Jess Porter spent her childhood bouncing from therapist to therapist and prescription to prescription. An outcast at school and a misfit at home, the only solace she ever found was in her relationship with her dad, Tom. Now he's dead.
Feeling rejected by her adopted mom and her biological twin sister, Jess runs off to South Florida. But she can't outrun her old life. Watching the blood drip down her arm after her latest round of self-inflicted cutting, she decides her only choice is to find and face what frightens her most.
Because I Had To takes the reader inside the worlds of adoption, teen therapy, family law, and the search for a biological family. With a cast of finely drawn, complicated characters, it asks us to consider: can the present ever heal the past?
REVIEWS & ENDORSEMENTS
Because I Wanted To ...keep turning the pages!
March 22, 2017
"I thoroughly enjoyed Because I Had To. Though completely unfamiliar with the adoption, abortion, twin, sibling rivalry, mental illness themes, David Bulitt made these themes come alive. Bulitt made you care for, hate, empathize, envy, and lust after his characters. The opening chapter will grab your attention and keep you turning the pages.
Because I Had To has something for all types of readers, men women, mothers, fathers, siblings, children, 20-somethings just starting out and even jaded, middle-aged lawyers. The plot follows a year in the life of a troubled, twenty-something, adopted, twin girl-young woman, following the sudden death of her loving father. We meet her aloof mother, her perfect twin sister, her therapists, and our narrator: her dad's lifelong friend "JB" - "Uncle Bro" a middle-aged divorce attorney questioning his "WHY."
Though Bulitt could have relied on time-worn cliche's in creating his characters, he does not go there, instead giving us just enough insight to allow us to stop and think about who these people are, why they are making the choices they do. Bulitt does not preach to us when we might think those are the wrong choices. His characters play the hands they were dealt. Personally, I loved the asides about JB's divorcing clients, the judges before whom he appears and their "quirky" persona's and situations, even if those vignettes do little, if anything, to advance the story or Jess' character.
I read David Bulitt's first novel: The Card Game first and glad that I did, as it introduced and gave depth to Jess & JB that one might not get from merely reading Because I had To, or reading them in the reverse order. Both volumes are well worth reading. I look forward to his next work!" ~ Harvey Jacobs, Amazon
"I really enjoyed this book and would give it 4 1/2 stars! It was hard to put down." ~ Net Galley reviewer, Net Galley
"It was a book I really enjoyed. Really showed how some adopted children can feel rejected all their lives, even when they are shown love. It was a great read and I look forward to another book from a great author." ~ Elaine, Amazon
"Great insight into the thoughts of an adoptee. I have two adopted children and two biological and I was in tears for the feelings revealed." ~ Nancy, Amazon reader
"David Bulitt's second book, Because I Had To, really held my attention to the last page. I didn't want to put it down." ~ Amazon reader, Amazon
The story mainly covers that of Jess Porter, who who is in her early twenties and has recently left home and is trying to come to grips with the challenges of adult life.
From the beginning it is clear she is not in good shape emotionally at all. We are given plenty of clues why that might be: her adoptive father has died and her relationship with her adoptive mother and twin sister is far from ideal. She asks a good friend of her father's, a lawyer, to help her fnd her biological mother - and perhaps herself.
The friend of the Father has challenges too - that of dealing with the disillusionment that can accommodate middle age. What he has actually achieved in life seems so shabby compared to his earlier dreams of greatness. But he is willing to reach out and help Jess.
This novel reminded me of a certain kind of gritty and naturalistic 70's TV drama, in which life starts out messy and can end in messy ways too, amidst the occasional moment of new insight and understanding. At the tale, Jess seems to be finding her feet on the one hand and encountering new troubles at the same time.
What works most for me in this novel is that there is the recognition of just how tough early and untried adulthood can be. More individuals may well find themselves incredibly lost and can fall down incredibly hard at this time more than any other. Neither may middle age prove to be a time of massive complacency.
