As a reader, one thing I can recognize about writing a book is that page length, coupled with content, matters. I’m not trying to say that books have to be a certain number of pages to tell a good story. I don’t complain when a good book is long, or if a good book is short. If the book really struck a chord in my heart then it was probably the perfect length, no matter what.
The reason I’m talking about page length is because when I started Dinner at Jack’s I was concerned that such a deep subject matter, PTSD, was going to be hindered by it being a love story that was only 220 pages long. I’m not a page snob, like I said. However, some real world topics just seem to require time in order to make the story believable. I felt sure that the authors ability to make me believe that a guy with severe PTSD, and I mean severe, would be able to fall in love, let alone heal, in a mere 220 pages. The idea that a love story could end without complete healing didn’t even cross my mind, because what romance book ever ends without the rainbows and glitter of a ‘happily ever after’, unless it’s a series.
Despite my concerns, Dinner at Jack’s proved that it could take me along for the ride and keep me right in the moment with them. I read this book with very little cynicism. I can even tell you why. It had to do with the fact that Jack didn’t snap right out of it when he laid eyes on Beau. There wasn’t one big powerful moment that righted all the wrongs in Jack’s mind, brought out the sunshine, and made the pain go away. What I can believe is that an attraction, perhaps even a love, could be enough to make someone get out of bed. It could be enough to make someone fight to get better. Mr. Reed didn’t push for too much, and that’s what made it perfect.
I read I’ll Meet You There recently, which was about a Wounded Warrior coming home from Iraq and dealing with PTSD, caused by the war and the loss of his squad members. I thought that book was really good, but there were some aspects that I thought were too ‘pretty’. I don’t believe sleeping next to a specific person will take away your trauma induced nightmares. They can be supportive, but they can’t heal you. Having that comparison really made Dinner at Jack’s stand out as exceptional.
I really loved it.
Thank you to Dreamspinner Press for providing a review copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
Rating: = A
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