Review ♦ Only True Genius In The Family

only true genius in the world

Claire’s father always said that in their family, genius skipped a generation. Maybe he was right. The daughter of a legendary landscape photographer and the mother of a painter whose career is about to take off, Claire has carved out a practical living as a commercial photographer. It may not earn her glory, but it’s paid for a good life in a beautiful house on the beach.

When her father suddenly dies, Claire loses faith in the work she has devoted her life to – and worse, begins to feel jealous of her daughter’s success. But as she helps prepare a retrospective of her famous father’s photographs, Claire uncovers revelations about him that change everything she believes about herself as a mother, a daughter, and an artist…

Book Title: Only True Genius In The Family Type: Trade Paperback 292 Pages
Author: Jennie Nash Publication Date: February 2009
Publisher: Penguin ISBN: 978-0-425-22575-2
Genre: Fiction Purchase: Amazon

My Thoughts  
There is nothing I love more than stories about families and how they work. A family is so much more intricate than even the most sophisticated type of machinery. Within the structure of a family the members are all individual gears, moving in their own unique ways. What makes families so remarkable is how these separate pieces change themselves, alter others, and find that perfect synchronicity to keep the entire thing successfully working. The Only True Genius In The Family is a story concerning a family on the edge, specifically focusing on a woman named Claire, who is daughter, mother, wife and career woman. The person she has become has been defined by how she relates to her family. But in order to be happy she needs to strip away the influences of her familial roles and find her own true self.

Claire’s recently deceased father was a world renowned photographer. Her daughter Bailey is an up and coming painter who seems destined to be a famous artist. Claire herself is a food photographer, who has always been satisfied with her job and her work. But as she watches her daughter’s artistic ability bloom, with credit going to her father, she begins to reconsider her own creativity. She no longer sees herself as an artist and her work begins to feel unimportant to her. She has always worked so hard to achieve perfection in her work, and feels as though her father and daughter get much greater results with little to no effort. Added to this mix is the fact that Claire’s husband has a very influential career in business management. Her entire family is successful using their natural talents, and she begins to doubt the existence of her own type of personal ingrained talent.

Claire’s story is told in such an amazing way, not only is this a novel about family dynamics, but also a character study of a woman on a journey of self-discovery. The characters are all so realistic, with actions and reactions that appear completely natural. The thing that is most refreshing about this story is the pure honesty of Claire’s emotions. Her thoughts, her doubts and her revelations are perfect and utterly true-to-life. Reading this book felt so much like getting to know a real family, there were no good guys or bad guys, there were only human beings trying to keep their family unit intact while still maintaining their own individuality. This story really highlighted how relations feel love, jealousy, anger, remorse, and a desire to please others while still satisfying their own inner needs.

The Only True Genius In The Family is both a simple story about one woman and a look into the intricate and delicate workings of a family. This is a book that I enjoyed from beginning to end, and I am very much looking forward to reading more from this author.    

jennie nash

About The Author
Jennie Nash is the author of three books of narrative nonfiction and one novel, The Last Beach Bugalow. She lives in Torrance, California.

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bermudaonion said...

Boy does that sound good. I love to read about family dynamics too!

Ceri said...

Ooh,I really do like the sound of this, Jo. I love reading about families too! The dynamics fascinate me so much. And this sounds like a really, really good read. Brilliant review!

Zibilee said...

Joanne, I really liked this review, your insights on the inner workings of this family were deeply thoughtful, and I think this is a book I would really like. I am glad it kept you so entranced and I hope I can get the chance to read it soon. On to the wish list it goes!

Care said...

I love Jennie Nash's writing. :)

Anonymous said...

I loved this one, too. But for some reason, it surprises me that you did. I always associate you with zombies and YA dystopian books. :-D

Ack! I think I just stereotyped you. I'm sorry.

Anonymous said...


Care said...

Jill, oh yes! Joanne has hidden softer side. :P