JAKE, Lucid Dreamer ISBN: 9788494754882, Kwill Books, an e-book by David J. Naiman.
The story is centered on Jake, a young boy now starting middle school four years after losing his beloved mother after an extended life battle that included chemotherapy, gradually extended hospitalization with attendant degenerative changes until her demise. Even four years later he is so devastated that he is unable to realize that his father and younger sister also have been, and still are greatly affected, although each in his/her own way have been able to make adjustments of which he becomes aware only later. Thus, he can only partially and intermittently reciprocate the mutual love that exists within the remaining family. His underlying smoldering anger at the enormity of his loss also reflects in all of his dealings with acquaintances and his entry into this middle school area peopled by individuals described as pimply and awkward with gangling limbs, orthodontic braces, sour attitudes and beginning hormone acceleration. Added to these physical problems provided by this group lying between the more or less friendly elementary school level and the highly competitive ‘almost adult’ high school, are the rising levels of social awareness of boy/girl relationships and the constantly growing ‘bully’ activities. For Jake, nightly dreams offer just one more addition to this huge burden as does the fact that he is of interracial origin (his mother was Chinese). His lengthy journey and steps taken to find an eventual answer to his tortured mind is the subject of the tale.
Discussion: The most prominent feature of this story is how the author has so adroitly handled the number of extremely difficult interrelated subjects – parental loss, a sister seemingly a little slow developmentally either physically or for attention-seeking purposes (adding annoyance to Jake’s already ‘full plate’ regardless of cause), the abundance of ‘middle school’ childhood problems, his interracial origin and his ‘lucid’ dreams. The author further has managed to very creditably depict the problems facing such a student in a manner that individuals of this age can understand so the lessons easily can be assimilated and absorbed by them.
Summary: A very well and thoughtfully written story of a devastatingly heart-breaking, situation set forth in a most movingly heart-warming and thoughtful presentation. Highly recommended.
5* Heartwarmingly told poignant tale for young readers, but thought provoking for anyone.