On the morning of his eighteenth birthday, philosophy student and high school senior Jack Polovsky is somewhat seriously thinking of suicide when his cell phone rings. Jack's ex-girlfriend, Jess, has given birth, and Jack is the father. Jack hasn't spoken with Jess in about nine months—and she wants him to see the baby before he is adopted. The new teenage father kidnaps the baby, names him Socrates, stocks up on baby supplies at Wal-Mart, and hits the road with his best friend, Tommy, and the ex-girlfriend. As they head to Grandma's house (eluding the police at every turn), Jack tells baby Socrates about Homer, Troy, Aristotle, the real Socrates, and the Greek myths—because all stories spring from those stories, really. Even this one. Funny, heart-wrenching, and wholly original, this debut novel by Emil Ostrovski explores the nature of family, love, friendship, fate, fatherhood, and myth.~Goodreads
ReviewThe Paradox of Vertical Flight is a devastatingly intriguing book. I’m not sure how I’m supposed to explain what makes it so fantastic. The characters Jack, Tommy, Jess, and Socrates are so real and believable. Jack, the main character and narrator of the story, has a philosopher's brain with no one around except a baby to listen so the internal dialogue is pretty interesting.
Jack is constantly asking questions that make you feel like you can feel the enormity and infinity of the universe. And that coupled with a sarcastic edge makes his narration and personality unique and refreshing.
Tommy is Jack’s best friend and though he doesn’t operate on the magnitude of Jack he can keep up and is a great source of entertainment. With Jack and him in the car (or anywhere) together you will laugh until you cry.
Jess is the butt head ex-girlfriend that i could barely tolerate until near the end of the book. But perhaps I just didn’t understand her the way I was supposed to. To me she was a bitter whiny *bad word* that couldn’t say one nice thing to Jack or anyone else.
The baby is, well, something else. But you’ll have to read to find out what. The whole book was a discussion of the purpose of life and the definition of infinity that just so happened to be taking place in the midst of an impromptu and slightly illegal trip to Jack’s grandma’s house.
Quote" 'I live," the man says, "always here. Never there. 'Til one day I'll be ever there and never more here, if, that is, there's a there at all.' "
Liberty Bay Books: The Paradox of Vertical Flight