If Jack's in Love

If Jack's in Love

by Stephen Wetta

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Every neighborhood has that house: The one with the broken down cars in the front yard; the one where the father is always out of work and starting fights with other dads;the one no one wants to go near. Twelve-year-old Jack Witcher lives in that house.

And that’s just where his problems begin.

It is 1967 and Jack’s father has lost his job, yet again. The war in Vietnam is perpetually on the news, and Jack is in love with a girl named Myra. But Myra’s family is the opposite of Jack’s. Her father is well dressed and well spoken. Her brother is the town’s golden boy. Jack schemes to win Myra’s love with the only person in town who will deign to be his friend, the town jeweler and sole Jew. But when Myra’s brother goes missing, Jack’s pot-smoking older brother becomes suspect number one...

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781101547854
Publisher: Penguin Publishing Group
Publication date: 09/29/2011
Sold by: Penguin Group
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 368
Sales rank: 992,208
File size: 318 KB
Age Range: 18 Years

About the Author

Stephen Wetta is a native of Richmond, Virginia. He received his bachelor's degree from Virginia Commenwealth University and his PhD from New York University. He is currently an English professor at Hunter College. If Jack’s in Love is his first novel.

What People are Saying About This

From the Publisher

"A powerful story … Wetta captures with great charm and grit the joys and aches of a first love complicated by social boundaries and familial expectations…. a fast-moving tale.” —Lee Martin, author of The Bright Forever and Break the Skin

