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#370 ~ If Jack’s In Love

If Jack’s in Love by Stephen Wetta

Published by: Amy Einhorn Books

Published on: September 29, 2011

Page Count: 368

Genre: Literary Fiction

My Reading Format: ARC copy sent by the publisher for consideration

Available Formats: Hardcover and eBook


My Review

It’s the late 60s in Virginia and Jack Witcher is an 11-year-old boy who finds himself in love. It’s a common occurrence. Unfortunately for Jack, the object of his youthful desire, Myra, comes from a wealthy family who in normal circumstances would look down on the Witchers. Unfortunately for Jack, his father and his older brother, both “true Witcher men,” have further alienated Myra’s family through physical violence. Jack can’t talk to his family about his feelings for Myra. His father and brother, men prone to violence, hate her family. His mother, generally a calming influence in the house, is too preoccupied with keeping her family fed now that his father has lost his job with no new work in site. Luckily he finds that he can confide in Mr. Gladstein, the local jewler, who takes Jack under his wing. Using Mr. Gladstein’s advice, Jack does his best to woo Myra without either family finding out. Unfortunately, things become even that much more complicated when Myra’s brother disappears without a trace and Jack’s brother is the prime suspect.

There is something about novels written about the coming of age of young men that captures my imagination. If Jack’s In Love did just that. Adolescence has to be one of the most confusing and often miserable times in one’s young life. It’s how a character takes this right of passage and works with it that makes the story. Every neighborhood has a family like the Witchers living in it. The family that makes you feel better about your own family. Imagine being born into such a family and not even fitting in with them?  Jack is a character you can’t help but love. He is struggling with his feelings and his identity. What if he is just like his father and brother? What if he isn’t. Nothing feels right to him and this is unnerving enough without the anxiety of choosing between himself and his family. As a reader, I just wanted to take him in my arms and keep him safe. Luckily, Mr. Gladstein, an unlikely ally, takes him under his wing, offering him advice.

Amy Einhorn Books has a knack for publishing wonderful novels. If Jack’s In Love has a well-deserved place in the imprint. Stephen Wetta is a talented writer. His firm grasp on time and place provided a strong foundation on which to build the novel. Jack is in an emotionally charged and lost place. Wetta allows him to experience and react to the trouble at home and in his neighborhood and grow from them. He doesn’t give Jack an easy out. This story was engaging from the start. If I could have, I would have read it from cover gprs cover. If Jack’s In Love is a novel you won’t want to miss.

15 Comments

  • At 2011.09.29 08:08, bermudaonion (Kathy) said:

    This does sound like a wonderful addition to Amy Einhorn Books. Jack sounds like a character I’d love.

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    • At 2011.09.29 11:46, Literate Housewife said:

      I think just about everyone will love this book. I hope you’re able to pick it up.

    • At 2011.09.29 08:53, Sandy said:

      Amy Einhorn books is as close as you can get to a sure thing. I love the coming of age stories you and I have been reading lately as well. It is the mother in us that is attracted to these stories.

      • At 2011.09.29 11:47, Literate Housewife said:

        That’s a good point about mothers being interested in coming of age novels. I hadnt thought about that before.

      • At 2011.09.29 09:36, Debbie Rodgers said:

        Some time ago I decided to try the Amy Einhorn Perpetual Reading Challenge hosted by Beth Fish Reads http://www.bethfishreads.com/2008/08/amy-einhorn-books-perpetual-challenge.html I’ve been slacking off but this book sounds like the perfect enticement to get me back on track. Thanks!

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        • At 2011.09.29 11:50, Literate Housewife said:

          Debbie, you are ahead of me. At least you’ve joined the challenge. I’m loving Amy Einhorn Books and have yet to sign up. This book would definitely light your fire for the challenge, though. Pick it up!

        • At 2011.09.29 11:22, Beth Hoffman said:

          I have the feeling that I’m really going to like this one. Thanks, Jennifer. I’ll add it to my list.

          • At 2011.09.29 11:53, Literate Housewife said:

            Beth, Jack is so lovable. I hope you get a chance to read it soon!

          • At 2011.09.29 11:59, Beth Hoffman said:

            It’s on my list (at the top) and I’m looking forward to reading it! 🙂

            • At 2011.09.29 20:34, Stephanie @ Read in a Single Sitting said:

              Thanks so much for this review, and the heads-up about this publisher–a new one for me.

              • At 2011.09.30 06:27, Beth F said:

                Readers of a certain age are going to pick up different aspects and are going to have different reactions. All are going to want to discuss it.

                • At 2011.10.02 19:48, Michelle said:

                  Amy Einhorn and your recommendation are enough for me! I do like coming of age stories from the point of view of the male. It is such a refreshing change from the regular fare.

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                    • At 2011.10.20 19:31, caite@a lovely shore breeze said:

                      I have this one in my pile…just around here somewhere…and now I have a renewed interest in reading it.

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