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Jake's Tower
     

Jake's Tower

by Elizabeth Laird
 

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'It's good that I've found this secret place. I can come here and make plans. My main plan for the future is my dream house. It's very tall and thin. A tower really. There'll be a lift to whiz me up to the top. No one can get to me up there. It's totally safe.'

In real life, Jake is never safe. He lives in constant fear of his mother's violent

Overview

'It's good that I've found this secret place. I can come here and make plans. My main plan for the future is my dream house. It's very tall and thin. A tower really. There'll be a lift to whiz me up to the top. No one can get to me up there. It's totally safe.'

In real life, Jake is never safe. He lives in constant fear of his mother's violent boyfriend. But in his imaginary tower he can dream up his own father - the stranger who gave him a cuddle and a fluffy duck the day he was born and went away for ever. Jake doesn't believe dreams ever come true. But sometimes they do - in strange and surprising ways.

Shortlisted for the Carnegie Medal, Jake's Tower by Elizabeth Laird is a powerful and moving novel that spotlights the issue domestic abuse.


Editorial Reviews

Children's Literature
It is hard to believe at times how much suffering can take place in a family and how such misery can be hidden from the eyes of the world, sometimes for years. This is what happens with Jake, whose mother's boyfriend beats him up regularly. Jake's solution is to find a hiding place near his house where he can have a few moments of reprieve. He also creates a hiding place in his mind, in his imagination. This place is a tower on an island where he and his mother would be safe and happy. In this extraordinary book the author has managed to make a very painful and uncomfortable subject accessible. Woven throughout the story the reader will find images that reflect Jake's miserable situation. There are the animals in the cages in the zoo for example. On Jake's imagination island these animals would be free. As the story progresses with Jake's situation finally starting to improve, the tower becomes less and less important. In the end, Jake's own new and real-life bedroom is quite enough of a refuge for him and the tower in his imagination is no longer needed. Every small step that Jake and his mother make towards recovery and a better life feels like a triumph and gives the reader hope that even lost souls like Jake can get help after all. Probably the most important aspect of this unique book is that it opens up a dark cupboard that most of us would prefer to pretend does not exist. We suffer with Jake and are appalled when his mother gives excuses for her boyfriend's behavior. How can she still feel anything for him we ask ourselves? The question we should ask ourselves is: How can a human being feel so abandoned and alone in the world that the 'love' of an abusive man is still better thannothing at all. 2001, Barron's,
— Marya Jansen-Gruber
School Library Journal
Gr 4-7-Jake and his mother live with her abusive boyfriend in a lower-middle-class British town. Jake often bears the brunt of Steve's uncontrollable anger, and escapes by dreaming of his father, who, at 16, abandoned Jake's teenaged mother, Marie. He is able to cope until he discovers that his mother is pregnant, and his fears turn to protecting his unborn sibling. One last beating causes Marie to seek help from his father's mother, who had denied that her son got Marie pregnant. Jake and his mother are believable characters, and the beginning of the book conveys the tension and terror of living with abuse. The plot, however, becomes predictable and loses immediacy after Jake and Marie move in with his grandmother. The story ends hopefully, and readers know that Jake will recover and develop a relationship with his newly discovered father. The entire reading experience lacks the mesmerizing hold of Carolyn Coman's What Jamie Saw (Front Street, 1995), making it an additional purchase.-Jennifer Ralston, Harford County Public Library, Belcamp, MD Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780330477901
Publisher:
Pan Macmillan
Publication date:
09/04/2008
Sold by:
Barnes & Noble
Format:
NOOK Book
File size:
272 KB
Age Range:
9 - 11 Years

Related Subjects

Meet the Author

Elizabeth Laird is the author of many award-winning children's novels. Kiss the Dust, about the experience of the Kurds, won the Children's Book Award. Jake's Tower, Red Sky in the Morning, Secret Friends, The Garbage King, A Little Piece of Ground and The Fastest Boy in the World were all nominated for the Carnegie Medal. She and her husband divide their time between Richmond, Surrey and Edinburgh.

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