Friday, March 20, 2015

Finding Jake - Book Review

When Simon and his wife first found out they were expecting a child, they decided that Simon would stay at home to raise the children and write while his wife pursued her career as an attorney. Though Simon often felt awkward around the other moms at play dates and school events, being a stay-at-home dad was a job he began to love and obsess over as he spent his time with first his son Jake and then his daughter Laney.

The sudden text instructing all parents that there had been a shooting at the school sent Simon into immediate panic and as it becomes clear that Jake is implicated in the shooting, Simon becomes more and more concerned. He is determined to find his missing son and clear his name.

As he searches for Jake and deals with the police, media and emotional parents, Simon stresses about all the moments leading up to this event--what he may have done wrong and what he could have done differently as a parent. In clearer moments, he recalls those sweet, tender memories of his son and knows in his heart that Jake must be innocent.

My book club recently read Finding Jake by Bryan Reardon. Since we are all parents, we were immediately able to relate to Simon's fear and panic regarding the school shooting. Just a month ago, I glanced out my window and saw a swarm of emergency vehicles with their lights circling and their sirens blaring near the junior high my son attends. My heart momentarily seized with concern before I remembered they were in a parade honoring a fallen officer. With so many school shootings, this fear lives strong in the hearts of all parents. Simon's concerns, fears and pain were completely believable.

My book club is made up of mothers, but it was interesting to look at this subject from the perspective of a stay-at-home dad. When it appears that Jake is implicated, Simon is filled with guilt. His wife seemed to place the responsibility on him and it made me wonder if the primary care giver/nurturing parent is really more responsible for the children's behavior than the other parent. Or is a team effort? Finding Jake definitely inspired conversation and thought regarding parent responsibility and roles.

Finding Jake by Bryan Reardon was a compelling read. Through Simon's memories and the current events, the reader is able to understand Jake and the mystery of whether or not Jake could and would violently shoot his friends and fellow students starts to unfold. The heartbreak, worry and fear felt by Jake's parents was very well portrayed and I ached for them and the other parents that had lost their children.

Finding Jake is a timely novel that inspires much discussion and was great to read with our book club.

Finding Jake by Bryan Reardon is published by William Morrow and released in February 2015. Copies of the book were provided by The Book Club Girls.

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