Because I had To is certainly recommended for those who enjoy this kind of realist 'find Yourself' novel. ~ Lynda Stevens , Amazon
For me, a good read is one in which the author poignantly and purposefully crafts the underlying theme and character development in a manner that invites the reader to peel back the written word and peer into his/her 'own' story. David Bulitt does just this in 'Because I Had To'. The title alone stirs a 'who' 'what' 'why' insightful curiosity even before turning to page one and lays the foundation for walking alongside the lives of Jess and JB as each struggles to find purpose and meaning while grieving the death of Jess's father and JB's lifelong best friend. Bulitt's writing is humanly 'real' and seesaws with emotion...hurt, some joy, anger, humor, and often sorrow...and leaves the reader looking forward to novel #3. ~ Pam Hendershot, Amazon
Because I had to is a must read. From the very first chapter I was drawn in. You really feel as if you know the characters and are taking this journey with them. I enjoyed this book from beginning to end. I can't wait to read more from David Bulitt. ~ Amy Deming, Amazon
A wonderfully written story woven together brilliantly!
I could not put this book down- characters so real, I found myself in each one- laughing, crying and thrilled to turn each page. A wonderfully written story woven together brilliantly. I can't wait to see what's next for David, but for now Jess, J.B et al remain with me.
~ Carl Berkelhammer, Amazon
"I could not put this book down- characters so real, I found myself in each one- laughing, crying and thrilled to turn each page. A wonderfully written story woven together brilliantly. I can't wait to see what's next for David, but for now Jess, J.B et al remain with me." ~ Carl Berkelhammer, Amazon
I really enjoyed this book, I would give it 4 1/2 stars. It was hard to put down. ~ Amazon reader, Amazon
Quick But Meaningful Read
I loved (mostly laughing through) David Bulitt's first book, Card Game. His second novel follows a character from that first book, but the tone and tempo of "Because I Had To" is very different. You don't need to have met Jess in the first book, you can jump right in with this story (and jump right in you will!!) . David writes humorously and convincingly of practicing (and learning) law, but he distinguishes himself with his deep understanding of people from all walks of life and life experiences, especially this troubled young woman who takes hold of her life. I was completely sucked in and didn’t put the book down until I finished it. Lyric Winik got it right when she described the book as “keenly observed” and “well-crafted”. The ending (next beginning) sucked me right in to the next book! I just hope it’s not a long wait :). I came to care for and respect Jess, and I want to stay in touch and see where she takes her life. ~ LE, Amazon Reader
TERRIFIC SOPHOMORE EFFORT FROM BULITT
I thoroughly enjoyed "Because I Had To." Just because it's a quick and easy read does not mean that it lacks depth. The emotional connection between the troubled 20-something, Jess, and her "fake" uncle, the verging-on-a-midlife crisis, 50-something, JB--which changes both of their lives--is certainly unusual but very real and carries the reader to an ending that leaves you craving for more. A sequel, perhaps? I certainly hope so! ~ Amazon Customer, Amazon
FUNNY AND SAD ALL IN ONE
It had me from the beginning, the middle and the end. Character development kept me engaged. Sexy, funny and sad all in one. A must read. ~ Andrea Brody, Amazon Customer
Alright, we have taken a break from romance to bring you a book that hits you hard in the feels. Because I Had To is by David Bulitt and is a mystery/ psychological thriller that takes you down the roads you never wanted to go down but knew you had to.Jess Porter has not had an easy life. The only person she felt that she could connect with is her father. But now he’s dead and she’s been adopted. However, things aren’t much better for her. After all, how can you possibly get through the day when your perfect twin sister has it all and you’re left with her scraps. She not only struggles academically but socially as well. Naturally, she has been seeing therapists for quite some time. But they don’t seem to be helping as she’s still cutting, still feeling broken, and still feeling unwanted. However, it doesn’t have to be that way. She begins this journey, moving to South Florida, trying to find her birth mother, and hoping that all of the jagged pieces of her life somehow fit together as she learns about some of the secrets of her past. But the question then becomes, will her secrets help her grow, or send her spiraling back down to the place of misery she’s been trying to claw her way out of.
This book especially spoke to me because I am a twin. My brother and I have been compared our entire lives but we are two very different people. I struggle with street smarts and he had issues academically. Our parents tried hard to treat us as two different people, but everyone else would always assume twins are exactly the same. Why couldn’t he get an A in English and why couldn’t I go around the corner from my house without getting lost. I felt that Bulitt accurately portrayed the struggle that you feel when you want to live up to someone else’s life but you just can’t.
