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Still Life with Tornado by A. S. King

Still Life with Tornado (edition 2016)

by A. S. King (Author)

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2901669,120 (3.57)1
"A talented 16-year-old artist slowly discovers the history of domestic violence behind why her brother left the family years earlier and why she suddenly cannot make art"--
Title:Still Life with Tornado
Authors:A. S. King (Author)
Info:Dutton Books for Young Readers (2016), 304 pages
Collections:Your library

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Still Life with Tornado by A. S. King


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Showing 1-5 of 16 (next | show all)
Series Info: Stand Alone, borrowed from Library.

Characters (5/5): The characters in this book are amazing and complex. They give an excellent view into the minds of people dealing with abuse and living in households that just generally have issues. I particularly enjoyed the sections from Sarah’s mom’s POV; these really showed how a strong person can become a victim of long term abuse. This was also an interesting perspective on abusive families. Sarah herself is never physically abused but she suffers just as much because of the emotional toll the situation takes on her family.

Story (4/5): There is a lot of magical realism in this story (Sarah is visited by versions of herself from different points in her future and past). The story was very engaging, as you try to help Sarah piece together what she forgot about the trip to Mexico that changed her family forever. I enjoyed how this book was formatted, the chapters are very short and occasionally you hear from Sarah’s mother. I loved Sarah’s musing around originality and how nothing is ever original, or maybe everything is?

Setting (4/5): Typical contemporary urban setting.

Writing Style (5/5): King’s writing style can be a bit ambiguous at times. However, I thought this book formed a very well done and cohesive story. I loved the short chapters and how the story jumps into the past to slowly unravel events that took place then. A lot of these past events are seen through the eyes of 10 year old Sarah, while 23 and 40 year old Sarah give present Sarah hints that she will be okay one day. It sounds confusing, but King did an amazing job and it was an amazing story. This book was very engaging, easy to read, and hard to put down.

Summary (4/5): While this wasn't my favorite AS King book, I thought it was still very good. There's some interesting magical realism and I enjoyed the protagonists deep dive into what it means to be original. A lot of issues are covered in this book (abuse, art, friendship, family, originality). I enjoyed how the story was put together, it made for a quick and fast-paced read for me. I would recommend if you are an AS King fan or if you enjoy magical realism in a contemporary fiction setting that deals with abuse and family issues. This was creatively put together and very engaging. ( )
  krau0098 | Nov 20, 2019 |
Pointless ( )
  miri12 | May 31, 2019 |
I liked the story line, the main part of the girl having a crisis. The writing itself was not attention grabbing. 3 stars for a great story. the side stories or supporting stories about her father, brother and mother could have been told better. ( )
  Starla_Aurora | Oct 29, 2018 |
I've put this one under both Mental illness and supernatural as there is a part where the main character, Sarah talks to versions of herself at ages 10, 23 and 40. This would usually mean she is having a mental health crisis but in this book it is slightly different in that her mother, her father and her brother all ALSO see the versions of Sarah....hence the supernatural.
Read this as Inky shortlisted book.
Sarah is 16 and has decided to give up school. She wanders the streets during the day - wondering what has happened to her older brother Bruce (not contacting the family for 6 years) and pondering on the state of her parents' marriage. Also she muses about her favorite subject Art and it is through these flashbacks that we get an inkling that something happened - an art competition entry destroyed and the ultimate winner being caught kissing the art teacher. Part of her weeks off are also devoted to following a homeless man called Earl who appears to be an artist and visiting an abandoned school (imagining a perfect school instead).
All comes to a head when Sarah starts seeing the 10 year old version of herself and having conversations about what happened in Mexico on holiday 6 years ago that drove Bruce away from the family.
SPOILER ALERT: Basically the father has been hitting both the Mum and Bruce and he knocks Bruce's tooth out after he steals their wedding rings and tells them to get a divorce. Then for 6 years the Dad has not hit the Mum but verbally abused her and they have stayed together for the sake of Sarah.
When Bruce comes back after Sarah phones him and the father is retrenched all hell breaks loose.
I half liked and half disliked this book....the invention of the Sarah's at different ages, didn't seem to fit into the story when ALL members of the family can see and talk to them - it really grated on me because it was not logical and I think if the author had written it so that ONLY Sarah ( and perhaps Earl) could have seen the other Sarahs, this would have had more impact - i.e. - she is having a mental breakdown and splitting into other personalities so as to cope with her current situation and also work out what happened in the past. ( )
  nicsreads | Apr 22, 2018 |
16-year-old Sarah, a gifted artist, suddenly finds herself unable to draw her own hand. This stalemate coincides with the sudden appearance of her other selves -- as a 10-year-old and as a young adult. Are these schizophrenic visions or some time-tripping manifestations? Even Sarah is unsure. In the end, what matters is her triumph over a dysfunctional family and her ability to reach out to those who can help -- especially, but not exclusively. her estranged and long-absent brother. In truth, this reader had trouble getting through this book and skipped to the end. The parents' fights are cringe-worthy, as is Sarah's inability to maintain a normal schedule (she drops out of school). If there's a happy ending to Sarah's tale it seemed too little and too late. ( )
  mjspear | May 30, 2017 |
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"A talented 16-year-old artist slowly discovers the history of domestic violence behind why her brother left the family years earlier and why she suddenly cannot make art"--

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Average: (3.57)
1 4
2 1
2.5 3
3 10
3.5 1
4 18
4.5 5
5 6


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