To keep with the theme of parents who think their children are psychopaths, Finding Jake fit in perfectly! I probably sound like a psychopath myself for reading about this, but I always wonder what parents think when their child is convicted of committing a heinous crime. I admit I hesitated before putting this on my “to read” shelf because the premise revolved around a school shooting. Rather than focus on the details of the actual shooting, Bryan Reardon used that all too common tragedy as the catalyst to delve into the mind of Jake’s father, Simon.
When Jake was suspected as one of the shooters Simon examined how he raised Jake and whether there were any warning signs of Jake’s propensity for violence. The chapters rotated between the present, where Simon was caught up in the aftermath of the shooting, and the past, which was used to provide the background for each member of Simon’s family. Some of the background stories were pretty bland. They neither showed Jake as a weirdo or as normal kid. I suppose that ambiguity was supposed to keep the reader guessing as to his guilt, but instead I started to loose interest in reading about Jake and his family engaging in mundane activities. Much of the plot in the present used the chaos that unfolded after the shooting, which meant there was more speculation than facts in those sections. Those chapters highlighted Simon’s fear of what his son had been capable of and Simon came across as a devoted father who was genuinely distraught over the situation. Still, at times, Simon and the other characters became too whiny, and their words and behavior was too emotional.
I was invested while I was reading and wanted to see whether Jake was the evil monster the media made him out to be, but by the end I just wanted to finish the book.