What made this story amazing, was how it didn’t just gloss over the nitty gritty and it wasn’t just teenage angst. Yes, there was plenty of that, but a lot of the issues that Jess was dealing with, are a lot bigger than we usually have to deal with at this age. You see her go through therapy fighting herself to get better.
Fun fact about Bulitt, he is in family law. This book drips of real life scenarios, real outcomes, and real law. I cannot stand it when there are inaccuracies in books and not one thing seemed fabricated or lacking research.
The problem with this book, though it is a quick read, is that it is a heavy read. I guess that’s the downside to handling issues like this. You definitely need to know what you’re starting before you get into it because it is not a fun and light romance. Though, sometimes you do need a break from those.
Give Bulitt a try and be ready to not only be wowed, but to be taken on a journey that may require a tissue or two. But don’t worry, Bulitt throws some funny moments in there from time to time to balance the harder times. ~ Sarah Fischer, A Kiss At Midnight Reviews
David Bulitt’s sexy, courageous and honest new offering “Because I Had To” taps into the everyday well-intentioned fabric that veils our work and family lives. Bulitt pulls off the veil revealing family entanglements, private seconds of ecstasy and grief spotlighting the human not so perfect in all of us. “Because I Had To” reminds us of the possibility and opportunity for personal heroics which can rescue, guide and ultimately make all the difference.
~ Zev Halpern, Psychotherapist, Amazon
Because I Had To starts with a punch. No wimpy description here, the reader sees the young lady's pain from the first pages. I can't help it, I'm engaged in this story.
The author shows this story from points of view of different first person narratives. The story of adoption, rejection and finding peace comes to life in present and flashback tales of the two characters. I see a daughter's pain and middle age search for relevance and return to the joy of a career. As with many stories sometimes, I feel I have walked down these streets on my journey, too, and maybe feel them a little too deeply. This novel has that sign of good fiction, when truth is told.
As with life's journeys, no cozy tidying up at the end. If this novel starts with a punch, it ends with an upward kick into my sternum. I was glad to get a hug from my husband when I closed the book and turned out the light.
I recommend this novel to anyone with children, anyone doubting their choice of careers, anyone with parents as well as close older friends like an aunt or uncle, or anyone with a heart. This novel helped me process some memories, putting to words feelings I suppressed. I felt David Bulitt wrote from his gut with no fear. We often made choices because we had to. ~ Mollie Lyon, Amazon Reader
Love Love Loved "Because I Had To",
From the moment I read the first page, I was hooked. Couldn't, wouldn't, and didn't put it down until it was done. David Bulitt developed every character with such depth that it left me completed attached to them all. Every family has some strange dynamics that causes issues. How people adjust to one another's complexing thoughts has sort of always fascinated me, "Because I Had To" dives into one families conflicts and explains how those misunderstandings can be resolved through patience and love. The love however must start first for ourselves. I am so impressed with the complex character development of the main character, Jess. I absolutely love her and I am left wanting the next book to be published NOW!!!! Please please please get that book published. I need to know what happens, David Bulitt!!! ~ Amazon Customer, Amazon
Bulitt Does It Again, *****
In Card Game, David Bulitt proved himself a very talented writer. In Because I Had To, Bulitt proves he's much, much more. Because I Had To narrates Jess Porter's troubling and often lonely journey of self-discovery. In Jess, Bulitt has deftly developed a compelling, real-life character. He asks difficult questions that do not always have satisfying answers, but that makes Jess believable - somebody we've all met at some point in our lives, somebody we probably should have spent more time talking to and understanding. As he did in Card Game, Bulitt's cutting and often brilliant dialogue makes this a can't-put-it-down-page-turner. Like the first time, Bulitt has published a second novel that leaves me anxious to pre-order the third. ~ CFM, Amazon Reader
Cant wait to see Bulitts next work...dont miss this one
Not many authors have the ability to get inside your head from page one of their latest work....David Bulitt,with his second novel "Because I Had To" is among that talented group.... Main character Jess Porter, troubled both at home and at school is devastated by the death of her father and
irritated by the favoritism shown by her adopted mother for her biological twin sister..... she eventually runs off to Florida with her best friend who helps her gain employment in a beachfront bistro......what follows never lets the readers interest diminish.....an intimate relationship with her employer........an upsetting look at the occasional self inflicted cuts to her arm.... a visit from her deceased dads best friend who accompanies her on a search that eventually leads to a brief reunion with her birth mother......one chapter at a time the words jump off the page......the ending leaves you gasping...no ....thinking......you wont want to put this one down ~ JR, Amazon Reader
Life has not been easy for her -
"Because I Had To" by David Bulitt is a fast read. Once you start reading about Jess Porter, you won’t stop. Jess is an adopted teen / young adult who has spent her life being compared to her “perfect” twin sister. Life has not been easy for her, and you get an in-depth view of her journey and family dynamic. Many of the characters continue from his first novel, and their development is realistic. The ending leaves you rooting for the best for Jess and anxiously awaiting the next novel. ~ Amazon Reader, Amazon
David Bulitt has done it agan, a book that is hard to put down. "Because I Had to" is a thought provoking novel that keeps you interested from page one.
