Review: Finding Jake

While his successful wife goes off to her law office each day, Simon Connolly takes care of their kids, Jake and Laney. Now that they are in high school, the angst-ridden father should feel more relaxed, but he doesn’t. He’s seen the statistics, read the headlines. And now, his darkest fear is coming true. There has been a shooting at school.

Simon races to the rendezvous point, where he’s forced to wait. Do they know who did it? How many victims were there? Why did this happen? One by one, parents are led out of the room to reunite with their children. Their numbers dwindle, until Simon is alone.

As his worst nightmare unfolds, and Jake is the only child missing, Simon begins to obsess over the past, searching for answers, for hope, for the memory of the boy he raised, for mistakes he must have made, for the reason everything came to this. Where is Jake? What happened in those final moments? Is it possible he doesn’t really know his son? Or he knows him better than he thought?

Simon Connolly’s world is turned upside-down when he gets a text saying that shots have been fired at the high school his children, Jake and Laney, attend.  Laney returns to her parents, but Jake is nowhere to be found.  Then the news breaks that Jake may have had something to do with the shooting.  Simon takes it upon himself to find his son, because no one else seems to care to find him, and figure out why this happened.

The story is told from Simon’s perspective in alternating chapters from when Simon gets the text about the shooting, and of Jake’s early years leading up to the shooting.  Through this we see Simon’s parenting style and how he raised his kids, and while looking back he becomes insecure about the way he raised Jake.  As Simon filters through some of the memories he begins to wonder if he knew is son as well as he thought he did.

In the real-time happenings, Simon has to deal with the backlash of (possibly) being the parent of a school-shooter.  It was hard to read those parts where he and his family taking the heat as their community condemned their son, while blaming them for not seeing any signs that he’d do something like that.  I got a little miffed at those areas because it’s not solely the parents’ fault because it’s not easy to see the signs before something like this happens.  A parent can raise their child in a good home and give them nothing but love, and something like this can still happen.  The fact is, you never know what is truly going through a person’s mind.

I found this book interesting and it was paced very well.  It gave me enough time to try to figure out whether Jake was a part of the shooting or not and what had happened after the tragic event at the school.  I will say that I was not expecting it to end as it did.  Some of my emotions were tugged at, but not pulled completely apart like I was expecting them to be.

It just felt like the book was lacking something.  Maybe more of a look into the mind of Jake and his friend before the shooting happened or something similar to really give us a better look at the character of Jake.  I know we see a lot of his growing up years, but we are not given a picture of what he’s like in his more recent years before the shooting.

Overall, I did like this book.  It does make you understand the perspective of the family that is on the other end of a tragedy such as this – they are going through heartbreak as well, but a different kind – and you feel bad for them.  It’s definitely a good read for anyone who likes a short mystery that can also tug the emotional strings.

Rating: 3.5/stars

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