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Description - Jasper Jones by Craig Silvey

Late on a hot summer night in the tail end of 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 through town and 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.

'If we see a more entertaining, heartfelt piece of Australian literature in the next 12 months, it will be a rare year indeed - an Australian To Kill a Mockingbird.' - The Monthly

'It's genius.' - West Australian

'. impossible to put down . There's tension, injustice, young love, hypocrisy . and, above all, the certainty that Silvey has planted himself in the landscape as one of our finest storytellers.' - Australian Women's Weekly

'Jasper Jones confronts inhumanity and racism, as the stories of Mark Twain and Harper Lee did. Silvey's voice is distinctive: astute, witty, angry, understanding and self-assured.' - Weekend Australian

'Jasper Jones is a riveting tale, studded with laugh-out-loud and life-affirming moments yet underpinned by a clear-eyed examination of human weaknesses and misdemeanours.' - Adelaide Advertiser

Buy Jasper Jones by Craig Silvey from Australia's Online Independent Bookstore, Boomerang Books.

Book Details

ISBN: 9781742372624
ISBN-10: 1742372627
Format: Paperback / softback
(198mm x 128mm x mm)
Pages: 408
Imprint: Allen & Unwin
Publisher: Allen & Unwin
Publish Date: 1-May-2010
Country of Publication: Australia

Book Reviews - Jasper Jones by Craig Silvey

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Book Review: Jasper Jones by Craig Silvey - Reviewed by (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 (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.

Author Biography - Craig Silvey

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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