Bee and Jacky

Bee and Jacky

3.0 2
by Carolyn Coman
     
 

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The stunning new novel from Newbery Honor winner Carolyn Coman<P>Years after the return of their seriously wounded father from Vietnam, 13-year-old Bee Cooney and her older brother, Jacky, still bear their own scars--the result of a childhood spent entangled with each other as they fought to cope with their losses. The memories have not faded. On Labor Day…  See more details below

Overview

The stunning new novel from Newbery Honor winner Carolyn Coman<P>Years after the return of their seriously wounded father from Vietnam, 13-year-old Bee Cooney and her older brother, Jacky, still bear their own scars--the result of a childhood spent entangled with each other as they fought to cope with their losses. The memories have not faded. On Labor Day weekend, when their parents are away, Bee and Jacky return to the shameful games of their childhood--and destroy, then transform, their lives. With mastery and grace, multiple award-winner Carolyn Coman has created a novel that looks deep into the heart of one particular family.<P>"Proves Coman's extraordinary talent for creating complex images with simple words and her remarkable ability to elicit sympathy for all the characters...A fierce, intriguing novel, not easily forgotten." --<i>Booklist</i><P>"Brilliantly written...This is neither an easy book to read nor does it suggest any neat resolutions. What Coman does offer, masterfully, is honesty, compassion, and even a glimmer of hope." --<i>School Library Journal</i><P>* A Puffin Novel <br>* 104 pages<br>* Ages 14 up

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Coman's (What Jamie Saw) latest is the literary equivalent of a Diane Arbus photograph: it presents a sharp, shocking picture of pathology, but leaves it to the audience to imagine the world beyond the frame. Bee is 13 and her brother, Jacky, is 17. Their parents--an ineffectual mother and a father damaged both physically and mentally from serving in Vietnam--go visit the father's parents over Labor Day weekend, and Jacky and Bee are left alone. Jacky rapes a complicit Bee, who suddenly recalls years of similar molestation, evolving from their imaginary reenactments of their father's wartime exploits. As the weekend progresses, Bee begins to dissociate. She hallucinates; subconsciously or otherwise, she makes an overture to Jacky; she wanders outside naked. Coman's prose is as trenchant as ever, but she doesn't give readers much to go on. Bee's descent occurs so rapidly and violently that the impact verges on the sensationalistic. In both scope and length, the work seems closer to a short story than a novel. Like the subjects of Arbus photos, Bee and Jacky remain Other, figures to gape at but whose experience creates a gulf between them and the reader. Ages 12-up. (Oct.)
Children's Literature - Eileen Hanning
Over Labor Day weekend memories of a painful period in their childhood come flooding back to thirteen-year-old Bee and her older brother, Jacky. When Jacky and Bee refuse to go visit their grandparents, their parents go alone, leaving the two teens at home for the weekend. Years earlier, when their father had returned injured from the Vietnam War, the family lived with Bee's grandparents. While Bee's parents spent long hours at the VA hospital during her father's recuperation, Bee and Jacky played war in the woods behind their grandparents' house. Now, during the long weekend, Bee remembers their time in the woods together. Bee's memories and hallucinations blur and overlap as she begins to comprehend the sexual nature of their war game. By resuming their physical relationship, Bee and Jacky are forced to confront this intimate childhood experience. Passages where Bee imagines wounds on her body convey her emotional anguish and confusion. Jacky and Bee come to terms with each other over the course of the weekend, but the reader is left wondering about some lingering emotional wreckage. Powerfully and concisely written, Coman tackles huge issues including a teen's growing sexual awareness, incest, the human need for intimacy, and families in pain, in a mere 128 pages. Bee and Jacky is a book for mature readers, not only because of its profanity and sexual content, but also because of its emotionally charged topic.
VOYA - Cynthia L. Blinn
How much of fourteen-year-old Bee Cooney's world is real and how much imagined? During one Labor Day weekend, readers visit Bee's memories of war games played some five years earlier with her older brother, Jacky-wherein they revised the history that brought their Vietnam veteran father home-when tree roots marked her back as she lay "wounded," and her rescuer's body both protected and pounded upon hers. The intertwined explorations of Bee's changing perceptions of her current reality give readers pause for thought. Coman's stark portrayal of a war-ravaged family stepping softly past its angry seventeen-year-old son focuses around the incestuous sibling relationship. Arresting in its honesty, Coman's newest novel is as powerful as her poetic Tell Me Everything (Farrar, Straus & Giroux, 1993/VOYA December 1993) and even more disturbing than her Newbery Honor book What Jamie Saw (Front Street, 1995). This artistic interpretation of one family's ugly realities is a must-read for teachers and librarians. All three titles belong in good libraries serving YAs, although skittish adult readers may find Jacky's F-peppered vocabulary uncomfortably realistic. Young adults familiar with Coman's work, or attracted by the book's short length and easy-to-read appearance, may find the content confusing. Use Bee & Jacky with book discussion groups, with both YAs and youth-serving adults. Young adults reading independently may benefit from a forum for discussion or reflection as they read. Include Coman's books in your libraries and classrooms; startling and real, she reaches readers on a visceral level. VOYA Codes: 4Q 2P J S (Better than most, marred only by occasional lapses, For the YA with a special interest in the subject, Junior High-defined as grades 7 to 9 and Senior High-defined as grades 10 to 12).
School Library Journal
Gr 9 Up-This brilliantly written novel centers around a critical weekend in the lives of a brother and sister who have an incestuous relationship. Bee Cooney, 13, is very much aware of the increasing strain that has developed between her 17-year-old brother Jacky and their disabled Vietnam veteran father and anxious, unassertive mother. Bee feels distanced from Jacky, too, and longs to show him that she is on his side. Events come to a head when he refuses to accompany the family to his grandparents' home in the next state. Bee remembers the woods behind her grandparents' house, where they lived for three years after their father came home wounded, as the setting for a war game the two children played-a game that culminated in mutual masturbation. After Bee's parents acquiesce to Jacky's plan to stay home, Bee faints and is allowed to stay with him. That night their physical relationship is resumed. Through the course of the weekend, Bee suffers hallucinations of a bear attacking her brother and of her body burning. Jacky finds her standing naked in their yard and treats her with tender solicitousness. Having passed through the worst of the crisis, Bee reaches a new understanding of the fear and anger her family has harbored. She can acknowledge Jacky's need to break away and reaches out to their nearly shattered father. This is neither an easy book to read nor does it suggest any neat resolutions. What Coman does offer, masterfully, is honesty, compassion, and even a glimmer of hope.-Miriam Lang Budin, Mt. Kisco Public Library, NY
Kirkus Reviews
Coman (What Jamie Saw, 1995, etc.) takes on another taboo in this hallucinatory tale of a profoundly injured family.

