Book Review: Jake’s 88 by Sean Munger


It’s 1988. Jake Doyle is a teenager growing up in the U.S. Midwest, his days centering around smoking, heavy metal tapes and skipping high school classes. When he develops a crush on his best friend’s girlfriend, the alluring but troubled Stacey O’Shaugnessy, a chain reaction begins that threatens to unravel Jake’s insular world–-and it also forces him to grow up a lot faster than he anticipated. 

Get your acid-washed jeans out of the closet, dust off your Walkman headphones and figure out where you left the keys to the Pontiac Fiero–the Eighties are about to have their revenge! 

They say don’t judge a book by its cover. Okay. But I do judge a book by the way its opening lines. And, my, oh my, this book has the right opening lines.

Facts. Lots of them. The kind of facts that make me want to read more.

Do you know how the world was like on the 31st of December 1987?

Me neither.

Anyway. As you know from my previous reviews, I’m not into dissecting plots and whatnot, because I am not in the business of sharing spoilers.

What I like (or not) about a book or movie has to do with the vibe it transmits, with the way the story itself flows, and the way the dialogue fits within the ecosystem of the plot.

This book?

Well, this is quite perfect.

What I mean by that?

Jake’s 88 does what it attempts to do, without making me feel like there’s something to add or remove. It makes for a fast read, but enjoyable at the same time. This novel does a wonderful job at describing a world that I never got a chance to experience, and one that is never coming back, and for this reason, this is a must read. Or maybe you are nostalgic about the eighties, if you’re that old.

Us young folks have to read fantastic works of art such as Jake’s 88 and trust that it was just like that.

Sean Munger is a historian, author, speaker and podcaster. His other books include The Valley of Forever, Zombies of Byzantium, Hotel Himalaya: Three Travel Romances, and the upcoming Eyes of War (with a co-author). His podcast Second Decade deals with the history of the 1810s. He was 16 in 1988.

Also check him out on Patreon here.

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