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Book Review: 'Living with Jackie Chan' by Jo Knowles

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'Living with Jackie Chan' by Jo Knowles


Jo Knowles is no teenage boy, but she sure knows them well. Josh is not just Living with Jackie Chan his senior year of high school, but he’s trying to forget about why he had to call his uncle, literally and figuratively. As it turns out, karate is the way to go and Josh’s uncle Larry is an excited puppy dog who won’t give up on him.

Then there’s Stella, the one girl who cares about him, but has a strange way of showing it when her boyfriend’s around. So what is Josh running away from? And why does he lose it every time he hears the baby from the apartment upstairs crying?

Even when guys put up an I-don’t-care front, a lot of times they actually do care. Knowles uses short sentences and text messages to show how a guy’s mind works. Josh is using action more than words to get through his issues. He practices katas with Stella in karate class and feels happy and relaxed. It’s one of the few moments he can really let go of his past for a while.

But the baby’s crying will wake him up and all he feels like doing is punching the Jackie Chan poster on his wall (one that his uncle put up, of course). Larry wants to talk to him about his problems, but he’s never ready. Josh is also afraid that if Stella knew the truth about him, she’d not just not want to be with him as more than a friend, but she’d stop talking to him altogether.

When we find out what Josh is running away from, the pieces start to make sense, even why Stella has a lot in common with him. Knowles is able to make you feel what he’s feeling and for the female readers out there, it’s refreshing to read something from the guy’s perspective and not be grossed out at the same time.

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