Review: 'Jessica Lost her Wobble' by J. Schlenker
Both the cover (which shows a bicycle on a bridge), and the author’s plot summary set me on course for the tale of a ‘damaged’ woman who had moved to an island to begin a new life and who, metaphorically speaking, might lose her ‘wobble’. It was a fairly under-whelming premise.
The style of writing is explicit - there were no real surprises. I must admit that although the story of Jessie’s life on the island and her memories of when she moved to New York from England as a young girl are well-written and engaging, the candid nostalgia of a woman writing about life in the mid-nineteen hundreds was not ringing my bell. Strange then, how comfortable it felt to pick up my kindle and retrieve Jessie where I had left her. Strange, the vague affinity I had with this woman who seemed to be working through a tragic history and searching for a new interest: yoga, cooking Indian food, opening a tea shop…
The people she meets are interesting and well-developed characters, the stories of her past are from another era, and demonstrate a shocking naivety and a touching vulnerability. Jessie is nice, with a capital ‘N’. But ‘nice’ just doesn’t cut it in the real world. Not for me, at least. Lots of people will enjoy the life and times of a woman like Jessie, who has lived a varied and interesting life. A woman who it’s easy to like and for whom we wish at least some happiness in her new life on the island. But I couldn’t quite understand why this book was a finalist in the 2014 William Faulkner – William Wisdom Creative Writing Competition.
Then comes the twist. Exquisite!
I wanted to know more about the author. The only thing I could find was a single photograph on Amazon India. In it, she’s wearing a huge grin. How appropriate!