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Jake's Tower: The Story of a Boy's Triumph Over Cruelty

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Jake is an unhappy little boy whose dream is to live in a tower, protected by a moat and a drawbridge. His room would be at the tower's very top, where he would always be safe and happy. In real life, Jake is never safe and he's seldom happy. He is often beaten by his mother's boyfriend, and his real father is somewhere far away. All Jake knows is that his real father gave him a cuddle and a fluffy duck on the day he was born, then went away, never to return. But that was many years ago. Finally, life becomes so ...

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Jake's Tower

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Overview

Jake is an unhappy little boy whose dream is to live in a tower, protected by a moat and a drawbridge. His room would be at the tower's very top, where he would always be safe and happy. In real life, Jake is never safe and he's seldom happy. He is often beaten by his mother's boyfriend, and his real father is somewhere far away. All Jake knows is that his real father gave him a cuddle and a fluffy duck on the day he was born, then went away, never to return. But that was many years ago. Finally, life becomes so unbearable for both Jake and his mother that they run away, seeking protection at the home of a formidable grandmother who has always refused to acknowledge Jake's existence. Jake's Tower is a powerful and realistic story for young readers that recounts a child's painful journey from despair to hope and love. (Ages 9-12)

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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.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780764122316
  • Publisher: Barron's Educational Series, Incorporated
  • Publication date: 7/12/2002
  • Edition description: 1ST US
  • Pages: 154
  • Age range: 9 - 12 Years
  • Product dimensions: 5.16 (w) x 7.62 (h) x 0.49 (d)

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