Book Reviews

Book Review: Jasper Jones

The year is 1965. The season is summer. The place is a little regional mining town called Corrigan. In Australia. This is where 13 year old Charlie Bucktin, our narrator, lives with his parents. Charlie is a teenager who prefers spending his time reading and writing at home, hanging out with his best mate Jeffrey Lu playing cricket or talking about a million different things, performing well at school, while at the same time having a crush on Eliza Wishart from his year. He leads a pretty normal life with his studious father and frustrated mother, toeing the line all the time, whilst being bullied at school for being a nerd.

However, everything changes the night Jasper Jones knocks urgently on his window. Jasper is a social outcast in Corrigan. He is of mixed-race and tends to keep to himself. Jasper is the one every parent blames if their child gets into trouble since the immediate assumption is that their child was with Jasper Jones. An alcoholic father, a mother who died when he was aged 2. That’s all Jasper Jones has. And Charlie has never really known Jasper Jones. So when he sets out with Jasper in the middle of the night to his secret glade in the bush, Charlie is confronted by Jasper’s horrible discovery. Laura Wishart. The shire president’s older daughter. Dead. Beaten. Hanging from a tree.

Jasper Jones is not guilty. But he knows what this looks like. And he knows who will be blamed. And so, with Charlie’s help, he wants to find out who did this to Laura. Charlie, who has so far led a pretty quiet life, is now burdened with this secret and the urge to help Jasper at the same time. Can they find out who really killed Laura? Or will Jasper Jones once again be made the scapegoat?

The book is beautifully written from Charlie’s point of view. There are several laughs throughout the book. Jeffrey is a hilarious character and a great mate for Charlie. Their ribbing and teasing will definitely keep you smiling. Their hypotheticals are over the top. And I especially loved their discussion on the most courageous superhero. They are not just two 13-year-olds having a laugh. They are two intelligent 13-year-olds having a laugh. With substance to some of their conversations. Charlie’s awkwardness with Eliza will probably bring back memories of your own crushes and how you were around them when you were Charlie’s age.

But the book is not all laughs, of course. Issues such as injustice, racism, narrow-mindedness, and the crazy world of adults are all revealed through the eyes of a 13-year-old in a very delicate and sensitive manner. Charlie questions why some of his school mates exclude Jeffrey Lu who is by far, the best spinner and a good batsman, from their cricket team just because of his ethnic background. He wonders why his father is spineless and his mother so bitter. And why people judge Jasper Jones harshly when in reality he hasn’t hurt anyone. Jasper is symbolic of the scapegoat in society. The one people love to hate. For what reason? No one knows.

The ending could have been a bit better in my opinion but I wasn’t too disappointed given that the rest of the book was outstanding. There were also some sections I wanted to know more about. A lot more about. Such as Laura Wishart’s history. But on the whole, I thoroughly enjoyed this book and would highly recommend it to others.

Jasper Jones, the novel by Craig Silvey, is about the musings of the world by a 13-year-old boy. Who after seeing what he has, loses his innocence. And loses his faith in the goodness of human beings.

Go read it.

My rating:

Until next time,


P.S. This review has been cross-posted at Bond with Books. Check out the blog for more reviews by other bloggers, book discussion and beautiful covers.

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  • Nalini Hebbar
    20 October 2010 at 4:44 am

    Sounds great…Kids should read such books…it would broaden their outlook.

  • celestialrays
    20 October 2010 at 10:59 am

    Looks like a good read!

  • nomadicbark
    20 October 2010 at 9:05 pm

    You give the book a rating of 5 out of what? 5 or 10?

  • Harini
    21 October 2010 at 6:49 am

    Sounds good. There are so many books I want to read :).

  • Bikramjit
    21 October 2010 at 3:00 pm

    Sorry about the last comment the cut past gone wrong …

    As i said each time i come to this blog there is a book that i want to read.. so many to read and so less time


  • moviesandsongs365
    24 October 2010 at 1:54 pm

    I thought I would leave my first comment, as I recently became a follower of your blog. Feel free to stop by my blog any time ( :

    This novel sounds great.Only thing is, is it suitable for adults, am I too old being 29 ?

  • Psych Babbler™
    15 November 2010 at 9:57 am

    @ Nalini: I’m not sure if it’s a book for kids to be honest…maybe 17-18 year olds but wouldn’t think younger than that. But it’s definitely a great book even for adults despite the protagonist being a teenager…

    @ celestialrays: Definitely is Divz! Let me know what you think about it if you do get your hands on it…

    @ nomadicbark: Sorry…it’s been corrected. Out of 5. 🙂 And welcome!

  • Psych Babbler™
    15 November 2010 at 9:59 am

    @ Harini: Hehe…tell me about it! My to-read list keeps growing by the day…

    @ Bikramjit: No worries…cut and paste ignored! 😛 And you know what, with all the book reviews I read on blogs my list keeps growing too…

    @ moviesandsongs365: Welcome to the blog! This book is for adults despite the protagonist being a teenager. Wouldn’t recommend young teens to read it…probably over 16s are okay. But I’m 26 and I loved it! 🙂

  • nomadicbark
    13 December 2010 at 8:12 am

    You give the book a rating of 5 out of what? 5 or 10?

  • Harini
    13 December 2010 at 8:12 am

    Sounds good. There are so many books I want to read :).