, illustrating, and designing her own books, she designs books for NewSage Press (, apparel and home decorating items for Magic Dog Press (, and just about anything her clients request, from banners and billboards to annual reports to whitepapers to ads.

Her non-fiction writing has been appearing in various newspapers and magazines under the name "Sherry Wachter" for two decades. She is currently working on her second novel, and a memoir about growing up as a member of a conservative fundamentalist sect--and what ultimately prompted her decision to leave.

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