Late in 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 looks 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.
So, I actually have a funny story about how I came to read this book – well, probably not funny, but not the usual story of just finding it in the book store or going and getting it so you can read it before you watch the movie.
I wanted the book immediately, since I had two parents and a brother who were all eligible to drive me, and even if they were all busy, I could get the bus. My mum agreed to take me, but decided to call the book store beforehand to make sure they had it in. And even better, they had signed copies! From the author and the director! And they were movie covers!
Sorry, I just happen to like to collect the movie additions of books. But anyway, we put one on hold, rushed down to the store, and I got my book. I then went and found a quiet place to read in the shopping centre while my parents went grocery shopping. And that is where our story starts…
It took me about two week to read this book, it was truly addicting I promise you, but I just had tests and assignments to worry about, which really I still do – I have seven to worry about! But I’m not here to talk about exams, I’m here to talk about the book.
This book is truly amazing, and if I had to pick a book that should be read by every Australian, it is this book. It’s like an Australian To Kill A Mockingbird. I loved every bit of it, an the way the author writes is breathtaking. I can only dream to write as well as him one day.
And the mystery! I was hooked from the beginning. And then things get revealed that you didn’t even know were hidden!
Gosh, I loved this book. And I really liked Charlie’s character, and I feel like any reader can relate to him.
It also makes the racism feel a lot more real, when its in your own backyard, as opposed to To Kill A Mockingbird, where you could just tell yourself that “oh, thats over in America, far far away.” You really get to understand the racism that was against Aboriginals and half-casts at that time, and even today.
I feel like everyone needs to know the story of Jasper Jones.