Tuesday, 28 February 2012

Review: On the Jellicoe Road by Melina Marchetta


Oh boy. Ive been putting off writing this review, partly because I just dont think Ill be able to do justice to this wonderful book. And also

Seriously. So many emotions. To the point where every time Ive tried to write this review in my head*, Ive been unable to form coherent sentences. I just have all these FEELINGS. All I can think is oh, the heartbreak! The pain! The love! The awesomeness! The flashbacks! The mystery! The beautiful, beautiful language! The characters! Raff! Taylor! WEBB! FITZ! JONAH MOTHER EFFING GRIGGS!


So, yeah, thats whats been going on with me. Im going to try to be slightly more articulate, but please forgive me if every so often I resort to crying in the corner.

I didnt know a helluva lot going into On the Jellicoe Road, other than the fact that its supposed to be freaking awesome and Jonah Griggs is amazeballs, if the blogosphere is anything to go by (which it totally is, natch). I knew it centred around a girl whod been abandoned at a 7/11 by her mum, that it involved some kind of territory wars, and that it told two stories simultaneously – one in the past and one in the present. I have to say, not knowing any more than that was a really good thing. While it was initially a little disconcerting to have no idea what was going on, it made the mystery and the final revelations all the more powerful. One of the best parts of On the Jellicoe Road was the way the plot was slowly unraveled and everything began to click into place, as the events of the past and present converged. There are so many amazing twists in the plot, and the way theyre revealed in a non-linear manner is very effective – and totally heartbreaking.


Ahem. Yes, this book is incredibly sad. But – importantly - its not depressing. There's a big dose of tragedy in there, but its also filled with hope, healing and even a touch of humour. The very reason its so sad is also part of its warmth, as there's a strong sense of connection with the characters. Like all Marchettas novels, On the Jellicoe Road features chracters who are extremely strong, realistic, unique and, well, downright amazing. I loved them all – but I especially adored the five in Hannahs story. It was so interesting to see the way they were intertwined with Taylors story. And did I mention it was heartbreaking?

This is one of those books that stays with you for days after finishing it (and possibly longer – Ill keep you posted). Partly because of the characters. Partly because of all the twists and turns in the plot. But mostly because everything is so bloody perfect.

Rating: 5/5

*Random side note: Does anybody else write things out in their head before putting anything on the page/screen?

Spoilery talking points

  •  I was shocked at what happened to Webb. SUCH a good twist. Poor Fitz! I really want to know how/when he figured out what actually happened. Sob.
  • Im so glad that, by pure coincidence, I read To Kill a Mockingbird immediately before On the Jellicoe Road. Its not a prerequisite, but it did make the references to the Mrs Dubose situation all the more meaningful.
  •  I loved the way everything was connected – even seemingly random things turn out to be deliberate and tie in perfectly, but not in a forced way. Like Taylors dream boy, the serial killer, the postman in Yass, the tunnel, the purple book sigh.


Eye candy
Marchetta has written the film script for Jellicoe (squee!) and Cathy Randall is attached to direct, but there's no word yet on the cast. I pictured Marny Kennedy as Taylor and Liam Hemsworth as Jonah.



Related
I'll never hear 'Flame Trees' in the same way again. I know Webb would've been listening to the original by Cold Chisel, but I love Sarah Blasko's version.


Fine Print
Genre: Young Adult
Published: 2006, Penguin
Get It: Abe Books

38 comments:

  1. I write all my reviews in my head, unfortunately it never comes out the same, when I type them out... Otherwise, this is such is awesome review!

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  2. I'm totally nervous when I get near this book. I'm not sure if I'm ready for that brand of heartbreaking. Still, you're not the first to point out its awesomeness, so perhaps I'll give it a whirl in the near future.

    Asher

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    1. It's definitely worth a read - heartbreaking, but worth it.

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  3. SO BLOODY PERFECT. That could really be the whole review, couldn't it? And I think everyone who's already read it would just know that you were so right :) Jellicoe Road really is a masterpiece.

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    1. Ha, yeah, it sums it up quite well. Way more coherent than all my FEELINGS. ;D

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  4. Jonah Mother Effing Griggs.

    I think that's all I need to say.

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  5. I love this review!! I've read a couple of Melina's other books and I do own this one but I haven't read it yet because I feel it's the sort of book you have to mentally prepare for....especially after reading your review and seeing all those .gifs...I will absolutely read it soon though because I LOVE her writing SO much.
    Thanks for stopping by my blog!

    The Cait Files

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    1. It will definitely make you emotional, so you have to be prepared for that. But it's worth it, the writing is just gorgeous.

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  6. Wonderful review! It was so emotional, and charged, I was getting so much energy off of it! Loved those .gifs too; they were hilarious! As for writing in your head, I actually write it down in my notebook before typing it up ^_^

    Oh! I'm a new follower!! <3
    Vivian @ Vivaciously, Vivian

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  7. New follower via book blogs, thought I would say hi! Trev @ trevsliteraryreview.blogspot.com

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    1. Hi Trev! Thanks for stopping by.

