07 August, 2014

Book Review: Jasper Jones

From Goodreads: Late on a hot summer night in 1965, Charlie Bucktin, a precocious and bookish boy of thirteen, is startled by an urgent knock on the window of his sleep-out. His visitor is Jasper Jones, an outcast in the regional mining town of Corrigan.
Rebellious, mixed-race and solitary, Jasper is a distant figure of danger and intrigue for Charlie. So when Jasper begs for his help, Charlie eagerly steals into the night by his side, terribly afraid but desperate to impress. Jasper takes him to his secret glade in the bush, and it's here that Charlie bears witness to Jasper's horrible discovery.
With his secret like a brick in his belly, Charlie is pushed and pulled by a town closing in on itself in fear and suspicion as he locks horns with his tempestuous mother; falls nervously in love and battles to keep a lid on his zealous best friend, Jeffrey Lu.
And in vainly attempting to restore the parts that have been shaken loose, Charlie learns to discern the truth from the myth, and why white lies creep like a curse.
In the simmering summer where everything changes, Charlie learns why the truth of things is so hard to know, and even harder to hold in his heart.

Thoughts: Wow. Simply wow. This is my book groups August book and it was fantastic. Craig Silvey has written what I am sure will become an Australian classic. In my mind, Silvey has the potential to find a place in my heart right alongside Tim Winton.
Jasper Jones has many layers. It's a story of small town intolerance, of family dysfunction, of friendship, of guilt, of growing up. It's all these things, yet it all works. The different themes blend and meld into a story that has you cheering, crying and shaking. (thisiswhathappened).
Silvey writes characters that are worth investing in. I found myself desperate for things to work out for the narrator Charlie, for Jasper to find whatever he's looking for, for Jeffrey to find acceptance. Silvey also has the ability to make you forget, momentarily, what the book is actually about and become immersed in something else - namely a cricket match - and even if you don't like cricket, you will be on the edge of your seat.
However, for me, it's the ending that will stay with me. (thisiswhathappened) It's the end that had me rocking, shaking, moaning even as the truth is revealed and you wonder how will they survive this.
Jasper Jones has just become my 2014 you must read this book. Trust me, you must read this.