Only Child

Only Child

by Rhiannon Navin

Overview: Readers of Jodi Picoult and Liane Moriarty will also like this tenderhearted debut about healing and family, narrated by an unforgettable six-year-old boy who reminds us that sometimes the littlest bodies hold the biggest hearts and the quietest voices speak the loudest.

Squeezed into a coat closet with his classmates and teacher, first grader Zach Taylor can hear gunshots ringing through the halls of his school. A gunman has entered the building, taking nineteen lives and irrevocably changing the very fabric of this close-knit community. While Zach's mother pursues a quest for justice against the shooter's parents, holding them responsible for their son's actions, Zach retreats into his super-secret hideout and loses himself in a world of books and art. Armed with his newfound understanding, and with the optimism and stubbornness only a child could have, Zach sets out on a captivating journey towards healing and forgiveness, determined to help the adults in his life rediscover the universal truths of love and compassion needed to pull them through their darkest hours.

Faith Bowers (05/29/18): I read this book based on Deanna Boe’s review. Deanna writes beautifully and so I concur with Deanna’s thoughts and writings about this book. I really enjoyed the book and my favorite part was the separation of feelings by color. Yes, it is very sad but it is very well written and is as much about the challenges of any family regardless of the circumstances which we are presented. I recommend this book for everyone especially those with children or grandchildren.
Rating: ****

Deanna Boe (05/04/18): I am once more back in my hometown of Akron, Iowa and busy reading great books from the Akron library. I am especially thankful that the librarian asked me to read this book. I find myself wondering if I would have discovered it in Georgia. This is an extremely unusual book and the writing is excellent. The author has written about a tragedy that we are witnessing far too often in our society today, the shooting of young people in our schools. It is a very depressing topic but the author presents it in such a way that she draws us into the storyline and captivates our interest.

How does Navin do this? She tells the story through the eyes of a first grade student whose older brother, a 5th grader, was killed. What outstanding talent to write it in such a way that we also experience all the emotions that come about because of this tragedy. Navin is so convincing in her writing that you actually feel you are reading the words of a 6 year old and how he was feeling throughout all of this tragedy. At first I wasn’t sure I wanted to read such an obviously sad book, but her style captivated me in such a way I couldn’t put it down. You won’t either.

We can feel Zach’s emotions throughout the book. He is clearly an extremely bright child who is able to perceive much that is happening around him. The anger as displayed by his Mother, the grief of his Father, the regret that he holds for not being closer to his dead brother, the abandonment he feels from his parents, especially his Mother, and finally the forgiveness he is able to bring about not only to himself and his thoughts of his brother, but to his parents and eventually the Father of the shooter.

This is a very thoughtful story presented to us through the eyes of childhood innocence. What outstanding writing this author has given us, especially when you consider it is her first novel. I am looking forward to more.
Rating: *****

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