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What Remains True: A Novel Paperback – December 1, 2017
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About the Author
Janis Thomas is the author of three critically acclaimed humorous women’s fiction novels—Something New, Sweet Nothings, and Say Never—as well as Murder in A-Minor, the first book in her Musical Murder Mystery series. She has written two children’s books with her father and more than fifty songs. As well as being an author and musical performer, Janis is also a writing advocate, editor, workshop leader, and speaker.
Janis likes to hang out with her two amazing children, play tennis, and sing with her sister. She is also an admitted foodie. Along with her husband (a former chef), she likes to throw wild dinner parties with outrageous menus for friends and loved ones. Janis lives in Southern California with her family and two crazy dogs.
Learn more about Janis at www.JanisThomas.com.
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As the book proceeds meet Eden, Jonah's 10 year old sister, Samuel his father, Rachel his mother, his Auntie Ruth and Shadow, the family dog. Each chapter features the above in order several times relating their grief and current life in first person. Eden is having to face her classmates as she goes back to school. Samuel, having always been the strong one, now feels helpless, resentful towards Ruth, is not giving Eden the attention and love she deserves and drinking a little too much. He has no clue how to handle Rachel. Rachel has gone to pieces, no longer caring about anything around her and relying heavily on medication. Ruth is still suffering after her divorce eighteen months ago but glad to have something to do, feeling like she is the one keeping the family together. Shadow obviously sees things from a dog's perspective. He knows his family is sad but that causes him to suffer too when they forget to feed him and he no longer gets the attention that he once did. Grief is told and shared from all angles as this story progresses. Each member blames them-self for Jonah's death.
An almost devastating consequence occurs when Rachel realizes that Jonah is not in heaven and thus 'needs' her help to get him there! This also brings in a new character: Maddie, a therapist/counselor. Maddie owns a very successful practice and it is only through a friend's pleading that she takes on this family's "case". Can she help them work through their grief and be a family again?
Filled with tragedy the reader is sometimes rewarded with some humorous moments. Some of Jonah's memories and enthusiasm will have you smiling. Maddie has discovered that the only way to relax after her stressful days without affecting her waistline is with mild medical marijuana. We do not learn how Jonah died until Chapter 31 and it is even longer before we learn exactly what happened BUT this does not make the read a frustrating one. The story grips you and keeps you reading.
How's the language? For those of you who like to be forewarned the F-bomb is present almost 30 times. There is some other mild language also. Although there are no detailed sex scenes, Samuel is very much a man who admits that one part of him sometimes rules his brain thus the language/descriptions can be a little coarse occasionally. Tempted by an affair, will he succumb or realize that his marriage and family is worth more than that?
This was an EXCELLENT, well researched, gripping read. Although fictional the experiences and feelings of each character come over as very real. Quite ingenious how the author wraps the story up. Not the kind of book I would usually read but I downloaded it as my Kindle First choice for November 2017. I was not required to write a review but chose to do so. Thanks, Liz
Everyone says they want to read something new, something fresh. Something unexpected.
Well, this is it.
WHAT REMAINS TRUE by Janis Thomas is going to hit you and hard. You will finish the book, altered. You will experience the spectrum of emotions and by the end you may decide to read the novel one more time. This novel is a departure from Thomas's previous novels, demonstrating that she's one of the most diverse and talented writers out there.
The characters are multilayered and complex. I was a little frustrated by their lack of involvement with the other family members. I was relieved when they finally got into counseling. They were resistant, as many people are, in the beginning. Each did slowly open themselves to the process. Janis Thomas stated in the Afterword "When we are united we can overcome any challenge life puts in our path." The story is told in a way that kept my interest piqued. The truth was very slowly revealed and that is what kept me the ing pages.
I generally liked the storyline. It dragged a little in the final third when the outcome was obvious but the author continued the slow reveal. The alternate views make the story interesting an something to reflect on. No regrets on choosing this as my Kindle First pick. Just don't overthink it.