Customer Reviews

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If Jack's in Love 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 21 reviews.
Ruth38 More than 1 year ago
I loved this book. Jack will win your heart and so will the writing. The Publisher's Weekly review got it exactly right. I found myself laughing out loud yet was also very moved by Jack's story. It's sweet, deep, and funny.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Excellent read! It is disturbing, sweet, and very funny in parts. The story is a great cautionary tale and it really allows the reader to feel the other side of being shunned and bullied. My heart ached for both Jack and his family. I loved that it was set in the 60's. I couldn't help but wonder how things would be different if these events unfolded today. Most definitely worth reading!
ansate on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I just didn't enjoy it at all. Jack is in a terrible situation, and I should at least be able to muster up some pity for him, but I can't even do that. He's too flat, too boring, too whiny.The best I can say about the book is that it successfully made me uncomfortable at points where I think that was the goal. There's no mystery. There's almost no suspense. It's just a grim slog.Oh, and the tone was much more "To Kill a Mockingbird" meets "The Wasp Factory" than any hint of "About a Boy"
Icecream18 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Jack, the main character, guides the reader through this thought-provoking novel. He is sincerely sweet and only 12 years old. He thinks he is in love with Myra, a girl whose brother disappears-Jack's brother is the main suspect. Jack doesn't really know what to make of this. He handles it in a mature way for a 12 year old. No one in their small town has a particularly high opinion of Jack's family as it is, making it all the harder on Jack.This novel is fast-paced, the events are surprising and enlightening. Written in a difficult time-the 1960's-this novel is intriguing and touches on quite a few hard subjects. The ending is bittersweet as well as decidedly perfect for this novel. This novel is recommended for young adult/adult readers.
samfsmith on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
A surprisingly good first novel, a traditional coming-of-age story. Jack is thirteen, and the youngest son of the white-trash Witcher family. As is usual in coming-of-age novels, he begins to see his parents and brother as they really are, makes friends with an adult (a Jewish jeweler) outside the family, and has his first girlfriend and kiss. His brother is also implicated in the murder of his girlfriend¿s brother.It¿s told throughout from Jack¿s viewpoint, which does wear thin part way through, but the suspense of the mystery pulls us through the rough spots. The ending is satisfying if not unexpected. Overall an excellent novel.
TemeculaMomma on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Okay, this book had me at the author's biography. A man sober against his will with a Ph.D. and jailed for tax evasion who wrote his first novel. That's my kind of author; he must have some real world insight that seeps into his writing...If Jack's In Love was a great read. I loved hearing the voice of the story from a 12 year-old boy's perspective. He was real and honest in his perception of an utterly disfunctional family. And I mean disfunctional with a capital D. Dad watches soap operas all day while Mom works her arse off (while keeping her boss away from said arse). Brother is a total pothead who incidentally may have murdered the neighborhood's All American Golden Boy who happens to be the sibling of Jack's love interest. The neighbors do not hold back in expressing just what they think of the Witcher family. Oh, and his only true friend in the world in a Jewish jeweler. The cards sure seem stacked up against our young Jack.My only beef with this novel is the final chapter. The first 43 chapters were written with the same voice and tone, then I felt as if another author stepped in to wrap everything up. That being said, I really did enjoy Mr. Wetta's first novel. It was genuine, interesting, and sweet in its own way. Jack is a character that any one of us would want to take in as our own. The plot held my interest and was written in a believable manner. Keep an eye on Stephen Wetta; he is sure to be a successful novelist.
ken1952 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I have reading friends who often talk about the "voice" of a novel. Well, Jack Witcher's voice is one of most heart breaking I've "heard" in a long time. He's 12 going on 13 and in love with Myra Joyner. When Myra's brother goes missing and Jack's older brother Stan becomes the leading suspect in the disappearance, Jack's world starts to unravel. Not that he ever had it very good: his father is unemployed and hangs around the house watching soap operas; his brother is a pot smoking "hippie freak" with a terrible temper; and his mother is trying to understand why her family is the laughing stock of the town. Stephen Wetta has written a coming of age novel that is so much more than that. Jack is an amazing kid and his "voice" grabs you at the start of the novel and won't let go. Wetta also gives us a powerful note from the author at the end of the book about a kid he knew who was much like Jack. Wetta says, "I've thought about him many times over the years and even suffered for his memory. To tell the truth, this book was written, if anything, as a kind of homage to him. Still, I've never bothered to ask anyone what happened to him. I'm sure no one would know."
jd234512 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This was an extremely enjoyable book that read very quickly. The Witcher family was very different from the family I grew up with and yet there was the ability to understand Jack's character and sympathize with him. Although this book may not make top lists for the year, it's very hard to deny a well-written story that engages you throughout. I can honestly say that I read this faster than I do other books because I truly wanted to know what was going to come of Jack and his family. Kudos to an excellent story!
