Reviewed by Vincent Dublado for Readers' Favorite
Just Jackie: My Life Is Like a Fruitcake by Jenny Cummings is a witty and fast-paced novel inspired by the author’s real-life experiences. In doing so, she has created a fascinating character in Jackie Jackson, who she considers her alter ego. It’s a domestic adventure that is anything but boring. Jackie has the what-if kind of life that Jenny Cummings has envisioned for herself. Jackie loves her mother even if etiquette and decorum are foreign to her mom, and her Aunt Millie constantly corrects her mom’s grammar. Jackie is bent on attending college, learning social graces, and becoming a perfect wife and mother for the perfect family that she dreams of having. This is where she begins to take you on a romp as she encounters a string of interesting characters.
The secret to the raw and unapologetic humor that Just Jackie projects is Cummings’s creation of an alter ego and of characters that are an amalgamation of real people she has met. This allows her narrative to project a clearer view of what she wants to achieve in connection to the reality that it reflects. Cummings becomes emotionally detached from the pressure of meeting expectations as she applies the doctrine of impersonality to her narrative. Jackie Jackson is a personification of psychological distancing, but Cummings has created her with her own quirks as well as desirable traits. Spend some time getting to know Jackie, and you will also be getting to know Cummings as an author with a vivid imagination, just as her professor puts it.