Jackson “Jacko” Smith was diagnosed as dyslexic when he was a child, and with a wonderful teacher, he began to excel. Once his teacher had to step away, she set him up with her son, Sammy, who was quite young, to continue working with Jacko. The two hit it off right away. They spent a lot of time together and became friends. Close enough friends, they’d walk to school holding hands.
Sammy knew he was gay very early on, but Jacko is straight, dating and having sex with women. Things go so far that Jacko actually became engaged to a woman, and all the while, Sammy is in his life. For reasons I won’t reveal because I don’t give spoilers if I can’t help it, the men wind up in Phuket, Thailand on a holiday. It’s there Jacko realizes he’s been in love with Sammy for years, and Sammy confesses to loving him from the very beginning. They make love, and begin their lives as a couple.
After that, Jacko enters politics and climbs the political ladder until he eventually become the actual Prime Minister of Australia (WOW!). A Nice Normal Family becomes the story of how Jacko and Sammy deal with married life, family, children, and their time in the public eye.
A Nice Normal Family is…different. If you’re looking for a traditional romance or a sex fest, you won’t find it here. Yes, Jacko and Sammy have sex, but it’s not portrayed in down and dirty detail. A lot of it was purely a suggestion of what is going on in their bedroom. For instance…
We’d showered and were in our own bed in our real home, the same bed in which we spent every night of our early life together, and suddenly I wasn’t tired anymore as his hand found what he was looking for.
As you see, it’s sexy in its own right because it leaves everything to the reader’s imagination, and sometimes, that’s better than reading about every suck, bite, jack, penetration, and come shot.
There are SO MANY background characters in A Nice Normal Family. Too many to mention all of them. The primaries, though, are Jacko’s immediate family, Sammy’s family, their children, their adopted family in Asia, and a few close friends in the polical ring. They all play an important role in the story. They’re supportive, loving, and they cheer Jacko on through everything.
It’s a well written, detailed story. However, this is also why I gave it a 4 rather than a 5. There is so much detail, it became almost tedious. Politics is interesting, but I felt describing nearly everything that went on, even the smallest issues, was too much. I felt myself slipping away, putting the Kindle down, and even walking away for a day or so to read something short and light before I returned. I would have liked to have more attention paid to how Jacko and Sammy felt about being away from each other so much, or Jacko being away from their children. These topics are discussed, but I’d have liked more. I prefer family over politics. This is also my own personal opionion.
I did really like how John Terry Moore wrote about Jacko’s dyslexia. It was always an issue, but he had some great people around him who helped him when it was necessary, and I absolutely LOVED how he had a mantra of sorts. Whether things were going well, or if they weren’t, he’d repeat the names of successful dyslexic people, including Albert Einstein, Alexander Graham Bell, Steven Spielberg, Whoopi Goldberg, Agatha Christie, Walt Disney, Winston Churchill, Nelson Rockefeller, and Jay Leno. My Dad was dyslexic, but he loved to read. He struggled, but he never gave up. This list of names, and A Nice Normal Family brought Dad’s situation to life for me. I’m grateful for this, Mr. Moore.
If you are into politics, Australia, some beautiful countries in Asia, and what I can only describe as a fictional autobiography, A Nice Normal Family should be right up your alley. I recommend it highly.
A review copy of this book was provided by Dreamspinner Press.