DeanieG on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Finally, a book I didn't want to put down.! The Witcher's are from the wrong side of the tracks, outcasts, white trash by some folks standards. Jack is the smart one and his brother and father are violent and dishonest. Jack's poor Mother just never quite knows what to do especially after her son Stan is accused of murdering the town's golden boy...Jack is in love with the murdered boy's sister Myra and it doesn't do their young relationship any good that her brother may have been murdered by his brother....this book is a good read and it's easy to root for Jack throughout....
mrstreme on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Jack Witcher's family is the black sheep of the neighborhood - poor, living in a tattered house with a lazy father, overwhelmed mother and hellraising brother. In If Jack's In Love, Jack narrates this coming of age tale where we learn about his evolution from a Witcher boy to a young man with a mind of his own.Jack is in love with Myra Joiner - a girl from the other side of the track (the right side, per se), whose brother, Gaylord, disappears one August night. The Joiner family smells foul play, and immediately Jack's older brother, Stan, is a suspect. Stan and Gaylord have a history of not getting along, and with Stan's quick temper, Jack's not sure if his brother didn't kill Gaylord. What he does know is that he loves Myra, despite the tragedies that have affected both families.If Jack's in Love is the debut effort by Stephen Wetta, and unfortunately, I think Wetta's rookiness as a writer showed through. The pacing of the novel was a bit off, and I think the story would have been strengthened by dual narrators - Jack and his mother. Jack's mom was an interesting character - a woman who married the wrong guy and whose life didn't end up like she hoped. She would have added the right blend to this tale of family loyalty.If you like coming of age tales, If Jack's in Love is one to add to your wish list. Jack's narrative was enough to carry the book through, despite some writing flaws. The ending wrapped everything up, and I was glad Jack's story resolved because he's a kid most readers can root for. I know I did.
metermaid1 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
The book If Jack's In Love was a great read. I read the whole book in just under three hours and literally did not put it down from the time I started it to the time I finished it. The title character, Jack, weaves a narrative that is at times hilarious and at times heartbreaking. I truly would recommend it.
icedream on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I found that "If Jack's In Love" was a well written book and I really enjoyed the the idea of the coming-of-age novel. I am also a fan of southern based fiction and I enjoyed the setting and time-frame of this novel. I wish I was able to become more emotionally attached to the characters but I found the book was worth the time to read.
Urquhart on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
A Young Adult book for all ages.It is a book about so many things: boy coming of age, bullying, family dysfunction, murder, etc.I found it a brilliant, perceptive, engaging, unable to put down in one reading.
harahel on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I received this book as early reviewer and tried several times to push past the first twenty-five pages so that I could give an honest review. In the end, I couldn't manage it. The book was just not for me. I didn't enjoy the style and the story just didn't manage to hook me.
mcelhra on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Twelve-year old Jack has the misfortune of belonging to the Witcher family ¿ the lowest family on the totem pole in the small Virginia town where he lives. His father is frequently out of work, leaving his overworked mother to provide for the family. Jack¿s older brother Stan is the town bully.Jack¿s world gets even worse when his brother is the primary suspect in the disappearance of the son of one of the pillars of the community. Jack happens to be in love with the missing boy¿s younger sister, Myra, who is not allowed to be seen with Jack. Jack enlists the help of his only friend, Mr. Goldstein, the town¿s Jewish jeweler, to win Myra¿s heart. Can Jack overcome all the obstacles stacked against him?This novel is another great offering from Amy Einhorn Books. Jack is such a realistic and authentic character that I instantly connected with him. I was rooting for him throughout the whole book. Wetta¿s writing is wonderful; he was able to incorporate scenes with humor, suspense and heartbreak equally well. If Jack¿s In Love is a gripping, moving coming-of-age story that I thoroughly enjoyed.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
bookchickdi More than 1 year ago
Amy Einhorn Books excels at finding debut novelists with unique voices- Eleanor Brown's The Weird Sisters, Alex George's The Good American and most famously, Kathryn Stockett's The Help. All of these books draw the reader into another world with strong characters and writing. Add to that list Stephen Wetta with his debut novel If Jack's In Love. Set in a Virginia suburb in 1967, Jack Witcher is a twelve-year-old boy with a gifted intellect and a difficult home life. His mother is a kind woman burdened with a husband who cannot hold a job, fights with the neighbors and holds his intelligent son in disdain. Jack's older brother Stan follows in their father's violent footsteps, drinking, smoking pot, fighting and getting in trouble with the law. Needless to say, the Witcher family is not a popular one in the neighborhood. Jack has a crush on beautiful Myra who responds to Jack's sweetness. But when Myra's brother, the high school football hero, goes missing, Stan is