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Standing Still: A Novel by Kelly Simmons

Standing Still: A Novel

by Kelly Simmons

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Showing 1-5 of 10 (next | show all)
Just when I think I can not find a good book to read, up an author pops up that blows me away...With a twisting plot, people that you can picture in your mind, and want to know what happens to them...I never talk about the story line, as I feel that it changes your mind. I will say just read it, or run quickly away....Read this do not run away.
Next I am reading her new book "Bird House". Keep on writing Kelly Simmons. ( )
  Kikoa | May 1, 2011 |
I read this in one day...couldn't put it down! I loved Claire's character, and even grew to love her kidnapper! There are a lot of surprising twists and turns to the story....this one is definitely a page-turner. ( )
  missysbooknook | Mar 10, 2010 |
(Reprinted from the Chicago Center for Literature and Photography [cclapcenter.com]. I am the original author of this essay, as well as the owner of CCLaP; it is not being reprinted here illegally.)

As I've mentioned before, there's actually a host of different reasons why I might do only a mini-review of a book here instead of a full write-up, besides that the book in question might be of subpar quality (which frankly usually is the reason, which is why people make the mistaken assumption to begin with); take for a good example Kelly Simmons' debut novel Standing Still, which when all is said and done is not a bad book whatsoever, well-written and concerning an interesting subject, with not only a decent sense of pace but a compelling personal style too. But it just so happens that I myself am not a particularly big fan of this type of story, which if pressed for an easy explanation I would say is destined to most appeal to the kind of female audience member also into The Bachelorette, Alice Sebold and the Lifetime Channel; not that I mention any of these references specifically to belittle them, but merely to point out that these too are projects and artists of decent quality that I'm not necessarily into but that others are. As you can guess, the novel is centered around a middle-aged suburban housewife named Claire Cooper, and has a dark premise I was instantly intrigued by, which is why I requested a copy in the first place from this highly active Goodreads.com member; namely, after being kidnapped from her sleepy McMansion near the beginning of the book, over the course of a week she comes to slowly realize that her abductor is actually a better man (ethically, emotionally) than her cold, corporate-embracing white-male-dick husband, with Simmons using a semi-surprising plot to reveal a much more nefarious situation with the husband's day job than Claire had ever been told about.

But be warned that what could've been a fast-paced thriller in another's hands is instead a deliberately slow psychological meditation here under Simmons' treatment, with much of the "action" actually the inner-brain thoughts of Claire as she spends the majority of the book tied immovably to a hotel bed; and also be warned that Simmons sometimes wields her metaphors with all the grace of a drunk hillbilly swinging a two-by-four, such as Claire's regular habit of referring to her unnamed abductor as "Him" and "He" with a capital 'H' (and with all the resulting Freudian daddy/Christ issues such a thing implies). This is why I say that the book is perfect for fans of the Lifetime Channel, for example, because the shows and movies produced by that cable network are known precisely for this, for using patriarchal acts of violence as a way to symbolically explore therapist-worthy issues of how middle-aged women are defined in our society, not only as wives and mothers but also sexually and intellectually; and that's why Standing Still gets today just a little bit higher of a score than I would maybe give it otherwise, because I know for a fact that there are all kinds of people out there who will adore such a book, and wanted to give it a general score that more reflected that. If you're one of those people (and you know who you are), it comes much recommended.

Out of 10: 8.2 ( )
  jasonpettus | Nov 7, 2009 |
I loved this book. I was with our heroine, a woman riddled with several panic disorders and a hidden past that lent them a legitimacy that they would otherwise not have. Simmons spun her tale out beautifully, effortlessly, allowing us glimpses when she needed to but leaving much of it to our imagination.

All of that is precisely the reason that I felt so betrayed by the ending, like Simmons was scared to go the extra mile, like all the ugliness I’d been embracing was a trick of the light and nothing risky at all. All that lovely wishful thinking was not only entirely unbelievable, but it completely negated everything that came before it, and left me regretting the whole thing entirely. ( )
  kshaffar | Aug 3, 2009 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0743289722, Hardcover)

Journalist and suburban mom Claire Cooper suffers from panic disorder. Most of her anxieties seem irrational, nothing that can't be fixed with the help of some Xanax. But late one stormy summer night, when her husband, Sam, is away on one of his frequent business trips, Claire's fears come to life. She discovers an intruder has broken into her young daughter's bedroom. She watches helplessly as he picks up her sleeping child from her bed. Desperate to protect her family, Claire puts herself in the line of fire and utters the plea that will undo her: "Take me instead."

As she drives away in the kidnapper's car, Claire fears for her children, but not for herself. And she can't help noticing the reversal in her marriage -- for the first time in ten years, Sam will not know where she is.

For the next week, Claire is tied to a bed in a strange motel room, the intruder her only com-panion. She is forced to lie still and contemplate the reasons for this assault on her family. Is this just a random crime, or something more sinister? Has the shadowy past that she tried so hard to leave behind finally caught up with her? Day after day, she goes deeper into herself, reevaluating her marriage and her role as a mother, and unburying the source of her crippling anxiety. In seven days she will step out to the very brink of her soul -- perhaps never to return.

A riveting debut novel that will appeal to fans of Sue Miller and Janet Fitch, Standing Still is a powerful exploration of the darker side of mother-hood and marriage.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:25:38 -0400)

Kidnapped by an intruder, Claire, a sufferer of acute panic disorder, finds herself imprisoned in a hotel with her abductor as her only companion, a trauma that forces her to reevaluate her life and threatens to shatter her sense of sanity.

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