I was contacted by David Naiman to read his book “Jake the Lucid Dreamer,” and I picked it up on Kindle Unlimited. This book is not a very long novel, but I found for the size, it packs a serious emotional punch.
I know when I was a young girl that I struggled with two things in Highschool that stuck with me through life. Primarily, the grieving of a family member who died abruptly, even though said family member struggled. For me, that was my grandfather, whom I loved dearly but died of kidney disease when I was 16.
“Jake the Lucid Dreamer” and is about a twelve-year-old boy named Jake, and he is dealing with a life of pain and anger. Sadly he has lost his mother, and he is struggling with memory repression as well as suffering from the memories he does have. There are a lot of aspects in the book that took me back to when I was 16, but there are other things that I felt a lot later when grieving over miscarriages. Grief is one of the most painful experiences that we live with as humans. Grieving is especially difficult for children, I know, I grieved a lot. But this novel that David Naiman asked me to read helped me to understand coping with changes that children go through when grief is so real.
Let me go into a critique and specifically, under “Story Structure, Foundation, and Presentation,” there was a bit of an issue that I had with foundation work. Specifically, I didn’t feel that the father character was fleshed out well enough at the beginning. Don’t get me wrong, he eventually is filled in well, but some aspects never are answered. Such as, who is the lady he was dating? Why was he comfortable enough to even date? Why wasn’t he comfortable enough with talking it out more with the kids? Why is he such a push-over when it comes to some things (this is excluding the List issue that arises in later). It’s just little things that I feel like any kid could answer about a parent and what they are doing. Jake’s first-person view makes some things impossible to have first-party knowledge about, but there are just tiny things I felt were not fleshed out enough on such a central character until almost to the very end.
With that said, let me go into what I enjoyed about “Jake the Lucid Dreamer,” and we start with “Whole Story.” The entire story was done well, and the actual portions of the story from the first act through the third are laid out well. I can see it was plotted in such a way to slowly leave layers of exposition but also not bombard anyone with pacing issues. I found this a well-told story, aside from one character’s back story issue as mentioned above, and it was very satisfying at the end.
My next bit of praise comes in the category of “Story Structure, Foundation, and Presentation,” and in this case, we go into “Story Structure.” The well-done editing was lovely, and I found, the punctuation and grammar were exceptional, and I enjoyed how the layout was. I liked the default settings on Kindle, and it was an enjoyable experience. Overall great job with spot and story editing.
In the “Cliche Much” category, though this is about pre-teens, there isn’t anything cliche I found. Yes, there is a bully situation, and it is written brilliantly with real-world consequences and a satisfying ending. Yes, there is a cute thing with a budding crush, and I found that it also managed uniquely. So while there are tropes that find themselves in other pre-teen fictions, I did not find anything clunky or used with a lazy hand. I also found the dialogs of the characters to sound like middle schoolers. I happen to know some, and I have to listen to them on occasion, and it seems like what they’d talk like to me.
Overall, this was an excellent book. I think if you have a kid who is going through a hard time with grief, you should consider getting this for them. I’m not sure they would open up to it, but I think the way the dreams handle the grieving and believing in one’s self, fixes a lot of the old hurts I had. If you know someone who needs something like this to get through grieving, please consider this book to help them.
And I’m happy to say with my scoring that “Jake the Lucid Dreamer” has earned a score of 95/100 which is a five-star review on Goodreads and Amazon.