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Book DetailsISBN: 9781742372624
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Book Review: Jasper Jones by Craig Silvey - Reviewed by bronros (30 Aug 2011)
Wow, what a read! My husband and I both read Jasper Jones and were blown away by it, I was really disappointed when the story ended! It chronicles the smalltown drama and life of 13 yr old Charlie, who is drawn into a web of deceit, when part-Aboriginal teen Jasper Jones involves him in the discovery of a horrible crime. The boys attempt to discover the perpetrator before Jasper, disliked and mistrusted by locals, is accused of the crime. Nothing is what it seems and woven throughout the story is Charlie's delightful friendship with his Vietnamese mate, Jeffrey Lu. Their witty repartee is hilarious and endearing. Charlie also has a first-love to contend with, along with a difficult relationship with his deeply unhappy mother. This is a truly wonderful 'coming of age' novel that is a delight to read and should be on the reading list of every adult and teenager.
Book Review: Jasper Jones by Craig Silvey - Reviewed by Emsalee (24 Jun 2011)
The novel Jasper Jones, written by Craig Silvey, narrates the lives of Charlie Bucktin and his friend, Jasper Jones, after they make a horrifying discovery in Jasper’s clandestine sanctuary in the bush. Can they sort the reality from the lies surrounding this horrendous incident before the fearful town realises the truth? Silvey’s previous works include Rhubarb and The World According to Warren, with Jasper Jones being his second official novel.
Charlie Bucktin is a bright, but timid boy of thirteen, whose life is thrown into turmoil once he encounters Jasper Jones, the local outcast. Jasper Jones, being only fourteen himself, is a solitary and misunderstood teenager whose real fortitude is buried under false accusations and assumptions of a discriminatory community. He has to struggle to make ends meet and places his trust in Charlie to keep his secret, without having met him before. When Charlie first comes face to face with Jasper, he ponders his town’s view of the other boy and how “…he’s the first name to be blamed for all matter of trouble.” Oh, someone smashed your window? It must have been that no good Jasper Jones. Your house was broken into? Definitely Jasper Jones. You can find your pen on your desk? Jasper Jones must have taken it, even though it’s sitting right as rain in your shirt pocket.
The overly monotonous pages in which Silvey attempts to prolong his plot are more than enough to make the reader want to bury the book forever under a mountainous pile of dust, with only the most determined of bookworms making it through to the end. The entire chapter devoted the one of the most tedious sports the population has ever been subjected to, cricket, is incredibly hard to power through and bleeds out any energy the story had built up. Silvey’s wavering continuity when it comes to Charlie’s point of view can be frustrating as the vocabulary in which he conveys his protagonist’s inner thoughts delves into a more ‘adult’ realm that is highly unrealistic for a boy of thirteen. The author also becomes repetitive in his ‘queer’ and ‘retard’ insults, causing the reader to become increasingly uncomfortable with the excessive word usage.
Silvey does, however, have some redeeming aspects when it comes to the issues he raises through his novel. The time period that the novel is set in, the 1960’s, provides the perfect set-up for the racial tensions between Jeffery Lu’s family, who are of Vietnamese origin, and the population of Corrigan, due to the Vietnam War. The author’s portrayal of the prejudice faced by Jasper Jones is also reflective of the discrimination faced in not only in the 1960’s, but in modern day society as well.
Overall, Craig Silvey’s Jasper Jones is a subpar novel at best with few redeeming qualities. If Silvey had toned down on the plot extending and made the book’s course not resemble an overstretched elastic band, it would have been immensely more enjoyable and easier to read. As it stands, I rate Charlie and Jasper’s quest a 2 out of 5 stars.
Craig Silvey grew up on an orchard in Dwellingup Western Australia. He now lives in Fremantle, where at the age of 19 he wrote his first novel, Rhubarb, published by Fremantle Press in 2004. In 2005, Rhubarb was chosen as the 'One Book' for the Perth International Writers' Festival, and was included in the national Books Alive campaign. Silvey also received a Sydney Morning Herald Best Young Novelist Award. In 2007, Silvey released The World According To Warren, a picture book affectionately starring the guide-dog from Rhubarb. His second novel, Jasper Jones, was completed with the aid of an Australia Council New Work Grant. Outside of literature, Silvey is the singer/songwriter for the band The Nancy Sikes!
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