> SAVING JAKE (2004) | jason jordan

In a nutshell, Ophelia Julien's Saving Jake (New Leaf Books, 2002) focuses on the relationship between Jake Holdridge and Philip Corts. However, the long-lost friend motif is in place as Chapter One unfolds. The reader then discovers that the main characters have been drawn together through unusual circumstances; and, they both rely on the other's characteristics as a means of dependence. Corts, as he is affectionately known, enjoys Jake's artistic endeavors, while Jake is accustomed to Corts reading and writing for hours on end. Eventually, the audience is able to decipher that both individuals are at complete peace when they're in one another's presence, and doing the things they love.

Conversely, Corts has a "gift" that Jake attempts to utilize many times. Corts is wary of fully diving into his talent, but his idiosyncratic trait is ultimately the reason why Jake Holdridge returns after his sabbatical. The story is relayed through a series of flashbacks, while we are continually reminded of the present situation. The two main characters are seemingly the only ones of any importance; the minor characters are basically props, of which some are 2D or 3D if you want to think of it like that.

Essentially, though, Jake and Corts have been brought up in juxtaposed environments and lead very different lives from their counterpart. As mentioned earlier, a phenomenon presents itself and, thus, the two find themselves best friends. The most notable thing about Saving Jake is the "realness" of that said friendship. A great amount of the dialogue not only feels authentic, but sounds like it as well. Some doesn't, but those instances are few and far between. And, the narrative is a gripping tale: one character is going uphill and the other is going downhill. The plot comes to a head and is ended predictably, but there was really no other way to end it ... at least not one I can think of. The fact that you'll reminisce about the novel is one of its strengths. Ulysses it's not, but Julien's full-length is deeper - and more engaging - than it may let on.

Perhaps needless to say, I entered the novel with complacency, but soon after delving into its pages I found that I couldn't shake my sense of curiosity - I simply had to know how it would end.

To order Saving Jake, please visit New Leaf Books.

> BIOGRAPHY | about the author

Indiana writer Jason Jordan has performed at the Old Louisville Coffeehouse and was the winner of Decomposition Magazine's first creative writing contest in July 2004 with his piece, Untitled. His work has recently appeared in The Giles Corey Press.