Jesus Jackson by James Ryan Daley
Publisher: Poisoned Pencil
About the Author:
When I first saw Jesus, he was standing like a statue on the fifty-yard line of the high school football field, one arm pointed at the goalpost and the other cocked back—fingers curled around an imaginary pigskin, locked at the ready for a pantomimed hail-Mary in the final seconds of a make believe bowl game. It was a glorious moment to behold...at least, that is, until an invisible opponent rushed his offensive line. Jesus had to fake right, spin left, and duck around a pretend tight end to make a harrowing dash for the touchdown. He hit a few straight-arm blocks, pulled some fancy footwork, and half a second later he was jogging across the goal line, spiking the ball, and moonwalking clear from one side of the end zone to the other. Now I know what you’re thinking, but stop right there. And trust me: This guy was totally Jesus. The long, straw-brown hair, straggly beard, gaunt frame, and clear-bright eyes; he was a dead ringer for the son of God. The only difference, as far as I could tell, between the Jesus on the football field and the one hanging on the cross in the school auditorium, was his clothes. The latter wore nearly none, of course, while this one was done up all dapper in a white linen suit, patent leather loafers, and a wide-collared, pastel pink button-down disco shirt, opened just enough to reveal a tuft of flaxen hair and a sparkling gold chain. But before I get too far into this story, I need to stop and explain a couple things to you. First, you need to know that this little run-in with the savior was happening on a cold and dewy Saturday morning, at about nine am. It was the first of September—about fifteen weeks after my fourteenth birthday, roughly three months since my last day of junior high, and exactly two hours after my big brother’s body was found, life- less and broken, at the bottom of a sixty-foot ravine behind St. Soren’s. I don’t want to dwell on this detail too much at the moment (we’ll get into it all later, trust me), but I just thought you ought to know. For perspective. Oh yeah, and another thing: I don’t actually believe in Jesus. Didn’t then, don’t now. Not even a little. So anyway, I watched the old king-of-kings run a victory lap around the track—arms raised, hair streaming behind him in the wind—but just as I was about to wander off, he stopped again on the fifty-yard line, waved his left hand high over his head, and called out, “Hey, you!” I looked behind me to see if he was referring to someone else, but no one was there. We met eyes and I pointed to my chest with a shrug. “Yeah, you,” he yelled. “Come on down here, would ya?” I didn’t have anything else to do at the moment (the cops and paramedics wouldn’t let me near the ravine), and to tell you the truth, I was happy for the distraction. So I put my hands in my pockets and strolled all the way down the aisle, through the bleachers, and onto the field. Jesus just stood there, grinning at me more like a salesman than a savior, waiting for me to reach him. And as soon as I stepped onto the grass, he hopped back and began bouncing on his toes, his hands cradling another imaginary football. “All right,” he said, staring down the field. “Go long.” “Excuse me?” “Go long.” “Why?” He started bobbing, weaving, dodging pretend defensemen. “It’s the fourth quarter; we’ve got twelve seconds and we’re down by five. Now go long.” “But you don’t have a real ball.” He shook his head, unimpressed with my logic. “And you aren’t a real wide receiver and this isn’t the real Super Bowl, and I’m not about to get sacked by a real defensive lineman named the Arkansas Annihilator. Don’t be so concerned with reality all the time. Just go long!” I realized that I was not about to beat this guy in an argu- ment. And seeing as how my current options were to go long with Jesus or go back to the crowd of cops and detectives and school administrators and weeping parents and one very dead older brother in a ravine behind the school, I decided on the former. “Fine,” I said. “Fine.” And I ran. I didn’t run very fast, but it felt good to put my body into action, to pump some blood back through all the numbness. I’d been so still and so frozen since the morning, when I first found my mother in the kitchen surrounded by pancakes and bacon and fruit salad and coffee and pastries and juice (she liked to cook when she was upset), and learned that Ryan had apparently fallen while taking a jog after football practice the previous afternoon. But right then, on that field, I could feel my body begin to warm, the sensation returning (just a little) to my limbs. The funny thing is, Jesus must have been hiding a real ball somewhere (though I can’t imagine where) because when I finally made it down around the ten-yard line and turned to make the imaginary catch, I got smacked clear off my feet by a solid, real, and perfectly spiraling football. The pass hit me right beneath the rib cage, knocking the wind out of me. I fell hard and gasped for air. My eyes shut while I struggled to catch my breath and when I finally opened them, there was Jesus, standing straight over me, reaching a hand down to help me up. “Sorry about that,” he said, hoisting me to my feet. “I was just trying to make a point.” I rubbed my chest and winced. “I get it. You’ve got one hell of an arm. You could go pro.” “That wasn’t exactly my point.” He extended his right hand. “I’m Jesus.” I shook it. “I figured. It’s a good look for you. You really pull it off.” Jesus tugged at his lapel. “Well, thank you.” “Aren’t you supposed to wear, like...robes, though? And sandals? And, you know, do things more holy then mess around on a football field?” “No,” he chuckled, pulling a business card from his pocket. “You’ve got me mixed up. I’m not that Jesus. I’m Jesus Jackson.” He handed me the card. I looked it over. It read: Jesus Jackson: Spiritual Contractor 100% faith guaranteed! Call for a FREE ESTIMATE!
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2 print copies of Jesus Jackson open to US onlya Rafflecopter giveaway
The Tour Schedule:
Elizabeth Delana Rosa – Promo Post
Sleeps on Tables – Review
WTF Are You Reading? - Review
Adventures in Reading – Promo Post
For the Love – Promo Post
Totally Bookalicious – Guest Post
Bookworm in Barrie – Promo Post
Cassandra M’s Place – Interview
All My Book Finds - Review
Simply Me – Guest Post
The Book Lovers’ Lounge – Guest Post
Blissful Book Reviews – Review
Little Miss Trainwreck – Review
I feel the need, the need to read – Review
YaReads - Interview
Having a crisis of faith? Maybe you need to have a little talk with Jesus.... not that Jesus, Jesus Jackson. After all he guarantees he can find you faith and he even offers free estimates.
Jonathan Stiles is a typical 14 year old kid, he and his brother Ryan convince themselves that God isn't real so Jonathan doesn't believe in the other Jesus, but after his brother Ryan is found dead at the bottom a of a ravine and he meets Jesus Jackson he starts looking for answers once again. This time it's answers to Ryan's death.
You're gonna wanna see how his journey goes. This book has such unique characteristics. I'd never really read anything like it. And to me that's such a rare quality it makes me want to read it again and again. James has the guts to go where most books don't, I mean how many have you seen use blasphemy and stress that the main characters are atheists and be a really good read? I found one, in Jesus Jackson.
I would recommend it to others any day. And I would suggest that those that would be inclined to judge it based on the religion content, stop and read it first. I think you'll find that a lot of teenagers go through a crisis of faith and that it may give you an honest view of what they think and how they see things during this time.
If you take out the religious things and focus no the rest you'll still find believable characters, an interesting story line, and just a really good book.