We first meet 33 year old Jack Hall in the midst of an exciting transitional period for him. Diagnosed with mental illness at the age of 19, he’s had some rough times over the years. But, having gone through dozens of arrests and hospitalizations, he’s brought himself to a point where he has a steady job, a stable place to live, has achieved a high level of recovery in his illness, and is ready to move on.
At the opening of the story Jack is just two weeks away from moving out of his group home into his own apartment on the outside, ignoring the advice of the group’s resident psychiatric nurse, a friendly and compassionate woman named Denise.
Jack’s plan soon hits obstacles: the rent for his new apartment is suddenly raised to be more than he can afford; his hours at work are cut; and he finds himself faced with a common problem: no money. Not being confident in his ability to find another apartment because of his illness, he decides, on the advice of his friend, Dundee, to do whatever he can to get the money he needs for the apartment he has waiting for him. We soon learn that Jack has a serious and dangerous past, one that he’s not proud of but one that he’s willing to return to if it will help him get money he needs.
Jack interacts with many people during his journey. From Denise, the nurse, who tries her best to help him get what he wants; to Dr. Parker, his doctor who doesn’t really think him ready to leave; to an eclectic and wonderful group of friends in his current home, Jack is certainly not alone in his struggle.
There are other people in Jack’s life who provide us with a glimpse of the real source of Jack’s determination; Jack has a family; a son named John and an ex-wife named Laura to whom Jack has something very important to prove. Jack’s attempt to live on his own becomes a form of redemption; after living through his troubled past that affected them all in devastating ways, he now wants to show his son and ex-wife that he has changed, that he is better, and that he is able; able to be independent, strong, and a good father. Home ultimately deals with themes that are very ubiquitous to us all: it’s a love story; a redemption story; and a story about a father and his son.
What would be a simple goal for most of us is no less than a life or death struggle for Jack. However he can, by whatever means necessary, Jack needs, more than anything, to find his home.