Billie's Reviews > On the Jellicoe Road

On the Jellicoe Road by Melina Marchetta
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's review
Feb 28, 2009

liked it
bookshelves: printz-award-books
Read in April, 2009

My rating reflects the kind of reader I have become. This novel is utterly confusing until you get deep into the plot. Once you really realize that there are two stories being told, Taylor's story of her the time when she meets Jonah and forms a deep relationship, and the second is the story of Webb, Tate, Narnie, Fitz and Jude whose lives are interwoven following a tragic accident on Jellicoe Road. What makes the story difficult to follow is the fact that it isn't written in a chronilogical format. The reader, if in a classroom setting, might benefit from keeping notes on the characters or a timeline of events in each character's life. I didn't realize until late in the story that Taylor would meet her mother again, which is the perfect ending to the most confusing story I've read. Making a family tree visual prior to reading in the classroom, would offer meaning for the reader of the families and the conflict that exists.

Marchetta deals with so many themes, it will be a long study for the class who takes on this book. The students or the reader will be forced to think about family relationships and roles. The reader will see many examples of friendships, both good and bad, which will lead to issues of loyalty. I also wanted to know more about the parents of these children. What parenting roles are to be modeled or emulated and what parental roles would we like to broach and forget? Children are often forced, too soon, to deal with the harshness life can offer with death's grief and with the possibility of abandonment by parents for whatever reasons. This would be an incredible book to use in order to study relationships. I would have to recommend that the teacher read it several times so as not to miss the many messages twisted into the plot and to be able to guide the reader through the issues creatively.

Not an easy read is Jellicoe Road, but a most challenging and interesting one. Still, it is not one I would just pick up for pleasure, I would have to have encouragement or pressure if I were a student today. These are relevant topics in the game of life that all adolescents should embrace. This book may be very difficult for the suffering kid. It wouldn't be possible for the struggling reader.

5Q 3P S


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