Who and what is Super Jack?
Super Jack is a stand-alone novel, and also the 2nd book in the I Am Jack series.
Super Jack, like I Am Jack is funny, even hilarious at times. He’s a terrific kid, but he’s got challenges to face like every kid. There’s a new person in Jack’s life– LEO, the son of the sort-of-step-dad Rob. What’s twelve year old Jack supposed to do? His family is just fine with Nanna, Mum, his sister Samantha, Rob and Anna and the Napoli’s nearby. Jack doesn’t want Leo in his bedroom and work-shed. Is Leo taking his place with Jack’s sort-of-step-dad Rob and Mum? What does Rob moving in mean?
Jack’s Grandad has passed away, but he knows Grandad is watching after them all. And Nanna is always there. She loves bargains and keeps buying cheap purple glow-in-the-dark underpants that no one wants to wear. She’s a bit deaf, her teeth fall out sometimes, but she’s wise and Jack loves her. Nanna’s getting wobblier and can’t live by herself anymore. Jack’s worried about Nanna.
There’s always things to think about – bush fires and the news. Who would light a fire deliberately? There’s so much happening in the world with war and peace marches. Then there’s the neighbourhood Italian girl Anna. Her parents run the Napoli’s Delicioso Fruitology Market and Anna makes Jack feel red and hot.
It’s holiday time and they’re all headed up North for a beach holiday – Jack, Mum, Nanna, Samantha, Rob, Ann and Leo – and Jack’s got a lot to work out.
Super Jack is REAL
Jack’s inspired by Susanne Gervay’s son and his real family and community. Nanna really loves buying bargains. Mum is a single parent who dances and star jumps in the school car park. Samantha is in love with dogs and sleeps with a big flat dog called Floppy. Rob is a surfer and loves to know the temperature in every room.
The real Jack tries to navigate his changing family with his father gone and being brought up by his sole parent mother. Now there’s a potential new step-dad-to- be, a potential step-brother, Nanna having to find a home.
What people are saying
Almost 50% of marriages end in breakdown and/or divorce.
Almost 50% of these marriages will include children under 18.
20% of children under fifteen will be raised in a sole parent family
8% of children live in a step or blended family
Australian Bureau of Statistics ABS Jan 2013
(Jack and his family are part of these statistics.)
“Every institution from Play-school to kindergarten to schools colludes in the illusion that life is about Mum, Dad, two kids and Big Ted. It is extraordinary, still, that so little is written and so little spoken to help children deal with divorce, which is a major trauma in the lives of many. Divorce may be common but it is painful. Susanne Gervay writes humorously but with honesty about the rigours of living in a mix-master family.
Jack’s little sister Samantha thinks life with the new stepdad will be all Coke and chips but Jack knows now “there won’t be any night when she can get into Mum’s bed.”
Jack faces the problems of dealing with a new stepdad. A stepbrother and also having his Gran come and live with them on a family trip to the Gold Coast. Gervay’s strength lies not only in her humour and honesty but in the fact that her characters are the sort you wouldn’t mind sharing the back seat with. Her language is also rich and colourful; her imagery is there to assist the narrative rather than show off in an ostentatious literary display. Jack’s little Italian girlfriend Anna has “chocolate drop eyes.”
The John Marsdens of the writing scene are very good at top-level abuse and the Paul Jennings are excellent in sheer fun but Susanne Gervay is rare in her ability to place common problems for children within the spectrum of normal family life. The result is that she makes it OK for the children to talk about them.”
‘SuperJack is beautifully written with humour, love and a recognition of the uniqueness of kids.’
Life Education Australia