Jack­pot Summer

  • Review
By – June 10, 2024

The Jacob­son sib­lings — Noah, Sophie, Lau­ra, and Matthew — spend their sum­mers at their family’s Jer­sey Shore house. It isn’t any­thing fan­cy, but it’s filled with loud, rau­cous mem­o­ries. After their moth­er, the beloved matri­arch of the Jacob­son clan, pass­es away, their father decides to put the shore house on the mar­ket and fol­low his dream of retir­ing to Flori­da. The sib­lings come togeth­er for one final week­end at the shore house — to clean it out, revis­it some old ghosts, and find clo­sure in the place that brought them togeth­er for so many years.

When Noah sug­gests they buy a lot­tery tick­et, three of the four sib­lings throw in a few dol­lars — why not?, they fig­ure. None of their lives is where they want them to be or what they had envi­sioned. Laura’s mar­riage is implod­ing; Sophie can’t get a foothold in the art world; Matthew is mis­er­able as a cor­po­rate lawyer; and Noah has zero plan what­so­ev­er. When they end up win­ning a share of the lot­tery, they’re at once dumb­found­ed and ecsta­t­ic. Win­ning the lot­tery, though — that’s only the begin­ning. The true chaos begins after. 

As the fam­i­ly grap­ples with what to do with their win­nings, and, more impor­tant­ly, how to move for­ward with­out the matri­arch that kept them togeth­er, they dis­cov­er that mon­ey doesn’t solve prob­lems. In fact, it can intro­duce a num­ber of new ones. 

Jack­pot Sum­mer cen­ters Judaism in mean­ing­ful ways. Includ­ed in the book are mem­o­ries of b’nai mitzvot, High Hol­i­day meals, Passover seders, and much more. They will res­onate with any­one who grew up with Jew­ish rituals.

Filled with laugh-out-loud scenes, ten­der famil­ial moments, and relat­able fights, Jack­pot Sum­mer is a beau­ti­ful sto­ry about ties that can nev­er real­ly be bro­ken. Elyssa Fried­land fans who enjoyed Last Sum­mer at the Gold­en Hotel will not be disappointed.

Jes­si­ca Sender is an aca­d­e­m­ic librar­i­an at Michi­gan State Uni­ver­si­ty. She has worked in pub­lic and aca­d­e­m­ic libraries, and in her free time enjoys run­ning, bik­ing, real­i­ty TV, and explor­ing Michigan. 

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