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Pike, "Jacob’s Journal of Doom: the Good, the Bad, and the Hilarious Life of an Almost-Deacon" (reviewed by Tristi Pin Options · View
jeffneedle
Posted: Wednesday, October 24, 2012 12:26:28 AM

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Review
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Title: Jacob’s Journal of Doom: the Good, the Bad, and the Hilarious Life of an Almost-Deacon
Author: Kenneth Pike
Publisher: Deseret Book
Genre: Middle Grade Fiction
Year Published: 2012
Number of Pages: 208
Binding: Hardcover
ISBN10: n/a
ISBN13: 9781609070168
Price: $14.99

Reviewed by Tristi Pinkston for the Association for Mormon Letters

My kids—most of them—are avid readers. One of my children will only read certain books, on certain days, if the stars are in alignment and his socks aren’t too tight. When I brought "Jacob’s Journal of Doom" into the house, all four children descended upon it like flies on a juicy watermelon.

From the book’s description:

"It's not easy being eleven. Just ask Jacob Young. He has big plans to create the best video game ever, but between church, Scouts, and his family, Jacob is having a tough time.

"Things are rough at school, too. The Beast bullies Jacob at lunch, and Jenny Hayes calls him a baby in front of everyone.

"It's a good thing Jacob still has his best friend, Eric, by his side. But would they still be friends if Jacob invited Eric to Scouts? Or even to church?"

"'Jacob's Journal of Doom'" records the ups and downs of Jacob's life—the good, the bad, and the hilarious."

This book is very much like "Diary of a Wimpy Kid," and yet, as my son said, “It’s a lot better.” We see Jacob go through trials that are pretty typical of all kids—teasing at school, fear of rejection—and we see him grow through those experiences. We also see him go through trials that are unique to the LDS culture—wanting to invite someone to church, but not having quite enough courage. I really liked this seamless blending of kid culture and LDS culture to create a story that reaches out to our children and addresses their circumstances as kids who live the gospel every day while facing peer pressure in the outside world.

I asked my kids what they thought about the book, and every one of them enjoyed it. My children range in ages from 16–7, and there was something in there for everyone. My 16-year-old is an artist, and she enjoyed checking out the illustrations as provided by Isaac Stewart. My boys enjoyed the humor, and of course the mentions of video games. They love video games.

If you’re looking for a great read for your kids that doesn’t contain objectionable content and reaches where they are as LDS children, I would say that this one should be on your “must read” list.
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