Review: Jack in the Green by Charles de Lint

Jack in the Green
Jack in the Green by Charles de Lint
My rating: 2 of 5 stars
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Quick Take:

I stumbled upon Jack in the Green at a local library. Given my penchant for short reworkings of mythology, fairy tales, etc. this seem like a good fit.

But while this retelling of Robin Hood has its moments, it came off very one dimensional. It is interesting to explore what justice, even if it is of the vigilante sort, might look like in the barrio where power is corrupt and the wealthy gate themselves off from everyone else. What does law and morality mean in a world where the economy and the law is stacked against the poor and less fortunate? This could be fertile g

But too much of this novella comes off flat and obvious. Everything feels like a caricature; even if the setting is the American Southwest instead of England. The only scene I found all that compelling was the interaction between the gang and the bottle witch.

Even the resolution was too simple. Maria comes back to life, Jack defeats the bad guys (in a rather dark and cruel scene that nonetheless came off equally flat), and they live happily ever after. This came off as a sketch of a story rather than a flushed out one. Even short stories pack more punch than this.

Perhaps my expectations were too high but I came away disappointed.

Jack in the Green Book Cover Jack in the Green
Charles de Lint

Maria Martinez is a young maid, cleaning houses to get by, living in a neighborhood of Santo del Vado Viejo plagued by gang violence and drug cartels. When Maria witnesses her best friend from her teenage years breaking into a house in a gated community where she’s working, she has no problem pretending to the police she didn’t see a thing. But as Luz Chaidez comes back into Maria’s life, Maria can’t help remembering the magic Luz left to look for all those years ago. Magic she may have found. Maria is curiously drawn to one of Luz’s green-hooded gang of robbers, a handsome redheaded boy who calls himself Jack Green. Soon enough, she’s venturing into the dangerous territory of robbing from the rich to give to the poor…

About the author

Kevin Holtsberry

I work in communications and public affairs. I try to squeeze in as much reading as I can while still spending time with my wife and two kids (and cheering on the Pittsburgh Steelers and Michigan Wolverines during football season - oh, and watching golf too).

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