I first read 'On The Jellicoe Road' in 2006. I had been DYING for it's release ~ and can still remember how tingly and giddy I felt as I walked home w...moreI first read 'On The Jellicoe Road' in 2006. I had been DYING for it's release ~ and can still remember how tingly and giddy I felt as I walked home with my copy. Back then, I had 3 kids under 5 and couldn't wait for them to get in bed so I could curl up and savour my new Melina Marchetta.
On The Jellicoe Road is notorious for people finding the beginning confusing ~ and I have seen lovers of the book urge people to persevere to find it's magic.
It was not like that for me. From the first chapter ~ I was spellbound. I remember thinking it was beautiful and haunting and funny and so entirely utterly appealing ~ the prose and the mystery and the characters. I guess I did feel a little like: what is going on? But not in a distracting way. It was absorbing and engaging and mesmerising. And entirely unexpected.
I LOVED how gorgeously chaotic the story initially felt. I knew NOTHING about it ~ I even wondered if Santangelo would be the love interest in the early days (which quickly flew from my mind as Jonah's (JONAH!) story started unravelling).
I LOVE that I knew nothing about it. Not one review, not one opinion. I had my expectations of awesomeness (it was, after all, a Melina Marchetta and I had read (and re-read) her previous two books countless times.
Reading it blindly was a stunning experience: I felt like the whole world was just me and the book. That the entire experience was mine. That no one had gone before me. That the story was for me and I was a part of the story. I still feel like that, in a way. I see others discovering it and loving it and I am SO proud of it (as if, somehow, it is mine, haha) ~ but a small part of me feels like it belongs uniquely to me. More to me than anyone else (I know this is a ridiculous sentiment, but I still feel it). I almost feel private about it ~ as if it has become a part of me and talking about is like letting others peek into my soul.
That very first time: I read it all in one go. I was shattered and absorbed and breathless and incredulous. I fell in love with the characters and the prose and the setting. I still recall finishing the book and how I felt gutted and euphoric and in awe all at once. Too stunned to cry (even though it would have been lovely to weep), I lay in my bed for an hour, just thinking about it. And then ... I picked it up and started reading it from the beginning all over again.
Since then, I have read it every year (sometimes more than once). It has never lost it's magic. It weaves itself deeper into me. It is my own personal cult book <3
It seems ridiculous that I have not reviewed my favourite book of all time. I think I just feel entirely too inadequate to be up the the task. I also feel like it is such a part of me that I want to hold it close and not share it with the world. Yet another part of me feels like I could talk about it all day long and never tire of things to say and quotes to quote.
This isn't a review, per se.
It is me, humbly telling you, that 'On The Jellicoe Road' is my favourite book of all time. It is brilliant and hopeful and ache-y and truly soul-changing. It is the kind of chaotically gorgeous masterpiece that you only ever-so-rarely stumble across. It is perfect in it's brilliance. It radiates life and hope even as it is filled with grief and sorrow. It is everything, everything , I love about reading, in such a way that it almost ruined me for other books ;) I am completely undone for it. (less)
I love Frankie and Will and Tom and all the gang. Her characters are flawed and daring and real and Australian. This book is funny and touching and a...moreI love Frankie and Will and Tom and all the gang. Her characters are flawed and daring and real and Australian. This book is funny and touching and a story of families, depression, growing up, love and hope. And I love how Melina gifted us with a sequel, The Piper's Son. I could read about her characters for years...
This book was a favourite before Id even finished it :)(less)
Guitar Highway Rose by Brigid Lowry is one of my most favourite nostalgia books <3
it came out when I was 17 and in my final year of high school.
i...moreGuitar Highway Rose by Brigid Lowry is one of my most favourite nostalgia books <3
it came out when I was 17 and in my final year of high school.
i loved it.
my mates loved it.
i carried it around with me.
i wanted to be Rosie. i crushed on Asher.
i doodled all the little icons out of it into my journal.
i answered some of the profile-y parts in my journal, too :)
it's such a perfect teenagery book.
it's about crushes and first love. running away. a road trip. a kombi van. hippies. it sweet and quirky. funny and gorgeous. and very zen-alternative-byron-bay-esque.
it's gorgeously Australian.
it is experimental in structure: the story told from all POV's: Rosie and Asher and a narrator and their parents ...
Asher is all stream-of-consciousness with no punctuation.
other parts are all the little tidbits of their lives.
how much do i love it now? it was an ultimate favourite for me 14 years ago. it's still gorgeous and addictive and makes my heart swell when I flick through it. it reminds me of myself, as a teenager (not necessarily the characters, but how i felt and how i felt reading this book for the first time). i LOVE how different and arty it is (i do not know many books like it). it's still 5 stars from me ~ for being everything i wanted a book to be and more when I was younger.
i re-read this last month. i just got it back on my shelf ~ yesterday~ after loaning it to two sisters: 11 and 13 years old who LOVED it. i recced it to an adult friend of mine (in the US) last year, and she adored it too <3
this review is much more informal and chatty (although, it is my review and i'll chat books in whatever format i like ;).
as a bonus, i took some pics of random parts of the book so you could see how it is a little bit different ... captions/explanations under the images :)
asher has dreadlocks :D rosie tries to make them ~ by putting wax in her hair O.o
lily is rosie's mum. she is having her own little freak-out due to what lily has gone and done...
this is what asher and rosie did while they were on their road trip (for part of it. for the bliss part... ;)
top of page: asher sending a post card to his byron bay friends middle: a slice of character profiles, very awesome bottom: a wednesday diary for rosie
more of how the story moves forward in it's own funky/cool way including: snippet from LIVING WITH TEENAGERS (which rosie's mum is reading. her and rosie are getting all rock in their relationship) what asher packs to run away sightings at the local bus station strange signs they see on the way rosie's thoughts while on the bus <3
what rosie and asher talk about, under a tree, while on their road trip (next section, we see all their answers to the questions)
it is my own personal aussie YA cult classic kind of book :)(less)
I adored this book. It's funny (silly-grin-on-your-face-half-the-time-you're-reading-it-funny) and it produced the occasional snort of laughter (and I...moreI adored this book. It's funny (silly-grin-on-your-face-half-the-time-you're-reading-it-funny) and it produced the occasional snort of laughter (and I'm not a snorter, even at the best of times). It's utterly charming, really. I just love Gemma, whole-heartedly. She's dramatic and honest and comes from a crazy but genuine Aussie family and I would so be best friends with her (you would be, too). When she stuffs up, I really felt that little sinking feeling in my stomach along with her.
Plus, Raven De Head.
Stroke of genius, that name. Haha.
He is one of the coolest fleshed out love interests ever. Seriously. He is so unpretentious. Somehow, his bad boyness is not at all cliché, but rather heart-wrenchingly honest. I loved the scenes with Raven and the De Head family. The whole De Head family really struck a chord with me. One of those families that have a bad reputation, multiple wrecked cars on the front lawn, a brother in jail and the whole town against them. I actually ached for the boys, so sweet, but all tough exterior. And I could see why Gemma struggled with becoming friends with them. There's one fight scene at the De Head house that is so well done, I swear, I was in that room, wide-eyed and scared alongside Gemma.
This book was short-listed for the Children's Book Council of Australia awards (Australia's biggest annual award) and lost out to Margo Lanagan's red Spikes. It is very Australian - Aussie humour and a heap of our slang. Who doesn't love Aussie humour ;)?
Here's a quote from the School Library Journal that sums it up nicely: "Shanahan's quirky characters are a riot, but the depth of Gemma's growth and heartbreak is genuinely profound." —Terri Clark(less)