As a boy, author Jack Rose had always been told that he was the replacement son for his parents who lost their 12-year-old son Jack before he was born. Two years to the minute that Jack died, John Rose was born. In his autobiography, Thanks Jack: In Need of a Miracle, Rose guides the reader through the life of a replacement child which chronicles from his family history from before he was born to age 17. Along the way, he provides instances that he showed how the older brother that he never met but was always close to stayed with him to create sometimes much needed miracles throughout his life.

The book reads like a novel, but despite the miracles that occur, it depicts a typical American childhood led by a boy growing up in the 40’s and 50’s in Springfield, Massachusetts. The youngest of seven children, including the boy who died, he gets used to change at an early age and adjusts accordingly as he watches his two older brothers go off to serve in World War II, witness his siblings get married and move away, and later see his father fight and later succumb to cancer. In between, John (as he was called due to his mother not allowing anyone to call him Jack) spends his summers fishing, building forts, and climbing trees. During his school days, he sweats over making passing grades and later straight A’s. As he grows older, his activities grow more sophisticated. At age 10 he gets his first job as a paperboy, and he later goes to work in a garage helping to restore old cars for 50 cents an hour. The reader learns of his sharp business sense, fearlessness, and hard working nature.

At the same time, it is shown that John clearly does not have a typical life. The plot runs like a heart monitor, with peaks of miracles escalating throughout the author’s journey into adulthood. The spacing and severity of each ordeal varies. His first encounter with Jack’s presence begins at age six when John is given the courage to sing an encore onstage at a church minstrel after being laughed offstage during the first number. Out of nowhere he thanks Jack for getting him through the song which ultimately redeems him from his previous embarrassment. The pattern continues as John gets himself into both life threatening occurrences and minor altercations. The author never tries to force the reader to believe in Jack’s presence, but each miracle helps to confirm what John already knows. At the same time, the number and severity of ordeals that Rose survives through continues to amaze from beginning to end.

Some stories are life threatening such as his near drowning at the lake as a teen and a climactic car accident as the story’s end. Other help from Jack is displayed in smaller mishaps such as the miraculous overnight healing of his girlfriend’s sunburn to keep her parents from finding out she had skipped school with him. John credits Jack exclusively for getting him out of each of these close calls with minor if any consequences.

Rose’s narration paints a detailed picture of his hometown which is necessary in order to keep up with John as he bounces from one place to the next. The black-and-white photographs littered throughout the pages help to chronicle his shift from a family-centered childhood to a work-driven adolescence. The motivation for writing his story seems to be more to show not how his childhood shaped him for adulthood but what force aided in allowing him to survive to adulthood. Rose’s style is simple and plot-driven. He puts the reader in Jack’s perspective so that they’re always with John, even looking down on him, hoping that he won’t need to be saved again. A person can only have so many chances in life, but this rule obviously doesn’t apply to Jack Rose.

To purchase a copy of Thanks, Jack: In Need of a Miracle contact:

Jack Rose

P.O. Box 2050

Conway, NH 03818

800-249-9751

e-mail: jack@consultec-mwv.com

Buy directly using PayPal or click on www.amazon.com. Price: $19.95

Black Channel Press

www.blackchannelpress.com

 

 

 

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