The story of a troubled young women, tells a story of adoption, sibling rivalry and the death of a parent. At the same time involving a divorce lawyer effected by the death of a friend and midlife boredom.
It is both a moving and absorbing book. ~ Amazon Reader, Amazon
The story of Jess is sad, funny.
David Bulitt’s second novel, Because I Had To, offers a compelling look at adoption, friendship and family. The story of Jess is sad, funny, true to life and leaves you wanting more because not every girl excels at being social or in academics……
~ Amazon Reader, Amazon
Because I Had To is a really enjoyable and quick read. The characters are compelling and seemed very real. I found myself continuing to wonder about the characters after putting the book down between reading sessions. The book begins by introducing a troubled young woman. As one reads on, the details of her life as an adopted twin begin to emerge. I found myself liking and caring about her more as I read on. The attorney "uncle" is also an interesting character with his own troubles. As the story emerges, their missions cross paths in fascinating way. I found myself wanting more as the story concludes.Mr. Bulitt has a knack for weaving details of disparate characters into ironic and unexpected similarities. I highly recommend this book. ~ BK, Amazon
My first thought when I finished this book was NO! How could the author end this book leaving me wanting more? I really did not want the story to end. The novel is the story of Jess, who is an adopted twin who has had a difficult time dealing with her father's death and her relationship with her adopted mother and twin. We follow her story as she leaves her family and moves to Florida and tries to find herself. She asks her father's best friend who is an attorney to help her find her birth mother, and they travel together with her best friend to meet her birth mother. The novel is really the story of a young woman who is trying to find herself, as she makes her way through young adulthood, Learning to trust new relationships and how she fits into this world, learning to deal with expectations vs. reality as she integrates what she has learned from her birth mother and adoptive mother and how it all fits the giant puzzle of her life. I found myself drawn to Jess and rooting for her to propel herself forward in life and succeed. The irony of the fact that she found herself young, pregnant and unmarried at the end of the story was not lost on me, and left me wanting to know what her decision would be and how would her life develop. I really enjoyed reading this author's novel.
~ Tracey Doerrer, NetGalley
"In CARD GAME, Bulitt has found a way to make you laugh, make you cry, and most of all, make you anxious to read whatever next comes from his talented pen." ~ April, 2016 edition, Life and The Single Parent Magazine
David Bulitt has done it again! His second novel, Because I Had To, is a pitch-perfect coming-of-age story. Jess Porter’s life is spiraling out of control. After years of failing every comparison to her successful sister, she has run away from the only home she’s ever known. JB is a disillusioned divorce lawyer still grieving the death of his best friend. When Jess reappears asking him to help her find her birth family, he says yes. Bulitt has woven a can’t-put-it-down tale of adoption secrets and the dark side of the therapist’s couch. But in his deft hands, Jess and JB have a shot at redemption. Will they be brave enough to take it? Don’t miss this keenly observed, smart, funny, and well-crafted book!
~ Lyric Winik