Review: Jerk California by Jonathan Friesen

Jerk California
Jonathan Friesen
September 4, 2008

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Goodreads

Sam Carrier can’t sit still. He jumps and blurts and twitches almost constantly. That’s the nature of the beast. Tourette’s Syndrome. The only solace he finds and the only time his limbs obey comes when he runs. But after his embarrassing graduation ceremony, everything changes. His angry step-father expects a large monthly sum for rent, and an unorthodox neighbor hires Sam, but only on the condition that he can use Sam’s real name, the name his real dad gave him. Jack.

Everything is complicated further by the recurring appearance of the beautiful Naomi, who always leaves Sam feeling like he’s not sure which way is up. When the new mentor in Sam’s life sends him on a bizarre quest, and Naomi decides to tag along, Sam finds himself wondering what the catch is. They take off, not knowing where they’re going or why, but trusting that it will unravel as they go.

Sam is funny and lovable, even in his anger. His search for the truth about his own past and for connection with other people is real, endearing, heartfelt. I read the book in just over 24 hours. I read parts aloud– the butter part was hilarious!

Jerk California is a great story. In reading it, I felt like I could identify with and understand the struggles Sam faced, not just in his life, but with Tourette’s. Really well done. A story to read more than once.

Profanity/Crude Language Content
Light profanity.

Sexual Content
There is one scene in which two characters intend to have sex but are interrupted before they get very far into preparing.

Spiritual Content
As Sam seeks to unravel the mystery of the man his father was, he wrestles with doubts and anger toward God. Through the story he meets several compassionate Christians who speak into his life about spiritual things. Sam’s spiritual journey felt very organic– just a guy struggling to understand his past and his place in the world really asking natural spiritual questions.

Violent Content
Mild. Some references to his step-father’s violent temper, etc.

Drug Content



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About Kasey

Reads things. Writes things. Fluent in sarcasm. Willful optimist. Cat companion, chocolate connoisseur, coffee drinker. There are some who call me Mom.

One Response to Review: Jerk California by Jonathan Friesen

  1. Lisette says:

    I’ve heard a lot about this book. It sounds really good. 🙂 Great review! I love how you do those language, sexual content, etc.