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Reviewed by Viga Boland for Readers' Favorite
Jackson by Lynn McLaughlin was my first experience listening to an audiobook. How impressed was I? The professional quality of the audiobook was superb, but it was the story itself that convinced me I also needed a printed copy. I ended up purchasing the Kindle version of the book so I could reference it easily again. Now, that’s impressive! There were just so many sections, sayings, and events relevant to my own life that my family also needs to hear or read. This audiobook is a keeper!
Jackson’s story is done by both him and his mother. This is the perfect way to see and hear both sides of the key struggle: that of a child/adult so overwhelmed by anxiety that it cripples the social, educational, and career aspects of his life. The other side of this struggle is the impact on his parents, especially his mother. These loving parents try everything to help Jackson as he slips in and out of depression, self-medicating with alcohol, and a seemingly endless battle with insecurity, self-doubt, and even suicidal thoughts. Even the parents end up in therapy. So is there a happy ending? In summary, Jackson is no fairy tale but ultimately, Jackson, along with his mother, gives readers real hope for better days ahead.
Each chapter is opened with poignant and memorable quotes, such as this one by Irene C. Kassorla: “The pen that writes your life story must be held in your own hand.” And this one by James Baldwin: “Not everything that is faced can be changed. But nothing can be changed until it is faced.” Such powerful words, and when delivered via clear audio, so very memorable. A well-produced audiobook, like Jackson, truly tugs at readers’ emotions, makes the events even more real, and drives the salient points home. The narrators of Jackson's story, Nancy Peterson and Jeremy Gilmer, capture the essence of his/her characters, speaking clearly, forcefully, and emotionally as needed. There is so much more I would like to share but I’ll finish up by saying that any family trying to cope with and help a child or adult with anxiety, depression, and suicidal tendencies needs to read or, better yet, listen to Jackson.