Always Jack, by Susanne Gervay

Leo’s staying this weekend. Mum has ordered me to clean my room. I don’t see why I have to. Mum told Samantha that she has to help me. I don’t want her to. My head is thumping and she’s humming. I grit my teeth. ‘Stop humming.’ She doesn’t. I ignore her.

In I am Jack Jack had to confront a bully. In Super Jack he dealt with the changes force on him when his family blends with that of his new stepdad. Now, in Always Jack Jack is back – and, as always, his life is complicated. His family might be lots of fun, and very supportive, but Nanna is getting older and wobblier, his stepfather Rob needs to spend more time with his own son, Leo, and Rob and Mum’s wedding seems to be the main topic of conversation. Then Mum comes home with news that is so bad all those other things seem trivial. Jack will need all off his courage to survive this one.

Always Jack is a wonderful complement to the earlier two books about young Jack and his slightly crazy, very loving family. Jack is a delightful first person narrator who is honest, funny and full of life. We experience wonderful highs and terrible lows with him, knowing that somehow, his strength and the support of the wonderful people around him, will get him through.

There are a lot of issues explored in this little offering – blended families, the impact of cancer, friendship, the migrant experience, war, ageing and more – but it works because author Susanne Gervay weaves the story tightly, carrying the reader along on Jack’s journey.

Wonderful stuff.

Always Jack, by Susanne Gervay
Angus & Robertson, 2010
ISBN This book is available in good bookstores, or online from Fishpond. Buying through this link supports Aussiereviews.