Book Review: "Jacob's List" by Stephanie Grace Whitson

No parent should have to bury their child

Pam and Michael have just received the worst news that no parent ever wants to hear. Their only child has been killed. The estranged couple now must deal with coping with their son's death, and their feelings toward the man who killed him. Their relationship together also requires a second outlook. Everything in their lives must be reexamined from past battles with cancer, to affairs, to matters of faith, to dealing with Jacob's "second family." Then there is the matter of Jacob's list- the things he wanted to do before he died and how they will now accomplish these tasks for him.

This was a really thought provoking and sad book. It shows all the parties that are affected by an accidental death, from the parents to the man who caused the accident, to his wife, to the officer who found the accident, to his family, to even the grave keepers. The characters really stay with you after reading. You feel their struggles and their anger and pain. But amid all the sadness there are several moments of laughter in this book with the Novac family. I liked the meatloaf talk and the Ninja night. That was really awesome reading about how that family helped out those in need. I also really liked Rambo! From his description, I kept imagining a small cute little poodle, but then looking on the author's website it appears that Rambo is one of the big tall poodles! So that completely changed my image of him! But I love at how obedient he is and how he listens to Pam and Mike and even suffered when Jacob died. I was thinking though, from the cover and the summary on the back, that Jacob's parents were going to take over his list and do everything that he couldn't. So it confused me when I was getting near the end of the book and they still hadn't fully made up yet. Interestingly I don't recall reading anywhere in the book where they go backpacking together. However, the purpose of the story is written extremely well. If you or anyone you know has suffered the loss of a child, this book is perfect and helps to understand that you are not only in your grieving. Beautifully written and highly recommended.

Jacob's List by
Stephanie Grace Whitson is published by Bethany House (2007)


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