Always Jack is a stand alone book, and also the 3rd book in the I Am Jack series.
Always Jack, like Super Jack and I Am Jack is funny, real, and a kid like you.
Jack battled bullies at his school and won.
In Super Jack, Jack faced the challenges of a newly blended family and a personal sort of bullying as Jack and his step-brother-to-be Leo work out their new relationship.
Now, in Always Jack, Jack faces more challenges. When his mother gets sick, Jack has to find out what family means and who he wants to be.
Life is complex. Nanna is older and wobblier than ever. Jack is experiencing strange emotions whenever he sees his best friend Anna. Then there’s Mum and Rob’s impending wedding, which is on hold while Mum is treated for breast cancer. Jack misses his Grandad who is his hero. Grandad received medals from the Vietnam War. Jack’s friend Christopher’s parents were refugees from Vietnam and Jack discovers what war, friendship and family mean.
Always Jack is real
Susanne Gervay is a multiple breast cancer survivor who wrote Always Jack for her kids and other children and families to laugh, live their lives, support each other, feel safe and inclusive.
‘Susanne Gervay’s Always Jack makes it safe for children, parents and the wider community to talk about cancer’ The Cancer Council NSW
“Part survival manual, part therapy, part autobiography, part fiction, Always Jack succeeds in distilling a complex medical conditions for young readers to digest.
Beautiful, sad, funny – Always Jack will make you laugh and make you cry. Guaranteed. Carrying the NSW Cancer Council’s stamp of approval, Jack’s story will stay with readers always.’” Aleesah Darlison, Review Sun Herald
Susanne Gervay’s father, inspired the Grandad in the I Am Jack series. He’d been through war and communism. He was a refugee who lost everything to start his life again with his family in a democratic country.
Susanne grew up during the Vietnam War and saw the impact of ‘boys’ being conscripted to fight in Vietnam; Vietnamese refugees who fled to Australia, USA and other countries. The powerful Kim Phuc photo of a 9 year old girl fleeing from napalm bombs in Nick Ut’s 1972 Pultizer Prize winning anti-war photo impacted on her deeply.
This became translated into the story of Christopher and Jack and how they worked out the impact of the Vietnam War and war generally on their friendship and who they are.
What people are saying
‘Talking to Kids About Cancer’ on ABC Radio National:-
Sex and drugs have always been difficult topics to address with young children. But what about cancer?
Susanne Gervay has been in this situation more than once battling bouts of breast cancer and other tumours.
Her new book Always Jack deals with how to help children cope when their parents are diagnosed with cancer.Listen to Audio
Cancer Council’s Dr V Milch critiqued Always Jack, gaining approval from the medical researchers and teams working with breast cancer:-
“Written from the perspective of a boy, Always Jack is engaging and enjoyable to read. It weaves accurate detailed clinical information into a children’s style, in an easy to read, educational, empathic and understandable manner. Impressively, it covers many aspects of a woman’s experience with breast cancer, including:
- Screening mammograms
- The triple test: Diagnostic mammogram and ultrasound, biopsy
- Hormonal treatment
- Men and breast cancer
- Psychosocial implications for the child – fear of losing his mother , of things not being “normal”
The message of the novel is hopeful and encouraging …. using humour to sensitively appeal to a child about a difficult subject.”
“Susanne Gervay has written another cracker. Her prose is tight, funny and engaging. Written in the present tense, the story has an immediacy that transports the reader right into the room with Jack. Gervay has a track record for tackling some difficult subject matters. This time around she delves into cancer, blended families and the Vietnam War. She does so, however with alacrity and sensitivity, drawing the reader in to Jack’s internal world, to experience his emotional ups and downs with him.
The book deals with loss, death, ageing, fears, friendship, community and hope. It is about pulling together and resilience in the face of doubt. Susanne writes about ordinary life with humour and a freshness that makes this book a delight to read.”