Book Review: What Remains True

Title: What Remains True
Author: Janis Thomas
Genre: Fiction-Drama
Release Date: December 1, 2017
Pages: 348
Buy This Book: Amazon/Audible (affiliate link)

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“I could shelve my personal problems, slough off any issue that was plaguing me, allow the stress to seep from my pores as my work enveloped me and carried me away. But this is not a problem I can shelve, nor an issue I can slough off. This is not stress. This is grief. Overwhelming and insidious grief that refuses to be ignored or denied or temporarily tucked away.”

No, the release date isn’t a typo. I received What Remains True through Amazon’s Kindle First program for Prime members, so I got to read it a little early. Quick side note: If you’re a Prime member and you aren’t taking advantage of this feature (like I didn’t for years), start now! Seriously. So worth it! If you’re not even sure what I’m talking about, click here for more information.

This was a very heart wrenching, emotional read for me. I already knew going into it that it was about a very heavy topic (a family grieving the unexpected loss of a 5-year-old boy) so of course I assumed it was going to be a tearjerker, but I was still a bit surprised that I only made it a few chapters in before I started crying. To be fair, I tend to cry over fictional characters in books, TV shows, and movies rather easily. I also have a 5-year-old son who’s very similar to Jonah in a lot of ways, which made it hit a little too close to home for me. So it might just be me, but I’m giving you fair warning just in case you’re as… well… sensitive as I am. 😉

Another thing I want to mention about this book is that it is written in first person narrative from each character’s point of view. A lot of times when authors use that writing technique, I find that it makes it harder to follow the storyline and the writing just doesn’t seem to flow quite right. Janis Thomas really pulled it off this time though. The story was easy to follow (even switching between different time frames) and each of the characters had a very distinct, well-developed personality. One thing I didn’t like about it, however, was that Thomas included the dog Shadow’s point of view. Those parts came across as cheesy and pulled me out of the story every time. I also didn’t find them to be very believable so they ruined some of the realism for me.

As for the story itself, this book held my interest throughout its entirety. In the second half I found it hard to put down, as more and more was revealed about the events leading up the the young boy’s death. I wasn’t a big fan of the ending, but I’m not sure how it could have ended differently while giving closure. I’m going to give it a 3.5/5 score. It’s not one of my favorites, but still definitely worth the read.

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