Jasper Jones by Craig Silvey is one of my best-loved books! I have read it three times (now in the middle of my fourth) and listened to the audio version twice. I have done this not over the space of the last last seven years since it was first published, but in the last two years.
Unlike many people I didn’t rush out to read it when it came out in 2009. It was a bestseller, and has gone on to win and be shortlisted for multiple awards. I ignored all this hype – and many recommendations from colleagues – and didn’t read it until a few years later. I am very much a person who will read a book when I am in the right mood. Now though, Jasper Jones is like an old, beloved friend!
Every time I read the first line “Jasper Jones has come to my window”, I feel a sense of calm come over me. This is what I need to read now, and I know I will enjoy every word. By no means am I implying Jasper Jones is a light read; it isn’t. It deals with some heavy subject matter. But what sets it apart from other books is the voice of the storyteller; 13-year-old Charlie. He is honest, raw and human.
When Jasper Jones comes to Charlie’s window one hot and humid night in 1965, Charlie unwittingly shares Jasper’s horrible discovery. How Charlie copes with this discovery, deals with life in a small rural mining town and the normal confusion of an early teen is a huge part of the story. But there is so much more; I will leave you to find that out for yourself. I seem to discover a new aspect every time I read it! This time it was Charlie’s relationship with his mother I found really compelling. I can’t wait to see what I discover the next time I read it – because I know there will be a next time.
P.S. The conversation Charlie and his friend Jeffrey have concerning super heroes is hilarious! I laugh harder every time I read it.