Review: Jasper Jones by Craig Silvey

Heart wrenching and uniquely Australian Jasper Jones takes an intimate glimpse at small town life, prejudice and the difference between doing what is expected and doing what is right. The year is 1965. Thirteen year old Charlie Bucktin is woken one night by the mysterious Jasper Jones. A rebellious kid of mixed race, Jasper is an outcast in their small town in Western Australia and often blamed for any wrongdoing or goings on in the town. Intrigued as to why Jasper would want his attention, Charlie follows him to a remote spot out of town where they find a body. Over the course of an unforgiving Australian summer, Charlie finds himself questioning more and more about the town he has grown up in, and the people. He will also face bullying, an abusive parent with a dark secret and witness some terrible racial prejudice. It is a summer that will change him--and his friend Jasper--forever.

As I said at the start of my review, this is a heart wrenching book. Every aspect of small town prejudice is put on display and Charlie, a sensitive kid, finds himself asking more and more questions. In many ways the book reminded me of To Kill a Mockingbird but with an Australia twist and I feel Harper Lee's brilliant novel must surely have been an influence. Parts of the novel are brutal, but the message and lasting impact makes it more than worth it.

Highly recommended.


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