Jasper Jones

 by CRAIG SILVEY

Many stories have been written about small towns. Corrigan, the country mining town of Silvey’s book is, like many others used in fiction, a microcosm of the larger world – magnified by each of the character’s actions. What Craig Silvey has written, however, stands tall. The book has been likened to Mark Twain and Harper Lee’s work. It can more than hold its own in such company. In some ways it is better. It is certainly more modern.

The central event, around which all the action revolves, occurs early and without fuss. While the richly drawn characters react as facts concerning the missing teenage girl emerge, the town business carries on around them. As a cricket fan I found the dedication to the game, by Jeffrey Lu, the son of a Vietnamese imigrant, delighful. The complex relationship between Charlie, a 13 year old nerd, and Jasper, a year or so older, is beautifully handled. This is a different coming of age book – it is not only a love story, it covers racial prejudice, bullying, unhappiness, sex, mateship and ‘taboo’ subjects in an unobtrusive but wholly convincing manner.

While young adults will no doubt enjoy Jasper Jones it is by no means a teenagers book. This is a book for everyman, to be savoured for the ease of its language and the fullness of its characters. A great read!