Sculptor Boy

The Journal of Jack McRose

Fiction - Literary
204 Pages
Reviewed on 06/01/2018
Buy on Amazon

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    Book Review

Reviewed by Romuald Dzemo for Readers' Favorite

I love books that, while telling a great story, make me think about life and its realities in a serious way and Sculptor Boy: The Journal of Jack McRose by Chris Craig is one such book, with the narrative centered on a strong character. Jack McRose doesn’t seem to be the kind of person with big dreams and he isn’t one to stress over serious choices. It seems as if everything is laid out for him in black and white — complete college, move in with Mom and work for the family collection business. With his girlfriend off to Africa, Jack thinks he has a plan for his life, until the fateful trip to Colorado to attend a wedding brings him into contact with the unusual, flirtatious, and intelligent Hamish, a guy from New Zealand who will challenge Jack's worldview and perhaps everything he’s ever believed in.

This is a story about making the most important choices in life, a story that will compel readers to reflect on whose values they live by and if they can embrace who they really are with inner freedom. The narrative is done in a powerful first person, and it features great prose and wonderful dialogues. Chris Craig knows how to build dialogue and he uses it to explore the different layers of the story — plot, character, and thematic development. I enjoyed the way the theme of friendship is developed and readers will find Hamish to be a very interesting character. Fast-paced and intelligently plotted, Sculptor Boy is a smooth and delightful read!

Jack Magnus

Sculptor Boy: The Journal of Jack McRose is a literary fiction/coming of age novel for young and new adults written by Chris Craig. Jack McRose couldn’t really get too enthusiastic about his business and accounting studies, and he definitely was not looking forward to saying goodbye to his girlfriend, Kate, when she left for her two-year stint in Nairobi as a nurse with the Peace Corps. Jack’s two summer semester courses would allow him to graduate, but even the “easy” course in sports history was proving a challenge. While his peers were all working on getting their best grades for graduate school or interviewing for jobs, Jack’s life was pretty much charted out for him. He’d be working in the family business along with his brother. His father had decided that Jack would handle the marketing, which meant Jack’s major in college would be marketing. After college, he would live with his mom. But if he didn’t have the job-related stress that his peers felt, Jack had to keep on reminding himself how lucky he was, even if he didn’t always feel that lucky. Then something happened to change his life. A family friend’s wedding was taking place in Colorado, and Jack’s dad wanted him to go. It would mean some time off before starting work. It would end up meaning a lot more than that.

Chris Craig’s literary fiction/coming of age novel for young and new adults, Sculptor Boy: The Journal of Jack McRose, is a refreshing and marvelous look at the emancipation of a young man whose life had been strictly charted out for him by an overbearing father. I loved seeing Jack’s horizons expand as he goes to work at Nick Karas’ ski lodge for the two weeks before his job starts, and wondered when and if he’d ever fully escape the rigidly controlled future he had always been resigned to. Craig’s hero comes alive as he explores his new environment and seeing the world of possibilities open up before him is inspiring indeed. Sculptor Boy: The Journal of Jack McRose is most highly recommended. It's an awesome read.

Lesley Jones

In Sculptor Boy by Chris Craig, Jack is counting the days until he can finally graduate college. He is not an academic like his brother, but luckily he doesn’t have to worry about finding work. His future is already set on working in the family’s collection business with his brother. Jack's only concern is losing his girlfriend, Kate, as she travels to work in Kenya for two years. All his friends are leaving town either for work or to get married. Once he has graduated, Jack begins the long drive towards Colorado and his new job. He stops off along the way to attend a friend’s wedding, and while he is there, he is invited to spend a couple of weeks skiing in the mountains. Jack meets Hamish, a confident, outgoing and adventurous soul who teaches Jack to look at the world and life with a new perspective. Jack must decide whether he is going to follow his heart and Hamish on a European adventure or continue to Colorado and the security of the family business.

Sculptor Boy by Chris Craig should be an epiphany to anyone who is deciding to make big life changes. The main character of Jack is well written and authentic. Hamish is instantly a breath of fresh air who comes into Jack's sensible and planned world and turns it upside down. The whole story of a young man yearning to follow his heart, but having this tie of responsibility is a strong lesson for anyone who feels they want more from life than the usual drudgery. Hamish is a fantastic character. I loved his wild spirit, and the dialogue between him and Jack was really funny and realistic. Their antics on the way to Las Vegas were very funny also. The author has created an engaging story line with such a strong life lesson. The ending was superb and heartwarming. I think I have to sum the whole book up with this quote from Hamish: “The best way to avoid regrets is to create amazing memories.”

Jamie Michele

Sculptor Boy: The Journal of Jack McRose by Chris Craig is the story of a man who already has a life mapped out for him. Just barely graduating from college - with a career lined up and little incentive to tackle more than a passing grade - he spends his last couple of weeks before settling into adulthood joking with friends, enjoying time with his girlfriend, Kate, before she heads to Nairobi with the Peace Corps, and attending an old high school friend's wedding. Jack seems to have it all. Towering over everyone around him, he's fabulously tall, strapping, and uncomplicated. In a final hurrah, Jack embarks on a road trip from Chicago to Denver. All seems to be clicking into place until he meets a New Zealander named Hamish, who calls into question everything Jack thought he wanted, forcing him instead to consider a path less traveled.

Set in 1985, Sculptor Boy: The Journal of Jack McRose by Chris Craig is a coming of age story for a young man who should have come of age years earlier, chock-a-block with '80s pop culture and the ride of a lifetime. Craig is a talented author with a skill for setting the scenes and layering characters enough to make them fully fleshed in a story that's a quick enough read to finish over a weekend. The dialogue is fresh and fun, the narrative lively ("Be it cocaine, a Glock, or a prostitute, I had a feeling he could assist."), and Jack feels wholly authentic. Hamish is a dynamic co-conspirator to Jack's free fall into the unknown, and with a straightforward plot and amusing drivers, there's nothing to fault in Craig's book except perhaps a desire in the end to hit the road yourself.

Anne-Marie Reynolds

Sculptor Boy by Chris Craig is The Journal of Jack McRose. Jack is nothing special. He has a plan for his life, graduating from college and working in the family business. His girlfriend has other plans, she’s off to Nairobi to join the Peace Corps for 2 years. Everything is fine, everyone knows what their plans are. Until Jack takes a road trip from Chicago to Colorado to go to a friend’s wedding. He meets a brash New Zealander called Hamish, a man of the world, and everything Jack had planned falls away. Everything Jack thought he wanted may not be what he really wants, and Jack is about to see a new way of life, a new way of thinking and a whole new plan for the future.

Sculptor Boy: The Journal of Jack McRose by Chris Craig is a great story set in the 1980s, with music, fashion, and ideas to match. It’s a well-developed story, the plot growing as the book goes on. It isn’t the most action-packed of stories but, on the other hand, that’s not what this is about. This story is about finding yourself, finding out who you are and what you really want out of life – your own future or the one that is expected of you? It’s a fun story with undertones of serious and fabulous characters that gelled, both with each other and with me. I defy anyone to find something to dislike about this story; it’s a gentle, quick read, with a great premise and it gives you lots to think about.