Nomes's Reviews > On the Jellicoe Road

On the Jellicoe Road by Melina Marchetta
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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 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.
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Quotes Nomes Liked

Melina Marchetta
“I'm very disturbed to find out that the leader of the Townies has a soul and I'm beginning to develop a bit of a crush on him.”
Melina Marchetta, On the Jellicoe Road

Melina Marchetta
“Guess what?' Fitz said.
'I don't know,' Jude said. 'What? Narnie smiled?' He glanced at her for the first time.
'When you guys see a Narnie smile, it's like a revalation,' Webb said, gathering her towards him.
Jude stopped in front of her and, with both hands cupping her face, tried to make a smile. Narnie flinched.
'Leave her alone,' Tate said.
'I need a revelation,' Jude said. 'And you're the only one that can give me one, Narns.”
Melina Marchetta, On the Jellicoe Road

Melina Marchetta
“When I turn around, he cups my face in his hands and he kisses me so deeply that I don't know who is breathing for who, but his mouth and tongue taste like warm honey. I don't know how long it lasts, but when I let go of him, I miss it already.”
Melina Marchetta, On the Jellicoe Road

Melina Marchetta
“This is the best night of my life," Raffy says, crying.
"Raffy, half our House has burnt down," I say wearily. "We don't have a kitchen."
"Why do you always have to be so pessimistic?" she asks. "We can double up in our rooms and have a barbecue every night like the Cadets."
Silently I vow to keep Raffy around for the rest of my life.”
Melina Marchetta, On the Jellicoe Road
tags: humor, ya

Melina Marchetta
“What's with what you're wearing?" Griggs asks while we stand outside waiting for the others.
"It's pretty hideous, isn't it?" I say.
"Don't force me to look at it," he says. "It's see-through."

That kills conversation for a couple of seconds.”
Melina Marchetta, On the Jellicoe Road

Melina Marchetta
Never,' he tells me in a tone full of ice, 'underestimate who or what I care for.”
Melina Marchetta, On the Jellicoe Road


Comments (showing 1-20 of 20) (20 new)

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Jessica I hope to like it as much as you did!


Nomes oh it is my fave book <3

some ppl struggle at the beginning but i even love that part (but it make take you a while to figure out what's going on and how it all connects...)


Jessica I'm really enjoying it so far! I'll let you know my opinion when i'm finished :D


oliviasbooks I did not have to struggle or search for some hidden magic either, Nomes. The book just pulled me into its flow and kept me there. No escape. Pure wonder, pure emotion, raw and real.


Morgan F Awesome review, Nomes. I so need to re-read this.


message 6: by Nomes (last edited Aug 14, 2011 05:43AM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Nomes oh that is awesome olivia. i always fell like everyone struggles at the beginning and my experience must've been foreign to everyone elses :) no one had to coach me through it, i found it incredibly absorbing.

it is one of my fave reading memories. i can still conjour it all up: my bedroom at the time, my babies peacefully sleeping elsewhere, my heart in my throat ;)

@ Morgan: you will have more epiphanies on the re-read, I am sure ;)


message 7: by Alexa (last edited Aug 14, 2011 06:04AM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Alexa This review is perfect review, Nomes!! <3 Exactly how I felt and still feel about it. :')

I first heard about this book on this site. I read the summary and saw the good ratings, but at the time, contemporary didn't interest me all that much. So I didn't bother to add it to my TBR. Then a blogger I follow on here read it & loved it. And I was like, 'Hmm... Guess I should give it a try...' So I added it, and then I don't know...days or a couple weeks later, I was bored out of my mind at the library and decided to go ahead & check it out. Best decision ever!! :D

I didn't find the confusion distracting either. Wanting to prove that I could figure it out was one of the reasons why I picked up the book. I remember thinking before I started, Psh. Please. I'm going to figure this out. LOL It was not as easy as I thought it would be, but the story & characters were still awesome and I enjoyed making my little diagram/chart thingy. :D Another reason I picked it up...I was really intrigued by the 'maddening and magnetic Jonah Griggs' from the summary. hehe This book makes me so happy. X3


Nomes thanks alexa :) i actually LIKED the confusion :D

LOL ~ you made a chart/diagram <3

Maddening and magnetic are the perfect words for Jonah (i am feeling nostalgic for it right now :)_


Alexa This just wouldn't be the same story without the confusion! I'll go so far as to say it wouldn't have been as amazing. It definitely wouldn't have been mind-blowing to me without it.

