Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Jasper Jones by Craig Silvey

Title: Jasper Jones
Author: Craig Silvey
Stand Alone
Format- Hardcover
Publisher- Knopf Books for Young Readers
Published- April 5th, 2011
Pages- 310
Source- Library

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. 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.

Jasper Jones is the person you blame whenever you want to get out of trouble. If your parents ask you if you were with Jasper Jones when you did your wrongdoing you better say yes. Jasper Jones is a thief, a troublemaker, and a legend. He is talked about like he's not even a real person - more like he's a windstorm, passing through the minds of Corrigan's citizens and leaving rumors and chaos in his wake. Charlie, an average boy of thirteen, is about to discover the legend in the flesh and he's not going to like what he discovers.

Jasper Jones is an enigma. He's treated like he's dirt and is seen as the sum of all the problems in the world. When seen through Charlie's eyes I can recognize a sort of awe and an invisible line separating the town and Jasper Jones. You only get to know Jasper Jones so much. You do learn some interesting facts about him along the way but most of the book he is not really seen as a person but something else. The thing about him is that he can be bad but he doesn't really involve anyone else in his troubles except Charlie. He smokes and drinks but he's not really a bad guy. It's the 60's and he's mixed race. He's basically homeless but no parent seems to care. I think he just got a bad rap in life and tries to do the best with what he's got. I felt sorry for him. I wanted to see more of his vulnerable side because he doesn't have a great life. I wanted to see a little more that he cared about what happened after the initial discovery.

This story isn't really about Jasper Jones. It's about Charlie seeing different sides of the world and figuring out his own truth with what he sees. I must warn you. This is a very boy book and some things scream a man wrote this book. It's good and it's bad. There are just some instances where it was just gross and unnecessary but that literally was like three moments so don't let that dissuade you. Anyways Charlie is the main character in this story who has this big secret thrust upon him. It's a really big deal especially since he has to keep it from the girl he likes.

I liked getting into Charlie's head and conversations. This book was comprised of a lot of everyday conversations. He and his best friend, Jeffrey, had an epic one on who's the best superhero. They insult each other all the time and act like regular kids. The author shows another instance where race has to do with how the citizens of Corrigan treated people that are different from them. I'm pretty sure he's Vietnamese and during that time it was the Vietnam War so you can imagine. It brought some tension to the story and that added on to the secret the people of Corrigan had to deal with you can say they were very "aware" of what was going on around them. With the discrimination of race they were ignorant and bigots but what do you expect?

It's not really a secret about what Charlie discovers because you find out right away but I don't want to give it away. You realize how really messed up it is towards the end. I don't think there was that much time spent on it. It was there but it wasn't pursued that much by the characters like I thought it should have. This book could be somewhat crude in the way the characters spoke. Again it's a very "boy" book. I kind of feel like I missed something towards the end but most of the book I enjoyed. The characters were very the same because they were all outsiders. You could tell they were different from what the rest of the Corrigan's were like which wasn't a bad thing because who wants to be a racist?

This story also had to deal with Charlie's family. His mother was very bitter and I could see her anger. You know when you get angry you get this face. It's not a very pretty face because well you are angry. I could see that ugliness on her face. A lot of the story felt like it was about Charlie, his family, his friend, and what he was feeling about what he discovered. I was pleased with this story and where it went. It left me thinking about racism back when the majority of people were very ignorant about that subject. It made me think of justice too and what constitutes justice. It had some flaws but when it all said and done I am happy I was able to discover Charlie and read his story.

Bonus: Jasper Jones Cake! from Silvey's Facebook

For more info about Craig Silvey and his books go to:

6 comments:

  1. Charlie sounds like an interesting character and I am curious to know what secret he has to keep. I have heard of this book- but I didn't know much about it. Thanks for sharing! What a cool cake! :)

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    1. Aha! That was the point by not telling you (;
      It's an Aussie book so that's probably why.

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  2. I've never heard of this book before. I like old fashioned books set in the 60's but I'm not so sure about this one seeing that its so "boy." The book cake at the end is awesome! I'm going to pin it on my bookish cakes Pinterest board =)

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  3. I've heard a lot of great things about this book! I'm glad to see you enjoyed it, too. I didn't realise some racial issues were handled in this, but I think it makes me all the more curious. Plus Jasper Jones himself sounds utterly fascinating. I hope I can meet him and Charlie soon. Fantastic review!

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    1. There was some racial issues that were brought about. It's set in the 1960's so that makes sense. Thanks Sam (:

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