Jack’s dad, Billy Leonard, is an alcoholic, and he has been for all of Jack’s life. Because he is a (relatively) functional and jovial drunk, however, everybody ignores the fact that he has a problem. Jack almost followed in his father’s footsteps, but a chance encounter at a concert saved him. Years later, he is successful, happily married, and the father of an amazing ten-year-old boy. Jack has survived having an absent/intoxicated dad and come out of it all right. Then a week spent visiting his parents brings old worries and old hurts to the surface. Will Jack’s new family survive his old one?
The story of the week-long vacation is told linearly, but it is frequently interrupted by flashbacks to Jack’s childhood and early adult years. While it is immediately apparent why some of the flashbacks are included (such as the one involving the girl at the concert), the importance of others is only revealed later, when the story seamlessly enfolds them. This is an excellent way to structure this book. It keeps you engaged in the current narrative while frequently providing important, fascinating, and occasionally heartbreaking background information.
Reading Texas Jack is a beautiful experience. The topics addressed are heavy – and Hopkins never trivializes these issues – but the narrative voice is so conversational and friendly that the book feels more like an intense discussion with a friend than your typical dramatic tale. The characters are all convincingly brought to life; they are all flawed (some deeply so) but lovable. The story itself will keep you on the edge of your seat, rushing through pages to make sure everything turns out ok. And that is the beauty of this book: you legitimately care what happens to these people. While reading, I might have cried a bit, and I certainly gasped aloud.
Texas Jack is a quick, powerful, and entertaining read, and I highly recommend it.
|Page Count||204 pages|
|Bookshop.org||Buy this Book|