Jasper Jones by Craig Silvey
Absolutely amazing book. This one is a library book I found featured at the Burnside Library during one of our toy runs (they have a massive toy library for toddlers).
One of the first things I usually do when I move to a new town is to sign up for a library card. I have a bit of an obsession with libraries. It could be because my very first ID card as a child was a library card from school and our local library. I have always loved books, and being in a library felt like home-coming. There is nothing that soothes me more than being surrounded by walls and shelves of just books.
The library was always a gateway to other worlds for me. An endless well of information just sitting there, waiting for me to drink from its depths.
I love libraries.
Onto Jasper Jones. This is easily one of my favourite books of all time in any genre. The last time I fell in love with a book so utterly and completely was on my second reading of One Day by David Nicholls. With Jasper Jones, the infatuation was immediate and the fall itself was an incredible adventure.
The book its a good mix of coming-to-age story and crime thriller. The story is told from the point of view of Charlie Bucktin, a teenage boy growing up in a small town in 1960’s Australia. It reminds me a lot of The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain. The narrator himself even refers multiple times to works of Twain. Many of the same themes found in Twain’s work is reflected in Jasper Jones, such as racism and small town bigotry.
Another aspect of the novel I enjoyed was the description of cricket. I didn’t really understand cricket before I read this book, and maybe I still don’t fully understand it–but I sure am a lot more interested in cricket now after having experienced the passion for it from Silvey’s well-developed characters.
Overall this story had a very balanced mix of action and exposition. Charlie was a very intelligent and thoughtful character. He was very loveable even though he was fallible. His father was the perfect “hero”, and I very much love the relationship Charlie has with his father. He is aware that his father is human, yet he still hopes for great acts of valour and would sometimes be disappointed. Their relationship portrays a very heart-warming example of the love between a father and a son.
All of the main characters were well-done. They all seemed very real to me and not once did I question a motive. Their reactions and behaviours seemed true to themselves and that made for a very believable story.
Lastly, the dialogue. Oh the dialogue. The repertoire between Charlie and his good friends back and forth were hilarious and seemed to me very accurate of teenage boy talk in 1960’s. The dialogue is what makes me wish this story could be a screen play for a movie. I’d watch the hell out of this movie. My husband is currently reading it and he’ll be able to confirm this better as he himself was a teenage boy.
I absolutely would re-read this book again, and I absolutely recommend it. I kept gushing about it to my husband until he’s started reading it too–and he’s loving it so far.