JOHN & JACKIE by TJ Klune
Details: Received from Dreamspinners Press
Through Love Romances and More
“John and Jackie first laid eyes on each other when they were twelve years old. Now, seventy-one years later, Jack prepares to give his beloved husband the ultimate gift. Before he does, they'll relive five key moments from their younger lives together over the course of a single afternoon. From their first meeting and first kiss to the violence of an abusive father and the heartache of growing up, these moments have defined who they have become. As sunset approaches, John will show the depths of his love for the one man who has made him whole: his Jackie. They'll soon learn there is no force more powerful than their devotion to one another.”
This book, so beautiful it was all I could not to race through it.
This book - I knew how it was going to end - and it was all I could do to keep on reading because I didn’t ever want to get to that ending.
This is the most beautiful of love stories. Two boys meet aged 12 and stay together for the rest of their lives. Because they love each other. Because they don’t need anyone else.
“No one else will call you that like I do. No one ever will. You hear that name and you’ll know it’s coming from me.” – John
John and Jackie’s story is shared in vignettes. We get glimpses of pivotal moments in their relationship. We’re there when they meet, for their first kiss, and when things almost go horribly wrong. We are present when they give each other the biggest gifts and we are present at the end, when after 70 years together John and Jackie have to say goodbye.
This story and the characters in it teeter on the edge of too good, too sentimental and too sweet a lot of the time. The fact that it never got too much is testament to TJ Klune’s writing skill.
“My name on his lips has always been my faith.” - Jackie
This book deals with a topic very close to my heart; the right to make our own decision about the time we die and the right of others to help us carry out our wish if we’re no longer able to do it for ourselves. The turmoil Jackie goes through as the end creeps ever closer was palatable. Jackie’s dilemma is heartbreakingly clear in this story. He doesn’t want the love of his life to suffer and hates seeing him in pain so the road ahead is clear, except that Jackie can’t imagine a life without John after seventy years together.
“I still have days and weeks and months and years of things I need to say to him.” – Jackie
This book made me smile, laugh and cry. But even when I cried it was with a small smile on my face. It was impossible to not get charmed by the love between John and Jackie, even when that love lead to the most difficult action in Jackie’s life.
This was my first book by TJ Klune and I have to say I’m mightily impressed. I clearly have some serious catching up to do.
I want to add that for me it was impossible to read this book and not reflect on the medical nightmare TJ Klune and his partner Eric Arvin find themselves in. It gave this story added poignancy.
I guess my feelings about this book are best summarized as follows:
“Some books you read.
Some books you enjoy
But some books just swallow you up,
Heart and soul.”
– Joanne Harris