Jackie, The Adventures of a Little Boy Trying to Grow Up.
Jackie was just a normal boy, growing up with his brothers and sister in a household in Canada in the 1930s and 1940s, far removed from the wartime troubles of Europe. His parents were Finnish, and Jackie had a great love for the classic Finnish foods his mother prepared, especially her coffee bread. These were the years when Jackie began school, with some teachers that he loved, and others that he despised. These years were full of fun with friends and family, including snow castles and scout trips and holiday excitement. And while childhood was not all sunshine for Jackie–there were medical procedures to endure and different fears to overcome–overall, the experiences were positive.
Jackie recounts a smattering of events from the childhood of the author, John Tammela. Written with clarity and carefully reconstructed dialogue that is quite believable, this somewhat novelized memoir makes for an enjoyable, lighthearted reading experience. Some of the stories are just fun, such as when Jackie has himself crowned king, or the process of building and defending an epic snow castle. Other stories hit darker parts of the emotional scale, like Jackie getting over his fear of the dentist, and the scout hike that could have ended very, very badly. This book is refreshing in that it does carry an overall uplifting note; many authors write memoirs because they need to talk about traumatic events from their past, but Tammela offers primarily happy stories, and even his harder stories are viewed through a positive lens. There is nothing in this book that is hard to read, and the easy, flowing way that Tammela spins his stories makes Jackie a great novel to delve into, the kind of book that might help you forget your own problems for just a little while.
Acorn Independent Press