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Jupiter Williams by S.I Martin

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The best books are the ones that give you a great story and give you historical information also. Jupiter Williams does exactly that. The book, written by S.I Martin, is based in 1803 London, the centre of slave trade. Jupiter Williams attends the African Academy in Clapham coming from a wealthy Sierra Leone family. He copes with many problems: the conflict with his classmates, the safety of his brother and not to mention the cruelty of his teachers! However he manages to keep his dignity. But being a black boy in London at the time, and with the personality of Jupiter, he was obviously going to face troubles along the way, some more serious than others...

The reason this book is so great is because of the way it grabs your attention and just doesn’t let go. The build up of suspense is just phenomenal. You won’t be able to go to sleep without thinking to yourself ‘What will happen next?’ At the beginning of the story the author uses his clever mind to give little hints about the death of Jupiter’s older brother. This made you want to read on as you wanted to know what actually happened, since it was made so vague. It ended one chapter by saying “Because I killed Patrick. In anger.” With this phrase the author creates an atmosphere which is very mysterious and suspenseful.

Jupiter Williams is written in the form of a first person narration. Which makes you understand Jupiter’s feeling even more. At that moment in time, London was a hard place to live. It was the era of slavery and racial inequality and this book conveyed these ideas perfectly. Mr Unwin, Jupiter’s teacher, is the antagonist in the beginning of the story and he forces Jupiter to let his feelings out. One of the ways his feelings are shown is in letters where Jupiter is writing to his father. This technique is very effective since we can understand his feelings in greater detail and we can also find out details about Jupiter in general. Read this extract and you’ll know what I mean. “Dear Father. I am given to understand that your Christian missions upriver are flourishing and that your timber business continues to forge links of commerce between our country and this.” I’m fascinated by how this one sentence can give you so much information. Straight away you can tell Jupiter comes from a Christian family and that his father owns a business. Moreover, from the language you can tell that Jupiter is well educated and speak very good English. You can also tell this from the speech used in the story as well.

Also to keep it exciting the book uses flash backs. This is another technique that makes it a great book. The flashbacks also fill in quite a few gaps that were not made that clear throughout the story.

My favourite thing about the book is that the characters and the storylines are so believable. They’re not the flawless superheroes you find in fairy tales or anything like that. They act just like you and me and do have their ups and downs and do make mistakes. Therefore the storyline is made so more interesting.

I would recommend this book to boys of 12-13 years of age. This is because you can relate to the story and to what Jupiter can go through. I love this book and I can almost guarantee you will love it too.



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