Still Life

Still Life - Christa Parrish

Thank you to Thomas Nelson Fiction for providing me with an egalley of the book to review.


I read 32% of this book with honesty and undivided attention, but that was as much as I could take before my patience with the writing started to dwindle. So I skimmed a couple chapters more and decided that that’s as much as I can take from this book, which sadly becomes yet another example of books I simply cannot finish.


It was simply boring. I looked at the other two reviews and didn’t find any of their praise in what I read. At first I thought it might be because I didn’t read far enough into the book, yet the more I read the more I saw the trend continue before me and I give up.


There is nothing heart-wrenching in this book. It read as your standard, and rather cliché, American novel, about two simple families who encounter an event that traumatizes them and how they have to learn to deal with it. Perhaps it’s the fact that I’m not American, and was raised with a more European mindset. The only reaction I managed to feel over the course of the novel was slight irritation, mixed with unmistakable boredom. You’ve got your somewhat Bible-banging family that Ada ran away from to the completely different Julian, who still felt foreign to her even after a few months of marriage. You’ve got Katherine and Will, who are examples of a couple that doesn’t work together no matter how much they try to solve it. Katherine, who’s had an affair. Her son Evan, who has a heart problem. It was like something out of an episode of “Extreme Makeover: Home Edition”, something I’ve seen so many times that I must’ve been partially desensitized to it.


I didn’t like any of the characters. Hortense was the only one I could understand to some degree, yet she was so underdeveloped that I didn’t get the chance to connect with her. Ada’s constant thoughts about how different Julian was and how she didn’t understand him made me wonder why she married him in the first place then. Katherine and Will elicited only more irritation.


As for the story, not only was it your standard American-novel right from the start, but it was also going almost nowhere. 32% in and the whole thing read more like a writer throwing down ideas on paper than trying to construct a story that would be emotional and convincing, the way the summary promised it to be. The writing was standard, which in this case makes sense, considering the plot was just as standard.


This was another book I didn’t have the patience or desire to struggle through. It offered absolutely nothing new, taking already familiar character molds and just changing the names and location. It’s a bad sign if an author doesn’t make you connect with the characters and then leaves you with no desire of getting through the book. Truly disappointing. I was looking forward to something much more emotional and at least a little different that would stand out from a sea of books already written in this genre on similar subjects. Instead what I found was bland writing that was going no where.