Charlyn 's Reviews > The Mostly True Story of Jack

The Mostly True Story of Jack by Kelly Barnhill
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's review
Dec 05, 11

liked it
bookshelves: adventure, bullying, fantasy, fiction, friendship, magic, mystery
Recommended for: Gr. 5 and up
Read from December 03 to 05, 2011 , read count: 1

Children often feel discarded when parents divorce, but, in Jack's case, he really is sent away and forgotten. And therein lies the mystery of the book: what has happened to children who have vanished and then been forgotten in the town of Hazelwood, Iowa, where Jack has been taken to live with his aunt and uncle?

The premise of this book is quite different from so many other fantasy books on the market and also quite similar in that a child who not yet knows his own way through life is sent to be the savior. Jack has gone through the first 12 years of his life without friends and without the love and nurturing of his parents. He knows he's different so he's surprised when other children befriend him in Hazelwood and his aunt and uncle seem interested in his activities. Even their house seems to welcome him.

My problem with the book is that Jack's ignorance of what is going on around him through so much of the book will be a problem to the reader, too. Unless the reader quickly learns to care about Jack, I suspect young readers will give up or be lost through a good portion of the book. The technique of not providing full disclosure of the evil in the book works to set up the horror element, but may not work so well on children who need to create an image in their heads.

I look forward to having some of my readers read it and see what the verdict is.
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