Baby Jack: A Novel

Front Cover
Carroll & Graf, 2006 - Fiction - 309 pages
1 Review
Todd Ogden, an acclaimed painter with work in museums around the world and a seemingly successful thirty-year marriage to the Brahmin Sarah, is living and painting in his two-hundred-year-old Massachusetts farmhouse when his youngest child, Jack, chooses the Marines over college. Feeling puzzled and ultimately infuriated by his son's incomprehensible switch to "the other side," a situation only further aggravated by his disapproval of Jack's girlfriend Jessica, Todd ultimately turns his back on his son. Not long after the start of Gulf War II, Jack is deployed to Iraq and killed a week later, trying to end off an ambush.
From this point on, Baby Jack tells the story of the family Jack leaves behind, of his parents trying to survive as their marriage shatters, of Todd's own breakdown and after-the-fact attempt to understand his son's life -- and of Jessica's perseverance and the baby to whom she gives birth after Jack's death.
"Baby Jack" is a powerful and moving human story of sacrifice and redemption, which takes its readers into a territory way beyond the everyday.

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User Review  - Jane Doe - Kirkus

The war in Iraq tears an American family apart, in a novel that suffers from cultural stereotypes, political polemics and a strange depiction of the afterlife.Todd Ogden is a painter of some repute ... Read full review

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - TimBazzett - LibraryThing

Where do I start? I'm with Nathaniel Fick, who in his advance praise for this book, said he had to read it in private because "it wrapped me up emotionally and left me wrung out." A former marine ... Read full review

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About the author (2006)

Frank Schaeffer is a bestselling author. His fiction, humor and non-fiction have received international critical acclaim. The Los Angeles Times describes Frank’s writing as, “A rich brew of cross-cultural comedy.” The British newspaper the Guardian says: “funny and wonderfully observed.” The Times of London says: “Schaeffer describes both the pleasures and occasional torments of childhood with charm and humor.” Kirkus Reviews calls Frank’s writing: “Dramatic and laugh out loud funny, beautifully written and deftly constructed, deeply affecting in its honest portrayal of the author’s passions: a stunning achievement.”

Frank has written for USA Today, the Washington Post, Reader’s Digest, the San Francisco Chronicle, the Los Angeles Times, the Baltimore Sun and many other publications on topics ranging from his critique of American right wing fundamentalism to his experiences as a military parent and novelist.

OPRAH, C-SPAN, (Book TV) PBS, the NEWS HOUR, FOX NEWS, CNN, ABC (Nightline with Ted Koppel), ABC’s 20/20 and many other media televised programs on Frank and his writing. He has also been interviewed on just about every major talk radio show in the country and been a commentator on both NPR’s All Things Considered and several times for the NEWS HOUR and Jim Lehrer.

Frank is the author of three critically acclaimed and commercially successful novels, translated into eight languages Portofino, Zermatt, and Saving Grandma. Frank has also written four non-fiction books including the New York Times extended list bestseller Keeping Faith: A Father-Son Story About Love and the United States Marine Corps (co-authored with his Marine son John. Frank’s second book on the subject of his son’s service in the military was Faith Of Our Sons: A Father’s Wartime Diary, published in 2004. Frank’s book Voices from the Fron: Letters home From America’s Military Family was followed by AWOL: The Unexcused Absence of America’s Upper Classes From Military Service—And How It Hurts Our County (Co-authored with former Clinton White House aid, Kathy Roth-Douquet, Smithsonian books and Harper Collins) due out May 1, 2006.

Senator John McCain says: “Frank Schaeffer and Kathy Roth-Douquet have done our country a great service with the publication of their book AWOL. The authors, who watched with anxious hearts a son and a husband leave for war, discovered in that difficult experience a more genuine and wiser patriotism than they had known before. And now they call on their fellow citizens, for whom national service and sacrifice is an abstraction, to recognize that love of country is a more personal and consequential attachment than is popularly understood among many of the most fortunate Americans. I commend their wisdom and patriotism to all Americans as I honor their loved ones whose military service has entailed danger and sacrifice and has been a burden on the heart fearfully but proudly borne by their families.”

In his foreword to AWOL General (Retired) Tommy Franks says: “AWOL is powerful and compelling. It is sure to spark dialogue on issues of patriotism and service to our country. The book is both a love story and a hard-hitting account of military life.”

Michael O'Hanlon, Senior Fellow, Brookings Institution says: “For such a provocative and hard-hitting book, AWOL is also rather fair and balanced—and generally quite persuasive.”

NBC former anchor and author Tom Brokaw says, “AWOL is a powerful and timely account of those missing in action—the privileged class of America staying out of uniform and out of harm's way.”

General (Retired) Les Palm President and CEO Marine Corps Association says: “In AWOL, Frank Schaeffer and Kathy Roth-Douquet, a parent and a spouse of Marines, respectively, provide thoughtful insights into one of our nation's most tragic and growing ironies: the citizen's of our nation who have benefited most from the opportunities our society provides have no sense of obligation or duty to defend those ideals under which they have so successfully prospered. AWOL drives home, with hope and respect for our forebears, the need to address the evaporating sense of duty and service to our nation.”

Frank’s fourth novel, Baby Jack, is due out in the fall season of 2006 from Carroll and Graf (Avalon) as their lead fiction title.

Frank was born in Switzerland to the famous American evangelical theologian/evangelist Dr. Francis Schaeffer. Frank was sent to British boarding schools—from which he ran away at fifteen. He became an artist protégé. His first one-man show was in New York at the Frisch Gallery when he was seventeen. It was followed by successful shows in London and Geneva. Mrs. David Rockefeller bought the first painting sold at Frank’s New York show.

Frank is a survivor of both polio and an evangelical/fundamentalist childhood, an acclaimed writerr who overcame severe dyslexia, a home-schooled and self-taught documenttary movie director, a feature film director and producer of four (“pretty terrible”) low budget Hollywood features, and a best selling author of both fiction and nonfiction.

Frank is married to Genie. They have three children and two grandchildren. Frank and his family have lived in Switzerland, England, and South Africa, and now reside near Boston.

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