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Banned Book Review: Jack

March 20, 2006

74. Jack by A.M. Homes

Reason: Challenged for its rampant profanity and its negative portrayals of characters.

That “rampant profanity” can be summed up in one word.  Faggot.  The word is used repeatedly throughout the book, by numerous characters, and is even scrawled across the locker of the main character.

The book starts off in the typical young adult angst style, with the main character’s parents divorcing.  Having never read a summary of the book, and having no idea why is might have been banned, the book seemed well written, but no different from a hundred other teen drama books.  Right up until I realized where the story was going.  Jack’s dad takes him out for a visitation, and confesses the secret he has been keeping from his son.  Jack’s dad…. is gay.
Jack’s progression from hated of gays to acceptance of his dad and his sexuality is handled well.  Jack matures emotionally a great deal from the boy who beat up on a fellow classmate to a young man who accepts his father’s sexuality, if not necessarily approves of it.  The book shows a range of homosexual relationships, and the three main teenage characters allow the subject to be explored from alternate points of view.  In the end, Jack must comes to terms with the idea of the perfect family, both his own and that of his fellow classmates.

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