Through the Looking Glass Children's Book Reviews

Jake's Tower

Jake's Tower

For ages 12 and up
Pan Macmillan, 2017   ISBN: 978-1509826711

It is hard to believe sometimes but in homes and apartments all over the world family members are living in fear of one of their own. Often their misery is hidden from the eyes of the world, sometimes for years. This is what happens to Jake, whose mother’s boyfriend beats him up regularly. Jake’s solution is to find a hiding place near his house where he can have a few moments of peace and security. He also creates a hiding place in his mind; in his imagination. His hiding place is a tower on an island where he and his mother can be safe and happy.

In this extraordinary book the author has managed to make a very painful and uncomfortable subject accessible. As the story progresses, Jake’s situation finally starts to improve, and the tower in his imagination becomes less and less important. In the end, Jake’s own new and real-life bedroom is quite enough of a refuge for him, and the tower is no longer needed. Every small step that Jake and his mother make towards recovery and a better life feels like a triumph, and these steps give the reader hope that even lost souls like Jake can find a place where they can be safe and happy.

Probably the most important thing about this unique book is that it opens up a dark cupboard that most of us would prefer to pretend does not exist. We don’t want to think about children who are subjected to abuse, and yet such children are all around us. We need to acknowledge such issues and confront them head on, offering our support and compassion to people like Jake and his mother.