Title: I Will Not Leave You Comfortless
Author: Jeremy Jackson
Release Date: Already released!
The cover of this book was the first thing that drew me to it; it had bright yellows and oranges, deep indigo hues, and the most captivating picture of a boy running through tall grass. And then I saw the words, “a memoir,” and I was intrigued. A memoir by a grown man about his life in fifth grade seemed hardly the book to end up categorized as a young adult read. So I decided to find out why.
Truth be told, this book is not a young adult book. It is an everybody book. It is a book for fifth graders, a book for teenagers, a book for adults, a book for the elderly – I think this book is for anyone of any age because it is about family and growing up and growing old and being alive. We all have families, we all grow up and grow old, and we are all alive.
It is difficult to try to explain I Will Not Leave You Comfortless because it is so different from anything I have read before. It is a memoir of author Jeremy Jackson’s life when he was ten, beginning with the summer before he started fifth grade and ending with the summer after. While many chapters are told from Jackson’s first person point of view, confirming that he is indeed the narrator, there are others written entirely in third person, detailing the lives and thoughts of other family members that Jackson was not privy to at this point in his life. Still others are written in second person, transporting you, the reader, into Jackson’s life as he runs around his farm, rides his bike through the sunset, and tastes his mother’s homemade pie. The writing is poetic and beautiful; Jackson uses such vivid description to paint a fluid, touching picture of the farm he grew up on, his grandparent’s house, his school, and the landscape of his small Missouri town in 1984.
The book doesn’t have one central plot, but then again, neither does life. Instead, Jackson jumps around from chapter to chapter, revisiting old events as they become important again, in a very real way. A subject that is often revisited is Jackson’s grandmother, as he and his family have to watch her growing old, becoming unable to do the things she once could. Jackson’s two older sisters are important as well, especially the oldest, who is leaving for college as the book comes to a close. His parents, his classmates, and the rest of his extended family are all central to Jackson’s story.
The anecdotes Jackson includes range from humorous to emotional to sad; his chapters vary in point of view and writing style, but each and every page bursts with well-written description and real feeling. Readers are transported back to a small-town Missouri farm in the 1980s, guided by a boy who is trying to understand life, deal with grief, and cope with loss. This book did take me a while to get through, but only because I wanted to savor every word and because it doesn’t have the same suspense a novel might have; there are many chapters explaining small events in Jackson’s life, and it is nice to be able to read a short chapter and come back later, without really having to remember where you left off. You, whoever you are, will get something out of this book. Whether you are young, old, or right in the middle, I Will Not Leave You Comfortless will make you feel something powerful. I am confident that this beautiful memoir will be enjoyed and hopeful that it can acquire a vast audience to revel in its magnificence.
– Katie (:
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