Jackson: … Love & Hope is a poignant narrative that explores mental illness in a family. Life has been difficult for Jackson from an early age when he experienced strong bouts of anger. The story follows his struggle with mental illness as he grows up. While determined to change, he feels stuck with moments of depression, those moments when everything becomes unbearable. He takes steps to release the pain through running, enrolling in college, and getting a job. While Jackson struggles with his pain, his mother, June, shares his agony. Can the support of his loving mother, June, and Craig, his father, help him to find strength and healing?
Lynn McLaughlin has crafted a moving tale that reflects the pain and reality that millions of people are confronted with across the world. She writes deftly about what mental illness does to a family and allows readers to watch as mother and son navigate painful experiences and Jackson’s uncharted mindscapes. Readers encounter a growing young man who struggles with thoughts of being different, suicide, and anger. It is frustrating to notice that even drugs and alcohol can’t assuage the pain he experiences in his humanity. The pathos is irresistible, the psychological and emotional character of the story spellbinding. Told through the voices of June and Jackson, Jackson: … Love & Hope explores mental illness and how it changes a family and it does so in a way that is bold and fascinating.
June and Jackson are characters that readers will root for; they are elaborately written and their inner worlds are captured with fascinating detail. The author pays attention to every emotion, thought, and action and allows readers to name them properly in the world of the characters. Lynn McLaughlin’s characters are deeply and genuinely flawed; they are authentic and psychologically rich. While the novel is gripping and utterly entertaining, it provokes strong reflection in the readers, challenging them to redefine the way they treat people with mental illnesses or those going through difficult moments in life. The prose is dazzling and the author has a natural gift of exploring emotions in her characters that resonate powerfully in readers. It is a page-turning story that will bring tears to your eyes and stir some of the emotions you are hardly aware you have; it is thoughtful, deftly plotted, and beautifully paced.