Book Review: The Nobodies Album by Carolyn Parkhurst

The Nobodies Album by Carolyn ParkhurstI very much enjoyed reading Lost and Found by this author, so when I saw The Nobodies Album in the library, I grabbed it straight away (no matter how many books were still waiting to be read at home).

This book is very different but I enjoyed it almost as much.

The Nobodies Album: What it is about

Well-known writer Octavia Frost has finished a new book. It’s not like her others or actually, it is. It contains the last chapter of each of her other books, including an alternative ending to the stories.

Just as she hands this in to her agent, she finds out that her estranged popstar son, Milo, has been arrested for killing his girlfriend Bettina.

She goes to San Fransisco hoping that maybe Milo will want to see her and let her help him in any way she can.

After Milo is let out on bail, mother and son meet and slowly they start to grow closer again. The death of Octavia’s husband and daughter, Milo’s father and sister, when he was still a child, influenced them, both in their work as author and songwriter and in their relationships to other people.

Eventually it becomes clear how the murder happened, but that’s not the main focus of the story. During the book we get to read parts of the Nobodies Album, i.e., Octavia’s book with old chapters and new endings and we learn how Octavia has changed since she wrote each of these books, and how the past and the coping with the past has played a role in the writing of the novels.

The Nobodies Album: What I thought

At first I didn’t like the book chapters of Octivia’s Nobodies Album as it interfered with the main story. But soon I saw the relevance (a little bit of reading between the lines is needed).

So I did enjoy reading this book and it was more serious than I first expected.

The story of the mother/son relationship was worked out brilliantly. However, Roland, an old rockstar friend of Milo’s, was a bit of a card-board character. It seemed that the character of Kathy, Bettina’s mother, suffered a similar fate, but this turned out to be a more complex character later in the book.

Very enjoyable, with topics such as parent/child relationship and grieving.

Rating: 4/5 stars

I got this book: from the library

I read this in: Dutch, the original language is English

Number of pages: 332 (Dutch copy)

First published: 2010

Genre: contemporary fiction


About Leeswammes
I'm owner and editor at In my free time, I read and review books on my two blogs, Leeswammes' Blog and De Boekblogger.

14 Responses to Book Review: The Nobodies Album by Carolyn Parkhurst

  1. Sandra says:

    I enjoyed aspects of this story but it was not the great book I was hoping for after loving The Dogs of Babel.
    I liked the chapters of writing which I read closely for a sort of slow reveal of the protagonist herself.
    I have a copy of Lost and Found and look forward to reading that too. I have to borrow my books from the public library but I liked The Dogs of Babel so much that my son went out and bought me a copy. I recommend it if you can get a copy. Thank you for reviewing this.

  2. I have been thinking about getting this one myself as I read (and LOVED) The Dogs of Babel (or Lorelei’s Secret as it’s known in the UK). I really want to read this book but I don’t feel in any particular hurry to do so – maybe one for later. Thanks for the review 🙂

  3. I listened to this one last summer/fall after reading that it was on someone’s top 5 list for 2010. I didn’t love it but did enjoy it. I agree with your thoughts, I remember wanting more from some characters/plots and thought Octivia took up to much space at times. Overall… a good book.

    Great review!

  4. Misha says:

    I have some of Carolyn Parkhurst’s books on my wishlist. I enjoy reading about parent-child relationships, so I may give this one a try. Thanks for the review!

  5. Cindy says:

    Sounds like I’d enjoy this one.

  6. This sounds different and interesting!

  7. Interesting book — I might get this although I’m not always wild about parenting-oriented fiction — my curiosity is piqued!

  8. Tes says:

    Wow what an interesting story. I think I’d be enjoying this 🙂

  9. lomaurice says:

    I really enjoyed reading about your vacation. Thanks for sharing. Photos are great. My husband and I are planning a trip to Amsterdam and Paris for the future. We visited Barcelona several years ago and totally fell in love with it. The food was wonderful. And the art and architecture! We loved the market.

    Do you get arc’s from U.S.? If so how does that work?

    • Leeswammes says:

      Lomaurice, it was a pity we could only spend one day in Barcelona, it was really nice there (and I loved those narrow streets and old buildings.

      I get ARCs from the US and UK, sometimes I just ask for them and I am also on some publishers’ mailing lists (which happened when they asked via Twitter for bloggers to put themselves on their mailing list).

      Where do you live?

  10. Sorry I haven’t been commenting on your blog recently – I’ve been having major computer issues. Things are still a bit intermitent, so I apologise if I disappear again.

    I’m glad that you enjoyed this one. I agree that some of the side characters were a bit flat, but that didn’t bother me as the central ones were so good and the story was so cleverly done. This was my first Parkhurst so I’m looking forward to reading her ealier books.

  11. RFW says:

    Read this one a while ago – thanks for reminding me of the story and the author – need to find more by her now.

    • Leeswammes says:

      RFW, *Lost and Found* was a great book too. I expected chick-lit (which I like, too) but it wasn’t at all. It was funny, but with a serious undertone.

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