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WHEN JEFF COMES HOME by Catherine Atkins


by Catherine Atkins

Pub Date: Sept. 1st, 1999
ISBN: 0-399-23366-0
Publisher: Putnam

An accomplished, intense, and powerful first novel about what happens when a kidnapped boy is returned to his family. After two and a half years, the man called Ray, who stole Jeff from his family at a roadside rest stop, delivers him back home. Atkins plunges into the depths of Jeff’s tangled consciousness, conjuring his terror, his bottomless degradation, his lingering horror of himself over what he did to survive. While who Ray was and what he did to Jeff remain mostly unstated, the effects on Jeff are ghastly and transparent. Jeff’s intelligent, driven father, who has lost so much of his own life in the search for his son, tries to control Jeff’s recovery, too. While his rigidity is fearsome, the cost to him, and to Jeff’s stepmother and siblings, is fierce. What Jeff has to face—his return to his family and to school, his dealings with the FBI and others who had searched for him, his ugly, overpowering emotions—is drawn candidly but never sensationally. Readers will not be able to view incidents of kidnapping and sexual abuse in the same way again. (Fiction. 13+)