Publisher: Penguin Australia
Publish Date: June 26, 2007
Genre: Young Adult
Synopsis: My father took one hundred and thirty two minutes to die.
‘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?
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
That was an amazing story.
To break the rules of writing a story and bring you somewhere you would never have thought to go. To feel so many raw emotions that you don’t really know what to do with them. To make me cry, love, fear, and laugh throughout and consistently feel like there’s something more. To read the last words on the last page and feel like you want to read it all over again. That’s what I am feeling right now, as I dream about the house on the Jellicoe road.
Those were my initial words when I wrote this review, and I still feel that way now. I do not feel that I could truly give On the Jellicoe Road enough justice with this review. For now, I will just gush its praises in hopes that if you have not yet read this masterpiece, you will soon.
The synopsis is the epilogue to the story. It is powerful, yet a little understated in regards to the rest of the story. The first chapter starts in a different point of view, and at first glance, has nothing to do with that epilogue. I was confused at first, but like others have said, you have to escape your earlier rules about reading and let go of trying to figure anything out. Let your heart take over and simply go along for the ride.
The story revolves around Taylor Markham, who is in a boarding school because of a non-existent father and a mother who abandoned her at a young age. The school is in a game of territory wars with the Cadets and the Townies. Taylor has just been appointed the leader of the school and the heads of the houses. She feels unsure of this responsibility, unsure if it is because of the responsibility or that she does not care. Her friend, mentor, and somewhat of a mother figure, Hannah has disappeared and no one will tell her where she is. A cadet from the past, Jonah Griggs has resurfaced due to the territory wars, and he is a reminder of a certain moment, a long time ago.
In Jellicoe Road, Taylor’s life interweaves with stories written by Hannah. This is the part that originally had me confused. I originally tried to piece everything together, attempting to match up the characters in Hannah’s stories with the main characters in Marchetta’s story. Don’t try to do that. Instead, simply take it for what it is, a different story. Once you do that, you will open yourself up to feeling the emotions that each character brings to the story. You will then also see the brilliance in Marchetta’s writing.
Marchetta creates a world that you simply want to get lost in. She creates characters that you want to become or be best friends with. Each character is so complex and real that they individually bring a deep emotion that you cannot escape from. I cried with each one of these characters, and cried again when the book was finished. The relationships that each character has with each other seems so real that you aren’t just reading about it, you are living it.
On the Jellicoe Road has been one of the most powerful and emotionally invested book that I have read, in a long time. It has everything that you want and even more. Very few books have that special ingredient that Marchetta has brought to the table. And with this being my first Marchetta book, I am now on a mission to read her other books.
I suggest, urge, beg, plead to everyone out there that they read On the Jellicoe Road. You will be transported into a wonderful world with characters that will forever live in your heart.