From the outside, the Davenports look like any other family living a completely ordinary life—until that devastating day when five-year-old Jonah is killed, and the family is torn apart. As the fury of guilt engulfs them, the Davenports slowly start to unravel, one by one.
Most of the Davenports story is not a happy one.
It’s told from seven points of view, perfected by author Janis Thomas. The death of a loved one – especially a child affects people differently. The events surrounding that death is told by each POV before, during, and after that bad day.
The author’s detailed descriptions of the families daily life made us care, and desire to find out what actually happened to 5-year-old Jonah, however that knowledge will not come until the final chapter.
During their story, we see how Eden, Jonah’s 10-year-old sister is treated differently after that day and has no support in school or at home to work things out in her head. Her mother Rachel has gone to pieces, staying heavily medicated and ignoring her daughter’s pain. Rachels husband Samual, feels helpless trying to assist his wife, after being banished from the bedroom after an inappropriate flirt with a colleague. Rachels sister Ruth is suffering from a divorce of 18 months. She is willing to help her sister around the house but feels Samuals resentment as she provides the comfort to his wife that he cannot while sorting out her personal issues.
We get the perspective of Maddie, the therapist for the family after Rachel takes an overdose of meds, thinking she saw her son and would be able to help him move on into heaven. Believe it or not, we also get a POV from Shadow, the family dog. Seems he was forgotten at times, missed meals and play time. Since I’m talking about Shadow, he along with Rachel could see Jonah at times in the house. She wasn’t crazy after all, however, a supernatural possibility that Jonah’s presence was in the house was never explored.
What we got was well-described family emotional turmoil after a tragic event. As a writer, I couldn’t get enough of each character’s point of view. I felt the effects of that bad day. Heartstrings pulled for Jonah when his big sister didn’t want to be around the kid brother. I had my hat of shame on too when Samual came home from work smelling of perfume. I got pissed off at Ruth’s husband who left her for a fertile woman. I even felt for Shadow, who missed a dog treat or two. As a reader though, I kept looking at my watch, as I wanted things to wrap up long before they did. The telling of each POV took time to get right, but that slowed the ending down to a yawn.
Then there’s the hint of what happens after life. Jonah was seen in the house after death, even appearing in and manipulating dreams, but this aspect of the story played a small part in the novel, even though it was needed to conclude the journey of the Davenports.
Overall, I thought What Remains True a good story. It was just a little too long for me.