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781608981397
Publisher:
namelos
Publication date:
03/15/2012
Pages:
100
Product dimensions:
5.50(w) x 8.50(h) x 0.38(d)
Age Range:
14 - 17 Years

Meet the Author

Carolyn Coman is the author of Many Stones, a Michael L. Printz Honor book, and What Jamie Saw, a Newbery Honor book. She lives in New Hampshire, and teaches in Vermont College's MFA in Writing for Children and Young Adults Program.

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Bee and Jacky 3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 2 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Bee & Jacky is a tragic story about a mentally unstable girl and her physical relationship with her brother. To truly appreciate this book, the reader must be mature.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Bee and Jacky started out in a small town in Indiana. Bee¿s family was going out of town on Memorial Day weekend to visit her grandparents, when Jacky [Bee¿s teenaged brother] announces that he is not going. Anne and Phil Cooney both know that they can no longer tall him what do to, so they let him stay home. After that night at dinner, a Bull appears outside their back door. When everyone gets up to go look at it, Bee faints. At this point I¿m extremely confused as to why a bull decides to show up, and why the author doesn¿t explain it. As the story progresses, I am disappointed by the weak plotline of the story. From what I picked up, Bee [the younger sister] wants Jacky to be as close to her as they were when they lived in Decatur. However I was confused again by the appearance of a bear that I¿m not even sure existed. Bee explains that it ¿Ripped open his chest¿. So Bee walks inside to take a nap. At this point I was extremely confused and frustrated. She talked about feeling scars all over her body and seeing them on her chest, then a few pages later they were non-existent. I gave this book a 2 rating because the plot line was weak, the entire story was confusing and lacking in explanation. I also didn¿t like the fact that it never explained why their father was so strange beyond ¿He was in a war¿.