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JASPER JONES is a coming of age story about Charlie Bucktin, a bookish boy of 14. On the night that Jasper Jones, the town's mixed race outcast shows him the dead body of young Laura Wishart, Charlie's life is changed forever. Entrusted with this secret and believing Jasper to be innocent, Charlie embarks on a dangerous journey to find the true killer. Set over the scorching summer holidays of 1969, Charlie defeats the local racists, faces the breakup of his parents and falls head over heels in love as he discovers what it means to be truly courageous.
I read this book after seeing Belvoir's mesmeric stage production, which so perfectly captured the claustrophobia of a small town in Western Australia in the 1960s. No movie was ever going to manage that and, as much as I love Toni Collette and Hugo Weaving I would have loved to see the same cast in the movie as I saw onstage. That said I couldn't help but become entwined in the lives of these young people and their community. Themes of racism, domestic violence and marriage breakdown are handled openly but sensitively. This story reminds of another favourite, 'The Curious Incident of The Dog in the Night Time'. If you like this book then I recommend 'Jasper Jones'.
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