Jasper Jones is an Australian novel written by Craig Silvey, from the opening line Craig Silvey puts the reader right in the action. Jasper Jones is written in the first person from Charlie Bucktin’s point of view, he is a teenage boy living in a country town called Corrigan. The novel starts when Jasper Jones pays Charlie an unexpected visit in the middle of the night. And the novel tells the story of how Charlie’s life changes from that moment on. Charlie’s recollection of events is shared honestly, making the story both tangible and humorous.
The font cover of ” Jasper Jones” The novel was short listed for the Miles Franklin award in 2010. Jasper Jones is a page turner a ‘whodunit’. Craig Silvey has created a tightly crafted novel and Jasper’s arrival foreshadows the beginning of the hero’s journey for Charlie. From the opening page Charlie and the reader want to know why, Jasper has come to his room in the middle of the night? The action of the story starts immediately. Charlie is a teenager who has never snuck away from home, the fact that Jasper has sort him out is both thrilling and ominous.
Jasper asks Charlie if he is ready! “What? Ready for what? ” Jasper doesn’t give any details, “I tole you. I need your help, Come on. ” Craig Silvey via his characters, raises engaging story questions to keep the reader involved. Charlie is conflicted, he tells us he is excited yet afraid, this inner conflict also adds to the drama of the first chapter, as we also get a sense of who these characters are. The scene is set in the first chapter, Charlie is following Jasper through the town, and like Charlie the reader has no idea where they are headed.
Charlie describes where they are, and as he thinks the reader is introduced to the key characters in the town. Every detail raised in the opening chapter is paid off either in the first chapter or by the end of the novel. We learn about Charlie’s dreams and about the social currency of the small-minded Australian town, called Corrigan. Charlie’s thoughts give us important back story. For example they stop out the front of Mad Jack Lionel’s place, which Charlie hopes is not their destination.
The reader learns about the local urban myth surrounding Mad Jack Lionel. And how to raise your social status in town- by stealing peaches from Mad Jack’s tree. This back story helps set up the story themes; of truth, courage and coming of age. Jasper Jones, explores dynamic relationships of love, friendship, loyalty and abuse. The characters are strong with a terrific commaraderie between Jeffery and Charlie. It is well worth a look, it’s not just for young adults but for adults who love reading a book that you can’t put down.