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  8. I loved this book so much. This is my favorite YA book ever.

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    1. It's one of the best, that's for sure.

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  9. Brill review, Belle! One of my favourite aspects is the unravelling of the plot. And I definitely felt emotionally-drained for days after I'd finished OtJR

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    1. Thanks! Yep it's still haunting me.

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  10. I LOVED this book - it's actually now one of my favourite books of all time. And you're so right when you said that was sad, but not depressing. Sigh... Melina Marchetta is amazing.

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    1. It's definitely up there for me too. Just brilliant.

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  11. Ahhhh this one just came in to the library for me so I'm going to pick it up tomorrow morning! Must read! I only skimmed your review because I didn't want to really know anything about it because that has worked so well for me with Francesca and Thomas so far! Will come back and re-read again when I'm done.

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    1. I think that's a wise course of action - the less you know about this one, the better!

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  12. YES! You're right. Jonah Griggs is amazeballs! And can you imagine if Liam played Jonah. I would die!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Please, you fabulous Aussie people, make this happen.

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    1. I think it needs to be Liam, or an unknown. I couldn't really think of any other young Aussies who'd fit the bill.

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  13. Okay, I really need to catch up on my Melina Marchetta. I stopped at Alibrandi, would you believe?

    Anywho, just wanted to chime in to say that I love your fabulous GIFs on this post! The emotions, indeed! :)

    Steph

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    1. Oh you really do need to catch up! I've only done so recently myself but each book I read just gets better and better (and Alibrandi was a pretty great starting point!)

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  14. I just popped over from the Aussie Challange Site. I have never heard of the author before and I'm glad I stopped by and discovered your review. I would really like to read it. It sounds like an emotional rollercoaster.

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    1. She's one of my favourite authors, I HIGHLY recommend :)

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  15. Nice review! Here's mine if you don't mind: http://lorxiebookreviews.blogspot.com/2012/09/jellicoe-road-by-melina-marchetta.html

    Thanks and have a nice day! =D

    P.S. I LOVE HOW YOU WRITE YOUR REVIEW! You are hilarious. :* =new follower=

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  16. Possibly I feel slightly creepy stalking your archives, but *grins*
    They're there for a reason, RIIIIGHT?

    This books was just... woah.
    I was majorly burned by Taylor and what she did to the cat (but I'm a little sensitive about, well, cats in particular, and animals and etc and and and *shuts up*) Seriously. The FEELS. The writing. How Melina pulls it together and Webb and Narnie's story woven throughout the background. How non-linear it was made it even more heartbreaking -- seeing those moments of happiness out of order with crushing.

    But... OK, random, what made me want to comment was this: FLAME TREES. The Jimmy Barnes version, well, I heard it a million times growing up, but after finishing the book, I listened to the Sarah Blasko version on loop, also. PERFECT ♥

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    1. Stalk away! :)
      I'm usually very sensitive to animal cruelty and I you're not the only one I know to mention being disturbed by it in this book, but for some reason it didn't affect me here. I don't know, call it the Marchetta magic, I think I devoured this so quickly and had so many feelings, the poor cat got lost for me. I would like to reread it one day, without speeding through it because I know what's going to happen, so I can absorb it all properly.
      I adore Flame Trees! I gotta admit, I love the Barnesy version but the Sarah Blasko one is so beautiful and fits this book so well.

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    2. YESSSS. The Sarah Blasko one is so dreamy and feely and it's the perfect soundtrack for the book ♥

      I really would like to re-read this. I kind of shut down after that. I thought the rest of the book was magnificent so I think, maybe, if I re-read I'll skip it? I mean... seriously. I feel like I'm being a dog with a bone. Despite my 'problem' with it, I gave it 5 stars. It's AMAZING. And how much you love it makes me even more excited ♥

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    3. The thing I love about Melina Marchetta's characters is they're not perfect. They screw up a lot and sometimes do terrible things. But they're true to life - I think that's why they resonate with so many people.
      Maybe we should do a reread readalong? Maybe sometime later in the year?

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    4. "They screw up a lot and sometimes do terrible things. But they're true to life - I think that's why they resonate with so many people."

      YESSSS. She has this knack for showing... humans as they are, good and bad. You know how you can read a book where a 'good' character does something bad, but find it feeling 'justified', when it shouldn't be? I kind of love that about MM. She doesn't justify her characters' failings, or make their bad OK, she doesn't censor their nastiness, but they're so real. Jacob Coote is jumping to mind because I remember him being very imperfect.

      I would LOVE to do a readalong! Seriously tell me when, and I am in. It's one of those books I'd really love to revisit. I'm not going to be so shocked by The Thing this time round and and and ♥♥♥

      Not kidding -- just tell me when ;D

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    5. Awesome! How about March? I know it's a little while away but I'm not quite ready to reread yet. What do you think?

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    6. March sounds good! I read it only a couple of months ago, so a bit more time is good :)

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