Thursday, October 21, 2010

Review: Jellicoe Road by Melina Marchetta

GoodReads Description: My father took one hundred and thirty two minutes to die.

‘I counted.

‘It happened on the Jellicoe Road. The prettiest road I’d ever seen, where trees made breezy canopies like a tunnel to Shangri-La. We were going to the ocean, hundreds of kilometres away, because I wanted to see the ocean and my father said that it was about time the four of us made that journey. I remember asking, “What’s the difference between a trip and a journey?” and my father said, “Narnie, my love, when we get there, you’ll understand,” and that was the last thing he ever said.

‘We heard her almost straight away. In the other car, wedged into ours so deep that you couldn’t tell where one began and the other ended. She told us her name was Tate and then she squeezed through the glass and the steel and climbed over her own dead – just to be with Webb and me; to give us her hand so we could clutch it with all our might. And then a kid called Fitz came riding by on a stolen bike and saved our lives.

‘Someone asked us later, “Didn’t you wonder why no one came across you sooner?”

‘Did I wonder?

‘When you see your parents zipped up in black body bags on the Jellicoe Road like they’re some kind of garbage, don’t you know?

‘Wonder dies.’

My Thoughts: Holy sheet. What to say about this book...I've put off writing this review, because I don't really know how to describe it in a coherant fashion.

For the first 150 pages or so, I was absolutely lost. I contemplated giving up several times and could not keep up with how disjointed this story was. Melina Marchetta wasted absolutely no time diving right into the guts of the plotline, offering exceedingly little explanation. At times, I felt like I was nodding along with a conversation about quantum physics or (cringe) politics, while posses no prior knowledge of the subject. Thank God my GR friends encouraged me to keep on reading.

Marchetta is a beautiful, poetic writer. There are so many quotes within this novel that I want to write down in a notebook and keep with me at all times, or have tattooed somewhere discreet. They're that profound. She nailed the complexity aspect of this novel. I did need some further discussion and explanation following my completion of the book, so I could make sure that I actually understood what happened, but once I was clued into each detail, I was blown away. There are so many different interwoven layers within Jellicoe Road. I highly suggest, at the advice of AJ from Collections, to keep a sheet of paper with you and write the characters names down in order to keep them straight. This might sound silly, but it would've helped me so much more if I'd have done this!

Taylor Markham is a fantastic female lead. She is independent and loyal. She has a bit of a temper, but that just makes her colorful. I thought at the beginning that she was kind of frigid towards some of the girls within her House, but she can't help it. Taylor had so much love and affection within herself, but came off emotionally constipated, likely due to her tragic past and difficulty with those close to her.

I loved, loved, LOVED the progression of the relationship between Jonah and Taylor. Jonah is so incredibly romantic <3 I will definitely go back and re-read some of his lines whenever I need a good swoon. I loved them because there was an underlying affection, even though both of them were supposed to be die-hard enemies. The two fit so perfectly together, like some heart-shaped puzzle piece (so corny, I know. It's late.) I want more of these two, yet I'm 100% satisfied with their situation and how the story ended.

The story of Narnie, Tate, Fitz, Webb, and Jude is a heartbreaking one. Again, I can't say much about these five without giving away a rather significant portion of the story, but this bunch claimed my heart and ran with it. Jellicoe Road and all of its characters were filled with this all-encompassing love for one another, that I could feel my heart swelling even though I had tears streaking down my face. I don't think I've ever read so many characters that possessed such selfless, genuine love for one another. And the best part? It wasn't cheesy at all. It felt real.

You know what else felt real? The angst. The heartbreak. The losses. And there's quite a bit of each category in this one. Be prepared. Surround yourself with a few boxes of Kleenex.

I will definitely be reading more of Marchetta's work in the future, but am slightly intimidated that all her stories will be as complex as this one. Truly, though, her writing is so wonderful that the brain-busting will be worth it.

Rating: 4/5

Series: Standalone.
Source: I purchased this book.
Published: Penguin Australia, 419 pages (June 26, 2007)

Learn more about Melina: Website | GoodReads



    I am SO glad you loved this one because it's like ONLY one of my all time favourites. And omg sahhh-wooooon or what? Jonah is so friggin hot, especially when he wears that uniform. I turned into a total cougar when I read this one because holy crap I have never wanted to make out with a book character so much in all my life!

    I agree about Marchetta's writing, her words, they are magic. Thats the only way I can describe them. Magical.

  2. Jonah Griggs? Yes, please.

    Agreed--the first half of this book is like "what the what?" Then you work it all out and all that nonsense was SO worth it.

    PS: Sometimes I worry about Carla. I fear she may be making out with books when no one's watching.

  3. I can see how you were somewhat lost at the beginning of the book. After reading the Goodreads synopsis I was thoroughly confused, but immediately felt better when you said you were lost as well haha!

    This sounds like a great book to read when you can devote the time and patience to it. And great idea with writing down the characters. I don't know how many times I've had to flip back to remember who the heck that person was.

    As always, another fantastic review :)

  4. I've been DYING to read this and your review only confirms that! Good thing I got a Borders gift card for my birthday! :)

  5. LOL I so agree with Carla. XD

    Awesome review! :)

  6. ANNA! who told you i've been making out with books? it's LIES, lies I tell you!

  7. What a Jellicoe Road sounds like one I'd enjoy! I'll add it to my ever-growing list.

  8. On The Jellicoe Road is my favourite book of all time (thanks to A.J.). Glad you enjoyed it Jen. And all of her books are amazing :)

  9. I've heard that this book is amazing. I'll have to check it out for myself!

  10. I really liked Jellicoe Road too. I just couldn't put it down. Have you read Finnikin of the Rock yet? It's fantasy and is a total departure for Marchetta. It's REALLY really good. If you liked JR, you should try Finnikin next.