What The Word On The Street is Reading

This week, we took a detour from CanLit to read an American novelist. I am currently reading If Jack’s in Love by Stephen Wetta.

About the Book

A Crime in the Neighborhood, told with the deadpan humor of Nick Hornby-a wonderful novel about a boy genius whose brother may, or may not, be a murderer.

It’s 1967. Jack Witcher is a twelve-year-old boy genius living in a Virginia suburb at an address the entire neighborhood avoids. Jack’s father has lost his job-again-and he’s starting fights with other fathers. Jack’s mother, sweet but painfully ugly, works as a cashier at a local market. Jack’s older brother is a long-haired, pot-smoking hippie.

If all of that isn’t bad enough, Jack’s brother suddenly becomes the main suspect in the disappearance of the town’s golden boy. And to make matters even worse, Jack is in love with the missing boy’s sister, Myra. Mr. Gladstein, the town jeweler and solitary Jew, is Jack’s only friend; together, they scheme to win Jack Myra’s love. But to do that, Jack must overcome the prejudices, both the town’s and his own, about himself and his family.

I’m enjoying this book so far. I like Jack Witcher and his narrative. He has an innocence to his story that is appropriate for a 12 year old with such a tumultuous family – his story is both realistic and naive at the same time. Jack has come to terms with his life and its hardships, but hasn’t lost that spark or hope that life can be better, and it is this attitude that makes me want to continue reading his story. The other characters of the novel aren’t as well developed, but I’m hoping this will change as I continue reading (I’m only halfway right now).  This book is worth a look if you enjoy very character-driven books, and a quirky read.

– Kristen

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