Monday, October 5, 2015

Julie's Review: The Perfect Comeback of Caroline Jacobs

Author: Matthew Dicks
Series: None
Publication Date: September 8, 2015
Publisher: St. Martin's Press
Pages: 224
Obtained: publisher via
Genre:  Contemporary Fiction
Rating: 5/5
Bottom Line: A gem of a novel
Grab, Just get it at the library, or Remove from your TBR list? Grab!
Summary: Caroline Jacobs is a wimp, someone who specializes in the suffering of tiny indignities in silence. And the big ones, too. But when the twinset wearing president of the local Parent Teacher Organization steps out of line one too many times, Caroline musters the courage to assert herself. With a four-letter word, no less. Caroline's outburst has awakened something in her. Not just gumption, but a realization that the roots of her tirade can be traced back to something that happened to her as a teenager, when her best friend very publicly betrayed her. So, with a little bit of bravery, Caroline decides to go back to her home town and tell off her childhood friend. She busts her daughter out of school, and the two set off to deliver the perfect comeback . . . some twenty-five years later. But nothing goes as planned. Long buried secrets rise to the surface, and Caroline finds she has to face much more than one old, bad best friend. THE PERFECT COMEBACK OF CAROLINE JACOBS is an enchanting novel about the ways in which our childhood experiences reverberate through our lives. It's the story of a woman looking to fix her life through an act of bravery, and of a mother and daughter learning to understand one another. Deceptively simple and highly engaging, this latest novel by Matthew Dicks is perfect for those of us who were last to be picked at sports, and for everyone who is thrilled not to be in high school any more.  

Review: The Perfect Comeback of Caroline Jacobs is one heck of a small book. Everyone has that one person that they would love to give a piece of her mind or exact revenge on. If someone comes to your mind immediately, then you really need to pick up this novel. You really will breeze through it. As a woman of a certain age, I definitely identified with Caroline. We might have different personalities but I can see how life might have worn her down. She was betrayed by her best friend in high school and never fully got over it. It hasn't effected her day to day life but a bit of her broke that day in the cafeteria.

We all have a moment that we wish our reaction could have been different. Something snapped when Caroline had to go to school to pick up her daughter, Polly, for decking a girl in class. She decides to go on an impromptu road trip back with her teen daughter in town. It is probably one of the most honest conversations they've had in a long time. Caroline decides to tell Polly what happened to her as a teen and by opening up to her, Polly tells her about her own struggles.

As parents, we can often forget what kids/teens struggle with because we are wrapped up in being a parent. Kids never want to believe their parents went through similar struggles because "it's different". Plans never go as planned though right? So while Caroline has it all scripted in her head, her confrontation with Emily isn't exactly what she expected but maybe it's what she needed. Maybe just the idea of confrontation was all the therapy that Caroline needed.

There's also another thing that has been bothering Caroline for all these years, her sister Lucy's death. She has to reconcile what happened that day with her guilt. She also needs to repair her relationship with her mom but I think that might need a book of it's own. It is intriguing that her seeking revenge on Emily, her former BFF, has her also dealing with a time when she didn't exactly act the correct way either. It's a yin and yang she's got going on. I loved this novel. It's not very long but it's a gem. It is so powerful in an unassuming way.

I love the way Caroline and Polly are on two different ends of the earth when the book starts but end up being a lot closer. Is their relationship all the way healed? Of course not, but it's a lot better than it was and will continue to get better. We leave them where they have a better understanding of each other and themselves.

Do yourself a favor and pick up The Perfect Comeback of Caroline Jacobs, you will have it read in less than 24 hours.



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