Hello bookworms! I’m back with another book chat. I hope you’re sitting comfortably with your cup of tea or favourite beverage, because we’re about to review this amazing book by Craig Silvey!
Author: Craig Silvey
Published: 2010 by Allen & Unwin
Type that I Own: Paperback
Genre: Literary Fiction, Historical
My Rating: 5 out of 5 stars
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. The dead body of Laura Wishart, the mayor’s eldest daughter.
With this 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.
This novel was amazing. It revolves around Charlie as the main character and narrator and his journey in trying to uncover the mystery behind Laura Wishart’s death. I gave this book 5 stars, and there are many valid reasons why. Craig Silvey writes this book in such a way that he addresses so many ideas and issues in beautiful, thought-provoking ways by perfectly weaving in the characters and their development, with an immensely compelling plot. I must admit, I didn’t like it at first, and it went very slow for me, but I think that is just because I had been forced to read it for school. Looking back on it now, I see how significant the pace was in this book.
The characters were definitely a highlight in this book. Charlie and Jeffrey were my favourite characters and also each character within this story had a significant purpose and personality that helped Silvey to really get across his ideas smoothly and effectively. Plus, they were so lovable! Charlie started off as a very insecure and awkward thirteen-year-old boy. Then, as he enters into the journey of trying to discover the true events of Laura’s murder with Jasper, he starts to learn and recognize some harsh truths in the world and starts to understand some of the horrible things that people can think and do. As he learns these things, he grows more mature and by the end of the book, he’s come so far and has become a strong and confident character. Through Charlie, I thought about so many deeper issues about life and about people in general. Hats off to Craig Silvey for constructing Charlie so incredibly well. I learnt so much from him and I adored him.
Now, lets speak of Jeffrey Lu. Charlie’s best friend who is Vietnamese and is ruthlessly bullied because of it. I loved him so much. He constantly joked and played around with Charlie. He is an extremely happy-go-lucky character and even when he is bullied very harshly, his demeanor does not change. His strength does not fall or shatter. He stands proud and doesn’t let it affect him. This really tugged at my heart and sometimes, thinking about it makes me tear up! I don’t know why okay, don’t ask me why. His character helped to bring a ray of sunlight into this book which had a very depressing and dark tone.
Jasper Jones, I didn’t connect with greatly, but I believe his character served as a type of symbolism, and I believe Craig Silvey did well with his construction of Japser and the symbolism and ideas that were promoted through his character.
Oh my golly gosh, the plot. It was full of plot twists. Even the beginning was a total plot twist. I read it, having really no idea of what was to come, only knowing that it felt extremely foreboding and something really significant was about to happen. I had no idea I was about to discover a dead girl. It scared me to be honest. The plot was really significant in this novel. It was not fast-paced and that was exactly why it was important. It paved the path for the development of Charlie and slowly built up to the two big plot twists and to the climax of the story. The slow pace of it before the climax allowed for me to get to know Charlie and recognize some of the horrible things that he also finds out as he tries to find out what happened to Laura. It got me thinking about racism and bullying at the time and it gave me a perspective of how people really feared things at that time which was at the time of the Vietnam War when a lot of fear circled through Australia due to the threat of communism. It got me thinking about how people can be so quick to blame people, to find a scapegoat to blame for all the terrible things because they can’t find a logical reason. It explored so many more deeper issues that, if I began to talk about, you would probably want to burn this book so I’m going to stop.
But once this story reached it’s climax, I nearly died. Seriously. My world flipped upside down and it felt as if I was fast-forwarding through it. It was amazing. And by the end, it had completely gobsmacked me.