the prime suspect after having a fight with the boy. Once again, Jack's family has hurt him. Mr. Gladstein is the owner of a local jewelry store and Jack's only friend. The man tries to help Jack woo Myra, and he is one of the few people in town who show Jack's plain mother any type of kindness or interest. Jack's father comes up with a plan to rob Mr. Gladstein, and Jack must thwart the plot without his father finding out. Jack is a wonderful character, and watching him try to survive and thrive in a home where his intellect is stifled and mocked is difficult. His poor beaten-down mother does her best, but she is no match for her physically powerful husband and other son. The book grabs you from the opening line: "I'll never know for sure whether I'd have fought my brother or not. Maybe I might have killed him. The day came and I made the decision. But I will never know." How can you resist reading on? The author's take on the complexities of love and family intrigued me. Jack's mom explains why she married his dad this way: "I knew he'd never get it in his head he was too good for me. He has an inferiority complex a mile wide. Most people can't see that, but I saw it right away." Jack "went to (his) room and meditated on the mysteries of women, deeper that all the philosophies of humankind put together." On families, Jack thinks: "Families live on loyalty more than love, and it wasn't fear that made me keep my mouth shut. I could never forget that Stan bled for me. And yet I was terrified of him." If Jack's In Love is a book written for adults, but there is much here for teens to appreciate. Jack is an outsider, torn between his love for his mother, and yes even his father and brother, and his desire to have a different, better life. His feelings are no doubt shared by many adolescents, and this book would be a great one for high school English classes.
TheReadingWriter More than 1 year ago
Wetta has written that rare novel that can truly be called a “crossover,” in the sense that it speaks to adults just as it speaks to teens. It raises questions that are not really resolved, and speaks to the nature of fiction itself. If we change just one thing in one’s life, does that make all the rest a fiction? Jack presents us with two alternate histories: one in which his brother is transgresser, and one in which his brother is transgressed upon. In the first history, his father is a rough and a cad, while in the second, he is vulnerable yet protective of his sons. The fact that alternative histories are presented tells us something about Jack’s ambivalence, though one of the histories lay on the cutting room floor at the end of the novel. I remember those days of childhood when one begins to perceive the outlines of “truth;” when another person’s truth is not precisely as we ourselves have observed it to be. We begin to suspect those others; we begin to suspect ourselves. This is a book, I guess, about love. But it seems more a book about a family (“Families live on loyalty more than love…”), or perhaps just a young boy: a young boy just discerning the truth about people, about his family, about his neighborhood, about black people and Jewish people, about policemen and villains. It is a story of a stiff-spined boy who grew into a stiff-spined man. He claims to have had a brother and father who taught him forgiveness could be weakness. He was saved by his mother, a kind woman, though she recognized some failing in him: “You’ll be a lot harder than your father or brother ever were. You’ll never do anything wrong, not you. But my God you’re going to be hard.” Jack may have thought that was a good thing—a carapace of steel should save him from the vagaries of love and loyalty. Jack Witcher begins his story when he is thirteen and “already tragic.” Exceptionally imaginative, he has a hard time sorting truth from fiction, and creates an alternate universe in which the haunting experience of finding a corpse in the woods merges with the perfectly normal wish for an older brother to get his come-uppance and his parents’ divorce to be explained. “Maybe I might have killed him.” Jack is uncertain exactly how to deal with an unruly older brother, but one thing is clear. He’ll create a story in which that brother is dealt with severely. How much is truth and how much is fiction? That is where we will differ. This may be a good book to carry on the family vacation this summer. It has clever observances that make us laugh out loud, it raises social issues, and it plays with our sense of reality. It might make for good conversation around the campfire, on the lake, or at the dinner table.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Daniel332 More than 1 year ago
The reader will feel the heart of Jack, the twelve year old protagonist, as the sickening events implicating his only brother in the death of a neighbor become inescapable. Are these things circumstantial and there is still room for the hope of some other possibility? Is Jack himself in danger as he slowly becomes unglued? The author builds a creepy suspense, and the reader looks for the people in Jack's life on whom he can really count. Because even though Jack is so intelligent and perceptive and street wise to some extent, he is only a boy.
Icecream18 More than 1 year ago
Jack, the main character, guides the reader through this thought-provoking novel. He is sincerely sweet and only 12 years old. He thinks he is in love with Myra, a girl whose brother disappears-Jack's brother is the main suspect. Jack doesn't really know what to make of this. He handles it in a mature way for a 12 year old. No one in their small town has a particularly high opinion of Jack's family as it is, making it all the harder on Jack. This novel is fast-paced, the events are surprising and enlightening. Written in a difficult time-the 1960's-this novel is intriguing and touches on quite a few hard subjects. The ending is bittersweet as well as decidedly perfect for this novel. This novel is recommended for young adult/adult readers.