Author: Emil Ostrovski
Category: Young Adult
Publisher: Greenwillow Books
Release Date: 9-24-13
On the morning of his eighteenth birthday, philosophy student and high school senior Jack Polovsky is somewhat seriously thinking of suicide when his cell phone rings. Jack’s ex-girlfriend, Jess, has given birth, and Jack is the father. Jack hasn’t spoken with Jess in about nine months—and she wants him to see the baby before he is adopted. The new teenage father kidnaps the baby, names him Socrates, stocks up on baby supplies at Wal-Mart, and hits the road with his best friend, Tommy, and the ex-girlfriend. As they head to Grandma’s house (eluding the police at every turn), Jack tells baby Socrates about Homer, Troy, Aristotle, the real Socrates, and the Greek myths—because all stories spring from those stories, really. Even this one. Funny, heart-wrenching, and wholly original, this debut novel by Emil Ostrovski explores the nature of family, love, friendship, fate, fatherhood, and myth. – Goodreads
The first thing that I liked about this book was that it is told as story from a father to his son. I am always a big fan of this vehicle for storytelling, but it’s not one I see a lot in contemporary YA. It is a bit farfetched in its inception, especially if you’ve ever been in a maternity ward. What I found realistic, though, was Jack. Jack knows he’s going to be a dad, but is so overwhelmed and separated from the idea of being a father, that it’s almost like it’s happening to someone else. When circumstances bring him to the hospital, he is confronted with the reality that this tiny child is his. Of course, what he does after that is what sets this whole crazy story in motion. His girlfriend and best friend were just as interesting to read as Jack was. I loved his ex-girlfriends exasperation with him and I loved that she eventually joined them. His best friend was unquestioningly loyal and nothing that Jack told him seemed to dislodge that loyalty.
Throughout the book, Jack is debating with a fictional Socrates (in his own mind) about a wide variety of philosophical subjects, as well as telling his son the Greek myths that he felt gave the best life lessons. Although it suffers a bit from over-density in the middle of the book, Jack transformation into someone who wants to know and love his son, is at the story’s core. Even with all of the complications in their journey, that love is a simple and infinite emotion that cuts through all of the lengthy debates and arguments about what he’s done. Beautifully, because of the way the story is written, you will find out how everything turned out. It was an ending that was realistic and wonderfully done, in my opinion. I’ m not sure this book would be for everyone, but if you are looking for something thought provoking and quirky, I think that you will find that The Paradox Of Vertical Flight is a good match for you.
I received this ARC in exchange for my honest review.
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