Book Reviews,  Books

Not Your Ordinary Dystopia

Title: J
Howard Jacobson
“You don’t need to have your eyes open to see things.”
Would recommend to:
someone who likes to create his or her own story.

“J” is an interesting book. It’s different from any other book I’ve read, and I’ve read a lot of books, especially dystopian novels. But interesting does not mean bad.

As you may have gathered from my “little thoughts” post about “J,” I learned a lot while reading it. Not just vocabulary or about different writing styles but about myself and my reading preferences.

I liked “J,” I liked it a lot actually. But it was very hard for me to read due to its style. Jacobson leaves a lot to the imagination. If you like novels with clear-cut explanations and solid conclusions, I challenge you to read “J.” Prior to reading this book, I liked those same things, but after telling myself to slow down and read between the lines, I learned to appreciate what a book like this has to offer.

It’s not everyday that you get to make your own story among the pages of a book. With “J” you have the freedom to make up WHAT HAPPENED IF IT HAPPENED and you get to choose why the letter “j” is so taboo. It’s these choices that make the story yours. And while these plot lines lack a solid explanation, it really doesn’t detract from the story line.

In my “little thoughts” post I mentioned that this novel was definitely not written by an American, by that I was referring to the lack of a definitive answer to readers questions. Despite the clear indications in language choice, this novel is very much un-American. It’s just deeper and more user-involved than any other novel I have read. It reminded me slightly of “The Giver” by Lois Lowry (which I will review soon) that also has a very open ending similar to a lot of plot lines in “J,” but “J” really does stand out on its own in my opinion.

“J” was a finalist for the Man Booker Prize in 2014, and I can see why. With it’s dynamic, unique love story and creative compilation style, this book stands out on the shelf as a thought-provoking, moving piece of work.

Happy reading,


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