Reviews for Theresa et al.
"Hackel's writing is of a quality that easily places her in the top 1%. As a professional critic, I rarely come across a book I cannot fault, but Theresa et al. is both a joy and a pain to read for all the best reasons and it will resonate with me for a long time."
~ Jamie Michele, book critic
Diane Donovan called Theresa et al. a "compelling novel" and recommended it especially to "readers of fiction about mothers, children, and family ties." She also noted that the story concerns "the difficulties involved in raising a disabled child as well as the medical, social, religious, and psychological conundrums that swirl around a family reconsidering what it means to be a good Christian."
~ Diane Donovan, reviewer Midwest Book Review, March 2023 issue
"In Theresa et al., Jean Hackel accomplishes a delicate balancing act, overlaying questions surrounding abortion and women’s rights with a compelling and emotive storyline that will hold a reader’s interest from cover to cover. The dialogue is compelling, and the novel's cultural issues create a strong underpinning, but the work is never preachy....The story encourages readers to use the dilemmas presented as thinking points that stay with them well after they set the book down."
~ K.C. Finn, book critic
"I did not expect the brilliance delivered by Jean Hackel when I picked up Theresa et al. The novel is full of surprises...It's an incredible feat to balance such weighty issues in such a delicately related story, but it has been done here, and it is amazing. ... The dialogue is pitch-perfect, and the pacing steamrolls straight to the finale, which is satisfying. I loved and hated and screamed and shook my poor eReader the whole way through. I'll do it again with whatever Hackel puts out next, without question. Highly recommended."
~ Asher Syed, book critic
"Theresa et al. weaves a complex tapestry that connects each character to its plot and theme. It will likely stir a heated discussion. Abortion is a highly emotional subject.... Jean Hackel’s approach is to make the issue a question about choice and personal morals, which she does without talking down to her audience. This is the right way to handle a sensitive topic in fiction. The answer as to whether or not abortion is moral is left to the reader.
Theresa et al. is presented as a case study of a woman filled with grand dreams for her baby yet vulnerable when life becomes unfair. It is also a story about love and family, of the ties that bind and sometimes force us to accept choices that make us uncomfortable. It’s a moving story, one I highly recommend for the immediacy of its theme and its approach to questions that society cannot avoid."
~ Vincent Dublado, book critic
"I was blown away by Theresa et al. The book is a page turner. It connected me with the real-life challenges so many women and families are facing right now, with politicians and courts taking actions against the right to an abortion that, just a few years ago, none of us imagined would be possible." Ed added, “I also wanted to mention that I liked the interplay between the South and the North, and that the South was not demonized like it is by so many people I know.”
~ Ed Fallon, former Iowa lawmaker, current talk show host, podcaster, and environment activist
"Theresa et al. by Jean Hackel is a perfect example of not judging a book by its cover. The title sounded academic and didn’t tell me much, but the story sucked me in with its depth. This novel left me nonplussed at times as I tried to reconcile many things at once.... This is a beautiful novel, coming as women’s rights are under legal threat. I loved the Cole men, and the scenes in the South. Jean is a fantastic writer. I’d enjoy reading a sequel to find out what happened to Patrick, Lucy, Maureen and all three of her girls."
~ Jennifer Ibiam, book critic