September 16, 2015

Book Review: The Perfect Comeback of Caroline Jacobs by Matthew Dicks

Caroline Jacobs has always been wimpy. She's mostly happy in her life, but she lets her husband (or coworkers, or friends, or daughter) make the big decisions, and she quietly acquiesces. Until the day when the bullying president of the PTA goes one step too far, and Caroline tells her off. Emboldened by this maneuver, the next day Caroline shocks her daughter, Polly, by taking her out of school to head off on a spontaneous road trip from Delaware to Massachusetts to confront an old friend. Twenty years earlier, Emily humiliated her, and Caroline realizes that she's been a pushover ever since.

She wants to stand up for herself at last, but will a lifetime of giving in catch up to her? Does she have the backbone to confront Emily and explain how the repercussions of Emily's actions have lingered for 20 years?

The Perfect Comeback of Caroline Jacobs is a fairly lighthearted look at some deep topics: bullying, personality and the influence our words and actions can have on others. Fully of quirky characters, including Polly, a brash, slightly punk, super intelligent teenager; Caroline's oddball mother; and her mother's blind boyfriend, The Perfect Comeback of Caroline Jacobs is an excellent, fast read. Matthew Dicks (Unexpectedly Milo, Memoirs of an Imaginary Friend) has created a likable, quotidian heroine; readers who like an underdog, or who had socially traumatic incidents of their own as teenagers, will be rooting for Caroline to get her revenge.

I was surprised how much I enjoyed this book. I wasn't really bullied in school, but I did have some awkward social experiences, and I could really relate to some of what Caroline and Polly share with each other. It's a pretty short book too, so it's perfect if you want a light, fast sort of read.

Can YOU relate?

I originally wrote most of this review for Shelf Awareness