“I have so much love for you… for us… I am overcome with this feeling that just one life will not be enough to give to you… and forever won’t nearly be long enough to spend with you.” – Steve Maraboli
Title: John & Jackie
Author: TJ Klune
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Pages/Word Count: 122 Pages
Rating: 5 Stars
Blurb: 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.
Review: “I could feel the rapid beat of the heart in his chest and I thought, you best beat forever. You best keep going on and on and on. And if there’s one day you can’t beat no more, may my heart follow you into whatever may come.”
When you are twelve, “forever” is a very long time and the rash promises you make can wear thin over time. When you are eighteen and the world is open before you, “forever” can seem cumbersome and it takes a magical kind of love to keep you tethered to it. When you are eighty-three, forever is no longer a time that exists in this earthly realm; rather it is a whispered promise, a furtive and frightened plea that the one you love will find you again and remain with you forever.
I wish I could give you a more “professional” review of this sweet novella, John & Jackie, but, alas, I truly cannot. This was such an emotional read, a tearing apart of your heart and pasting it back together kind of read, and I cannot go lightly into the normal catchphrases and critical elements that would typically be uttered when saying a novella is great. No, rather I can tell you that you should grab a box of tissues and get ready to ride this one out. That on page after page of this story, there is so much hope and so much love that should you know even the tiniest bit about this author’s private life, you will see pieces of it played out in this sweet tale.
Two boys find one another. One, John, is abused and beaten at home by a drunken, raging father who has run his wife off and is left lonely and bitter. This boy is fierce in his own right and yet when he sets eyes on his Jackie, the world tilts and then rights itself, and John knows this is the one for him. It takes Jackie just a tad bit longer to come to that same understanding. The son of a Preacher and his wife, Jackie is slow to realize that John is his soul mate. But when Jackie finally understands, then these two young boys begin a 71-year love affair that if looked at correctly, never really ends. Instead, it goes on forever.
This novella is a series of memories told on a deathbed by an old man who lovingly whispers them aloud to his dying spouse. This story is poignant, emotional, searing, and unforgettable. It tells us that every once in a while something aligns in the universe and brings two people together who will love through thick and thin and never regret a moment of their life together. This is true love at its best and most difficult, and TJ Klune presents it with an unflinching gaze that bores right into your soul.
I wish I could be objective and tell you more specifics about this story. I wish I could, in many ways, change the ending. And yet…there is joy there in the gloaming of their lives. There is such peace and such happiness. So, no, I suppose I would not change a thing. So, that leaves only this: I highly recommend TJ Klune’s John & Jackie. This is a story not to be missed.
You can buy John & Jackie here: