The most sorrowful and powerful of stories, love, loss and understanding.

I approached this book cautiously. As a sibling of an addict I viewed each letter and each chapter through the eyes of my own mother and all her years of dedication to keep loving her son through the ups and downs of hope gained and hope lost, and through my own mothering of a son and how I watch daily for the tiniest signs of addiction, from learning challenges, behavioral choices, compulsions, needs, failures, gains, struggles. It is a false lens but I viewed our life and relationship though the lens of fear inherited from my own experience within a family dealing with addiction. And I came away from the book with a renewed sense of purpose and need to be bigger than the fear, to overcome it, and be better at understanding the need to be loved, no matter what.

To read Barbara’s story and letters from her to her son from his birth to death and her after story of survival and self-discovery and most important her absolute will to remain connected to Jack, to seek his spirit and to remain whole were captivating. I loved every dedication Barbara made and direction taken. Her words and search to heal as a family were gripping and emotionally difficult. I and I’m sure all readers wanted to take some of the pain away from this mother and her family. But we see, as she sees, that grief was/is part of the healing. I am reminded by Dear Jack of the strength of mothers everywhere and the horror of the disease that is addiction.