Jobe Leonard’s Study Abroad: The Book of Jobe

This week, I am reviewing a local author’s book: Jobe Leonard’s Study Abroad: The Book of Jobe. Study Abroad is the true story of Jobe’s time spent in Europe, beginning with his studying abroad in the Netherlands. Truth be told, it is difficult to describe just what the book is. The story is told through travel logs that Jobe wrote, and each follows a sort of stream of consciousness (not necessarily Virginia Woolf’s style, but much more like a diary). Again, it is difficult to describe a single direction the book takes you in, mostly because it follows an overarching experience. The reader gets to hear firsthand about some instances of culture shock, some of which you would never even expect. For example, in European countries, it is more common for buildings to be retrofitted, rather than built on demand. As such, you may find your “student housing” to be the uppper level of a mental institution. Being a college student in a strange country, Jobe has some pretty funny experiences. In fact, one of the major highpoints of the book’s comedy is that the entries are written straight from the author’s mind. This leads to many instances of “Ha! That would have been my exact reaction!” There is a little twist towards the end of the book that I thought was, quite frankly, a pretty cool way to shake up the narrative. Ultimately, this book drives home Jobe’s experiences to the reader: you get a feel for the bizarre shock and, in time, love that the narrator has come to have for the European countries. Jobe feels real to the readers because he is real. Add that to the fact that these entries have not been edited and Jobe Leonard’s Study Abroad: The Book of Jobe manages to strike a chord of intrigue and affection in the reader that most novels never manage to match. In addition, this book has awoken a desire to travel outside of my comfort zone, which is one of the highest praises I can think to bestow a book of this nature. There isn’t a specific group of readers I would especially recommend this novel to: it manages to appeal to the human experience in all of us. So if you like local authors, or just want to read the unique and engaging story of a real human being, then check out Jobe Leonard’s Study Abroad: The Book of Jobe.

Source: Jake Depew, Jefferson County Post Staff Writer