Review of Jasper Jones by Craig Silvey January 30, 2015 – Posted in: Review

I’m half way through reading Jasper Jones. It’s my book club read for this month. Oh boy how my heart yearns for the boys in this story. I wonder how a small town in Australia in the 1960’s could hold so much hate and pain. Does this still exist in today’s small towns? What brought about such destructive behaviours? I can only hope we have moved on from where this town lies.

But thinking about some of the hate filled people in this town, where would they be today and would they still be bringing pain to communities or has time mellowed them? Is it these behaviours that have restricted community interaction.

There are three main characters in the story. One boy referred to as a ‘half-caste’ comes from a drunken family environment, no real home and he’s just 14. The strength of character that this boy is able to show with his upbringing is admirable. The other boy that stands out for me as having an amazing strength of character is Jeffrey, a Vietnamese boy. He has the same, if not worse bully going on for him at school and on the cricket field and probably everywhere but he brings determination and optimism to everything he does. Jasper Jones and Jeffrey come from two different worlds and show the same fighting determination to their lot in life. I wonder how they manage to become this strong. Have the circumstances brought out the best in them?

I could not help the smirks and laughs at the genuine dialogue of the two 13 year old boys in the story. Having two girls myself and not being exposed to boys at 13 very often, it was so entertaining to read life through their eyes. Let me show you one of their many delightful dialogues between Charlie and Jeffrey:

‘I feel like an icy cold beer’, he says.
What? Why?
I don’t know. It always looks so refreshing. I wishhhh to be refreshed by an icy cold beer.
‘But you’ve never had beer.’
‘So?’
‘So how can you feel like something you’ve never tasted?’
‘You never kissed Eliza Wishart before, but you still wanted to do that.’
I roll my eyes at him.
‘That’s a lot different to a beer’
‘Telling me. A beer is farrrr superior. You don’t have to sit around holding its hand and saying nice things about its hair.
‘Jeffrey, you’re a volcanic eruption of stupidity.’

Wishing for more time in my day to finish this astounding book.