When Althea Leary abandons her nine-year-old son, Jasper, he’s left on his uncle’s farm with nothing but a change of clothes and a Bible.
It’s 1952, and Jasper isn’t allowed to ask questions or make a fuss. He’s lucky to even have a home and must keep his mouth shut and his ears open to stay in his uncle’s good graces. No one knows where his mother went or whether she’s coming back. Desperate to see her again, he must take matters into his own hands. From the farm, he embarks on a treacherous search that will take him to the squalid hideaways of Detroit and back again, through tawdry taverns, peep shows, and gambling houses.
As he’s drawn deeper into an adult world of corruption, scandal, and murder, Jasper uncovers the shocking past still chasing his mother—and now it’s chasing him too.
This book made me think of To Kill a Mockingbird. Perhaps not so much the story in itself, but, the fact that the narrator, Jasper, is only a child that abruptly has to face some serious issues when his mother leaves him at his uncle's farm. Just as Scout in To Kill a Mockingbird had to face racism and injustice Jasper comes face to face with the world where grown-ups are not always good. Jasper just can't understand why his mother has left him, and he tries the best he can to figure out why his mother left him and if she is coming back.
I have previously read another book, The Dead Key by Pulley, and it was an OK book. However, this book managed to really hook me from the start. I think having the past story of his mother growing up revealed through her diary was perfect for the story and throughout the story could one really feel how Jesper desperately tried to find out what happened to his mother. The life on the farm isn't bad, but is's not the world he is accustomed to and to make matters worse, the police seem to be looking for his mother as well. Could it be that she has done something bad?
I really felt for Jasper as I read the book. The grown-ups world is dangerous and it's not always easy for him to understand things. He is only nine and he misses his mom. His father is searching for her, but he thinks it's best that Jasper is staying at the farm and there Jasper has a good new home, with his cousin and his family. But, finding his mother's diary gives him clues to her fast and perhaps even clues to how to find her. But, there seems to be danger lurking as well the more he investigates his mother's disappearance.