Book Review: The Nobodies Album – Carolyn Parkhurst

Title: The Nobodies Album
Author: Carolyn Parkhurst
ISBN: 9780385527699
Pages: 320
Release Date: June 15, 2010
Publisher: Doubleday
Genre: Mystery, Contemporary Fiction
Source: Publisher
Rating: 4.25 out of 5

Summary:

Octavia Frost is in New York City, planning on hand delivering a copy of her latest novel to her editor.  The book is called The Nobodies Album and revisits all of Octavia’s previous novels, rewriting their endings.  Octavia is in a cab on the way to the publishing offices when she hears startling news:  Milo Frost, the lead singer of a famous band, has been accused of murdering his girlfriend.  Octavia, shocked, immediately puts her plans on hold – after all, Milo is her estranged son.  Determined to reconnect with her son and help him through this, Octavia flies to California to see what she can do.

Review:

I’d heard wonderful things about The Nobodies Album around the blogosphere, but I wanted the hype to die down a little bit before I read it.  It’s easy to become wary about a book when you’re seeing it everywhere, and I wanted to be able to fully experience this novel.

The Nobodies Album is a very creative, introspective book.  I was hooked from the very first page, intent on Octavia’s story.  I love how she narrated events in her head – the gift and curse of being a writer.  The discussion of how real life (especially where tragedies are concerned) contributes to writing and self-expression was fascinating.  It gives the reader an entirely new perspective and is incredibly thought provoking. 

The mystery in The Nobodies Album was a central part of the novel, but it wasn’t really the main point.  It was a catalyst for change in Milo and Octavia’s relationship, which was really the focus of the book.  As a result, the mystery fizzles a bit in the middle of the novel and the ending, while surprising, is a bit anti-climactic.  After all, this isn’t really a mystery novel, but an exploration of people and relationships that happens to take place within a mystery.  Still, I would have appreciated a little more development of that plotline, as I do love a good mystery.

Interspersed between the chapters of this book are excerpts from Octavia Frost’s The Nobodies Album.  The reader is given the original endings to the novels, then their revised endings.  They give an insight into the mindset Octavia was in when she wrote them, as opposed to what she thinks and feels now, looking back.  It’s another demonstration of how much of themselves writers invest in their books.  Though sometimes I felt they took away from the overall plot, it was interesting to see these glimpses into Octavia’s mind and deconstruct them to understand her better.

The Nobodies Album was an incredibly creative novel that I definitely recommend.  It was very well done and made me really want to go and read Carolyn Parkhurst’s backlist.  This book would make an excellent book club pick, as readers will want to discuss the complicated characters of Octavia and Milo, as well as their tense relationship.  I’ll definitely be keeping an eye out for Parkhurst’s next book!

Comments

  1. I really enjoyed this book, and am glad that you did as well (for the most part). I enjoyed the light mystery as well as the well-done character development.

  2. I really enjoyed this book, and am glad that you did as well (for the most part). I enjoyed the light mystery as well as the well-done character development.

  3. That is a nice premise. I will definitely want to read this one as well.

  4. That is a nice premise. I will definitely want to read this one as well.

  5. I have this one on my iPod, and started it but then got involved with another book and did not go back –i must as it was pretty good. great review.

  6. I have this one on my iPod, and started it but then got involved with another book and did not go back –i must as it was pretty good. great review.

  7. I loved how this story was so multi-dimensional. There is the mystery of the murder. There is the mystery of what happened to Octavia’s husband and daughter. There is the relationship with her son. There are those book endings, which so brilliantly show Octavia’s change of attitude. Great review. I’m glad you enjoyed it!

  8. I loved how this story was so multi-dimensional. There is the mystery of the murder. There is the mystery of what happened to Octavia’s husband and daughter. There is the relationship with her son. There are those book endings, which so brilliantly show Octavia’s change of attitude. Great review. I’m glad you enjoyed it!

  9. I don’t think I’d pick this up, but I like that it focuses on a mother-son relationship; I feel like I don’t see enough of those. I’m glad you enjoyed it!

  10. I don’t think I’d pick this up, but I like that it focuses on a mother-son relationship; I feel like I don’t see enough of those. I’m glad you enjoyed it!

  11. I had forgotten about this book slightly and I’m ever so glad your review brought it back to my attention, so it is now firmly added to my wishlist.

  12. I had forgotten about this book slightly and I’m ever so glad your review brought it back to my attention, so it is now firmly added to my wishlist.

  13. Ever since first reading about this book, I have thought it sounded fascinating. I love the fact that she mixes in the endings of other stories into the narrative and also that that it’s such an introspective book. The fizzling mystery aspect reminds me a little of Laura Lippman’s books, but that’s ok. I am going to be adding this one to my list right now. Thanks so very much for the great review!

  14. Ever since first reading about this book, I have thought it sounded fascinating. I love the fact that she mixes in the endings of other stories into the narrative and also that that it’s such an introspective book. The fizzling mystery aspect reminds me a little of Laura Lippman’s books, but that’s ok. I am going to be adding this one to my list right now. Thanks so very much for the great review!

  15. Loved your review, I hadn’t heard of this book until today.

  16. Loved your review, I hadn’t heard of this book until today.

  17. I really enjoyed the Author’s previous book so I definitely have this on my TBR list. Glad you liked it!

  18. I really enjoyed the Author’s previous book so I definitely have this on my TBR list. Glad you liked it!

  19. I’m supposed to be getting this from LT – now I can’t wait!!

  20. I’m supposed to be getting this from LT – now I can’t wait!!

  21. I really enjoyed this book as well. I liked what it said about being a writer (both novelist and song) and how we use creativity to work through pain.

    PB

  22. I really enjoyed this book as well. I liked what it said about being a writer (both novelist and song) and how we use creativity to work through pain.

    PB

  23. I enjoyed The Dogs of Babel, and I couldn’t remember why her name should be familiar to me, until I put 2 and 2 together. I enjoyed her writing, and now I wish I had sought out a copy of this one.

  24. I enjoyed The Dogs of Babel, and I couldn’t remember why her name should be familiar to me, until I put 2 and 2 together. I enjoyed her writing, and now I wish I had sought out a copy of this one.

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