Today I’m excited to participate in the Blog Tour of ‘If Jack Had’ by Steven Rappaport. ‘If Jack Had’ is a contemporary fiction and Steven Rappaport’s debut novel.
About the Book:
Jack is a Pulitzer Prize-winning New York Times journalist with a secret second job. Since he was a smart-ass grad student slinking around New York’s Upper West Side and Brighton Beach, he’s been working as an assassin for the Russian mob.
Beginning at the end – that is, with an aged, incontinent, and at last truly alone Jack, his mind made up that tomorrow will be the first day he kills someone he loves: himself – If Jack Had [Black Rose Writing, June 4 2015] tells his story in rearview, providing an all-access-pass into the enviable, high-flying life he clear-cut for himself against all odds…and the (literal) trail of dead he left along the way.
The debut novel from sixty-eight-year-old Manhattan author Steve Rappaport, If Jack Had is, much like its protagonist, more than meets the eye. A caper comedy featuring sex and drugs, blasphemy and blood, far-flung exotic locales and all the other stuff that makes for good, not-so-clean fun, If Jack Had also happens to have a big, beating heart. Beneath the surface, it’s a meditation on family, fatherhood, the indignities of aging, the inevitability of loneliness, and the preciousness of life itself.
This book is available at Amazon, Barnes & Noble and Black Rose Writing. 'If Jack Had' will also be available at brick-and-mortar bookstores as of June 4, 2015.
A view weeks ago I received ‘If Jack Had’ in exchange for my honest review. This book sounded very different than my usual reads, but somehow the book description sounded very interesting and I decided to give it a try.
In ‘If Jack Had’ we meet Jack, a man in his nighties and on the end of his life. Jack has had a very different life than most. He spend his life working to two totally different jobs. Jack is a journalist and an assassin for the Brighton Beach Russian Mobsters. His wife and his four children have no idea of his double life. And that is exactly how Jack likes it. Jack is not your average assassin. Jack really is a kind and loving man, who would give everything for his wife and family. But Jack really loved his job as an assassin. Jack is the kind of guy who’s better in killing someone, than to make a simple request.
In ‘If Jack Had’, we go through Jack’s life, his kills, his travels, his life as a child with ignorant parents and his life as an old man tired of life.
Like I said before ‘If Jack Had’ is a very different read for me than my normal reads. But I’m glad I tried this book because it really was a fun read. It’s totally different than what I’m used to, but I really liked the way Steven Rappaport wrote this book. This book is fun, a little weird but it also makes you want to keep reading. I read this book in one day, because I just had to read more about how a guy became an assassin and still seemed to be the perfect dad and husband.
This book starts at the end, when Jack is in his nighties, and with each chapter we get more and more to the beginning of his life. But there are some parts about Jack’s early childhood throughout this book. Although this is a very interesting thing about this book, it also made it a little hard for me to keep track of everything all the time. But thankfully, it always became clear where we were in Jack’s life.
‘If Jack Had’ was definitely a read out of my comfort zone, but I really enjoyed it and would definitely recommend it to other readers out there, looking for something different. I promise you, Steven Rappaport has this way of writing that even makes a romance/ fantasy/ paranormal book lover like me enjoy it. It has to be a good book if he was able to do that!! ;)
Guest post from Steve Rappaport, author of If Jack Had, on the subject of “How did you become a writer?”
I was always verbal. Story telling came easily to me. My father was an angry, repressive, accusatory man. I was an active, rebellious kid. It was quite a bad match. I was not the child who could do wrong. It seemed to me, that to my father, everything I did was wrong. My earliest memories involved trying to talk my way out of trouble by inventing stories. It didn’t work, but it worked my father’s nerves. Watching his anger rise listening to some of my preposterous tales gave me a sense of power. Telling these tales gave me a certain negative control over a frightening man who made my life miserable. That was liberating and enjoyable. The lesson was clear. Words count. They were my weapons to shield me from, and control a hostile environment.
Besides crushing my spirit, my father crushed my writing abilities. He was an autodidact and an exacting grammarian. He preached the strictest interpretation of his Bible, ‘The Elements of Style” Everything I wrote for school had to be submitted to him for review. His criticism took a toll. By High School, the simplest essay assignment became an impossible task. Everything had to be written, rewritten, edited and tightened. What was once fun was now a frightening chore. At a certain point I stopped even trying. For that reason, and a few other discipline issues, I barely finished high school. Not being able to write the required essays, I flunked out of college. Thanks, Dad!
I continued though, to be a natural-born bullshitter. I loved telling tall tales and inventing things on the run. Verbally I had no issues. I had fun with words. When I elaborated and expanded when recalling true events, it wasn’t lying, it was all in the interest of being interesting. However, if asked to put something on paper, I froze.
The advent of the computer and word processing really set me free. I rewrite as I write. This slow process, once so tedious, became incredibly easy. Email gave me daily practice in written communication. Things began to change for me. The more I wrote, the more I wrote. Practice makes perfect. Words had always been my friend, my tool. They came easily when I spoke. And now I was getting my powers back where it counted the most, on the page.
Writing advertising copy for my business became fun and healing. It did not have to be exactingly edited or grammatically correct. It had to be startling and catchy. I enjoyed creating it. The process was liberating. Writing business letters also began to free me from my inhibitions. In 1995 I went back to college at age forty-eight. I took some writing courses at The New School. What I learned I applied to papers required in other courses. I became an A student. After reading something I submitted, an English teacher asked if I were a professional writer. She asked permission to use my essay as a model for future students. Wow, how great that felt.
That’s my story, and I’m sticking to it. Trust me, it’s all true. If you believe it, I have another one for you.
About the Author:
Steven Rappaport, age 68, has been a stock trader, pot dealer, itinerant hippie peddler, cab driver, retailer, and is currently a successful commercial real estate salesperson in Manhattan. He offers a simple rationale for his first novel: “My eldest son, Jack, died at forty from a progressively debilitating, unknown neurological disorder. This brilliant boy, a Vassar grad, never got to live the life he deserved. I’ve infused him with one.”