The book The Test by Patricia Gussin was a intriguing idea that was poorly conceived. The Test is a story of the patriarch of the Parnell family, the vastly wealthy Peter Parnell‘s, last dying wish for his successors. This wish is to not to make the same mistakes he did, focusing on business and wealth instead of what really matters. So enters “The Test.”
The problem with this book is not the premise itself, but the introduction of so many characters within the first two chapters. By giving us an in-depth ancestral chart Gussin tries to make the introduction of these main characters easier on the reader. What happens however is that we are left with more confusion and the inability to connect with any one person.
Throughout the story, we are made to follow the Parnell family as they each traverse their own personal “Test“ that has been personally crafted by Peter before his death. Each lesson is to be administered over the course of a year to find out if his heirs are worthy of such a vast amount of money.
The story moved, however you find yourself needing to retreat back to the family tree to keep each character and where they belonged straight. By having so many main characters, each having their own personal journey, one has to relearn who the person is before you read what they are doing.
The idea of The Test was ingenious, a wealthy father, in his last hours of life realizing what is truly important; tries to pass on wisdom he never could while alive. The Test was a great idea, with a grand moral lesson and a feel good ending. But with this many characters that you never are able to fully connect with, it falls flat in the end.