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368 pages, Paperback
First published May 22, 2006
In order to accommodate less than a dozen performers, we will now have sixty-four working men sleeping under wagons on the flats. (p 131)You have to figure that any story featuring a character named Jacob should have a ladder, and indeed there are a few, but I did not see any particular heavenly references there. And if one is looking for classical cues, one might find that in Genesis 25:27 the biblical Jacob is a “dweller in tents.” Ok, it’s not much. Is there a parallel with the story of that earlier Jacob? Maybe, but if so it did not really jump out at me.
But on to the book now. In addition to Jacob Jankowski's "love affair" with Rosie the elephant (and a noticeably less sweet affair with Marlena-the-bland-chick) we get a parallel story of Jacob the old guy (who is ninety. Or ninety-three). The latter was the part of the book that I loved. It's a sad story of a cranky old guy in a nursing home who feels his mind and body falling apart but refuses to accept that, and realizes that life is beginning to pass him by. He reminded me of so many elderly patients that I have taken care of in the hospital. Sadness. This is why I did not mind the far-fetched happy ending - hey, old folks don't always have enough happiness in their lives, and they have earned it!
Drum roll: Rosie the elephant works better than Ex-Lax!