Sunday, November 04, 2012

REVIEW: There are Reasons Noah Packed No Clothes

Title: There are Reasons Noah Packed No Clothes  
Author: Robert Jacoby
Genre: fiction
Price: $12.95 paperback / $6.99 Kindle
Publisher: Cloud Books       
ISBN: 978-0983969709
Point of Sale: Amazon
Reviewed by: Chris Gerrib

A while back, I reviewed Robert Jacoby’s first book-length nonfiction effort, Escaping Reality Without Really Trying.  Based on that review, Mr. Jacoby asked me to review his first novel, There are Reasons Noah Packed No Clothes, and I agreed to do so.  I found the book an interesting read.

Noah is the story of Richard Issych, a nineteen-year-old boy who tries to kill himself with an overdose of Quaaludes.  It doesn’t work, and he wakes up in a mental ward.  The story then becomes how Richard deals with his fellow inmates, his doctor and his parents.  This being the 1980s, his parents are still somewhat ashamed of mental illness, and their reactions to their son’s suicide attempt reflect that.

This book is a classic example of “literary fiction” – the story is a slice of life, focusing on one rather ordinary character’s reactions to a not-terribly-unusual set of circumstances.  This is not my typical cup of tea, and I am not at all happy with the way Jacoby chooses to end the book.  However, I found the story engaging, well-written and generally interesting.

Richard, the protagonist and narrator, is in many ways a typical struggling teenager.  He does have more problems than most in that he is suffering from clinical depression, something that was not diagnosed until his suicide attempt.  I found his reactions to being stuck in the asylum with the “crazies” (his term) both believable and sympathetic.  I also found his fellow inmates to be interesting and internally consistent. 

Jacoby, the author, does a good job of portraying a man who doesn’t see himself as crazy becoming sane while dealing with other crazy people.  This made the book well worth the read.  I ended up caring about not just Richard but his parents and the other inmates, which is a neat trick to pull on an action / SF reader like me.  Like I said, I didn’t like the ending at all, but it was fair and consistent with what had happened up to that point.


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