Review Blog

Oct 10 2014

Being Jack by Susanne Gervay

cover image

Ill. by Cathy Wilcox. Harper Collins, 2014. ISBN 9780732296148
Highly recommended for readers from 10-12 years and as a class novel. Family Life. School Life. Friendships. Bullying.
Susanne Gervay's Being Jack is the fourth and final book in the popular series that follows the not-so-ordinary life of Jack, his slightly crazy family, his school friends and his first crush. His life is filled with early morning paper rounds, surfing, photography and hanging out with his friends. Jack is still grieving the loss of his Grandad and also trying to sort through the reasons his father abandoned their family when Jack was five.
There is a relatable richness to the cast of characters that live with Jack, his slightly mad Nanna who loves buying discount underwear for presents and has a decidedly sweet tooth, his Mum with her unique fashion sense who has recovered from cancer and has found happiness with her new husband surfer Rob. Along with the pets, his sister Samantha and his step brother Leon, this house is full of fun and laughter.
Things are going much better at school, now he's not being bullied any more. He has a great group of friends and enjoys photographing school events. When he captures pictures of violent behaviour at the big football game, Jack has to make some tough decisions about hiding or sharing the photos with his teacher. When the same rough football players physically and verbally harass his best friend Christopher Tran and his family, Jack steps in to help.
Cathy Wilcox's sketches show slices of Jack's life. Susanne Gervay's novel is a rewarding and humorous one that deals with life and death, overcoming grief, growing up and coping with life on the cusp of becoming a teenager.
Rhyllis Bignell

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