Jellicoe Road by Melina Marchetta This work is considered exceptional by our editorial staff.

October 4, 2013
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Melina Marchetta’s Jellico Road is not an average read. I have to say, I almost gave up on it. It was moving slow and I was confused and getting aggravated. I couldn’t understand how such a lousy book could get such good reviews. It truly is a difficult book to not only read but review as well. For a good two-thirds of the book, I was confused. Then, I reached halfway through the book and I was hooked.

The main character, Taylor Marham, a 17 year old boarding school student and leader, who was abandoned by her mother at age eleven on Jellico road, finds out the people around her, the people she fears, trusts, suspects, hates, loves and even the people who haunt her, are all connected to her in some way. Each page left little tiny clues that didn’t fit together until halfway through the book. I flew through the last 100 pages, in need of answers to all my questions.

Marchetta’s lyrical writing was breathtaking and made the book feel almost spiritual. I reread many lines, admiring the flow of Marchetta's word choice. The style of writing took a little getting used too. Sometimes it was difficult to decipher what was past, present, a hallucination or reality. It did get easier to understand as the book went on. Due to Australian cultural differences, the spelling of certain words differed. For example “realize,” was spelled “realise,” in the book. The story’s setting was in the Australian countryside, and the story stayed true to the cultural identity.

Each chapter revealed more about the characters. Little by little, chapter by chapter, the book came together, like each puzzle piece was finally fitting together. There’s more to the characters than what meets the eye. Marchetta awakened by curiosity, and never once could I predict what would happen next.

I only wish that the beginning moved quicker and was a little more clear, because I am sure many readers didn’t push through the first couple chapters and get to experience such a thoughtful, moving novel.

This book challenged me as a thinker, a reader, and a reviewer. It was all well worth the struggle. Marchetta molded together voices from the past and present into one beautiful story. The past and present connected on Jellicoe Road.

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