Book Review: The Nobodies Album by Carolyn Parkhurst
July 11, 2011 14 Comments
I 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