I even saved the scrap paper with the diagram AND the receipt from the library so that I could remember my first experience with the book! lol XD Don't know where I put 'em though.


Nalnac God Nomes.. you actually made me cry with this review.
What a beautiful love letter to your favourite (lover) book..
If it weren't for you and the "Australian GR gang" (that's how I refer to you, Tina, Nic and the other Aussie girls ;o) ), I would have never known the awesomeness of Marchetta. Thank you, thank you, thank you.. :)


JoJo - JJJ (Jo Anna) Janesko What a heart felt beautifully written review. I have not read this book. Alexa has been sharing her thoughts with me on how it is a must read 8=). I am definitely considering it as the synopsis just hasn't grabbed me however my GR friends words have. So glad you continue to enjoy this book.


message 12: by Nic (new) - rated it 5 stars

Nic Just a gorgeous review Nomes :)


Reynje ^ What Nic said :) This makes me think of the first time I read it too.. If I absolutely had to leave the house, I carried it with me so I could read it in every spare second I had. I don't think there is any book out there quite like Jellicoe Road :)


Nomes ahh, thanks guys :) i thought it was time i actually said *something* about it ~ even though the thought of trying to review it made me feel (woefully) inadequate.

@ alexa ~ i *so* agree the book wouldn't be as awesome if it had a different, more explanatory beginning.

@ jojo ~ i really hope you get a chance to read it :)

@ Nanalla ~ THANK YOU. i felt quite emotional and nostalgic writing the review ;) And I am so happy to be a part of the Aussie "gang"

@ Reynje: it's the PERFECT example of a book you need to kepp near ~ and YES ~ there is no other book like it :)

@ Nic ~ THANKS :D


message 15: by Thebookbutterfly (last edited Aug 14, 2011 09:00PM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Thebookbutterfly Reading this review just makes me want to cry...in a good way of course :) So lovely and gorgeous and beautifully said Nomes.

Jellicoe Road is ultimately the best book I have read in my life and I love that it has found it's way on to so many people's shelves and into their hearts :)


Arlene Beautiful review Nomes. I just finished this book right now and I'm too stunned to write a review, plus my eyes are too watery, my heart is too raw, my brain is too frazzled. I'm a mess!


JoJo - JJJ (Jo Anna) Janesko @Arlene, you watery eyes? I thought you never cried? This sounds like even more of a must read for me.. and I won't even have to go to Fishpond world to buy it.

@Nomes thanks for recommending Fishpond World, I should be receiving my first Aussie book any day now. :=) (If I had a dancing banana I would post it.)


Aly (Fantasy4eva) Nomes, this review is just beautiful. I am so glad that I went ahead and read it. It holds a special place and I still find myself missing the characters at times :)


message 19: by Rebecca (last edited Jul 10, 2012 05:52AM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Rebecca I read this last week and am currently rereading it. I TOTALLY get why you feel that in a way this is your book. I don't think that's ridiculous at all. You read it when it first came out and weren't influenced by other people's opinions and reviews. You read it and it was just YOU and the book, nothing else. I just wanted to say, I've finally experienced On The Jellicoe Road and it is magnificent and I love it and I can now see why you adore it like you do. xx


message 20: by Erin (new) - rated it 5 stars

Erin This is such a powerful review. You're lucky to have found such a 'you' book. I have kind of the opposite relationship with Jellicoe-- I read it so much later than most readers that it feels like everyone else's book that they were generous enough to share with me. Book reviews are such a funny thing that way, because even though they're incredibly helpful, reading too many can sometimes interfere with an organic reading experience. Pros and cons, I guess.


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