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Reviewed by Rolanda Lyles for Readers' Favorite
Lynn McLaughlin’s Jackson is about the struggle of living with mental illness. This story centers on Jackson and his mother, June. Jackson’s dialogue narrates the struggles of coping with severe anxiety, and his mother’s dialogue expresses her struggles while caring for someone with mental health issues. Jackson is full of emotional highs and lows, but the love that they share guides them through to a hopeful conclusion.
Jackson masterfully portrays the raw and emotional ups and downs of living with mental illness. McLaughlin also adequately portrays the anguish and frustration that comes with supporting a person dealing with mental illness. I especially like how June, a typical mother, wants to help and support Jackson even when he makes bad decisions. She essentially almost takes on his illness and struggles as well in the form of her own anxieties over his reactions to triggers and poor decision making. McLaughlin shows us how some forms of mental illness can manifest as explosive rage and temper tantrums. There were many times where Jackson would explode at his parents, his mom in particular, but June maintained self-control and used her steps they learned in counseling.
Lynn McLaughlin’s Jackson is powerfully written and gives an honest depiction of parents’ experience of trying to get to the bottom of a mental health issue to assist their child in coping with his illness. I appreciate the research that clearly was done in order to give accurate information and educate readers on the struggles of living with mental illness. Jackson is packed with helpful tips for those seeking to support and guide but not enable those who struggle with mental illness. A great source of information, and a powerful story of love, hope, and the drive to persevere.