Author: Melina Marchetta
Narrator: Rebecca Macauley
Publisher: Bolinda Publishing Pty Ltd
Publication Date: September 1, 2006
Source: purchased audio
Purchase: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Audible
So, everywhere I go, people are fangirling over Melina Marchetta (and her books). I've added several to my own TBR shelf, but until recently, I hadn't made time for them. But then I discovered that there are several of her books up on Audible. Cue the "uh-ohs". ;0)
I'm easing myself into the Melina Marchetta fandom, and I started with one that I'm quite positive everyone has loved. I'll probably pick up Finnikin next...loved her contemporary, so I'm sure I will marvel at her fantasy. Also, I didn't know until I started writing up this review that both Jellicoe and Saving Francesca are being adapted for the big screen. Yes, apparently I do live under a rock. *sigh*
Katiebug already told us this morning what she thought this book was about. And she was correct that the flower is significant. Even thinking about it again threatens tears. From the story-within-a-story aspect to the incredible friendships, this book was absolutely breathtaking. I probably cried much more than was warranted, but the laughs achieved from this book were definitely well-deserved. Sure, the first bit was a tad frustrating as the author sets up the story, but it's supposed to be confusing...you're not supposed to know how these people's lives fit together yet. And I loved that about the story from the very beginning. That while these characters' lives are being splayed open for us, we're also getting glimpses, brief hints of how their lives are all intertwined. And it doesn't start making sense until about half-way through, and by then, you're hooked. You just have to know how they all ended up at the point they're at when we first meet them.
Taylor Markham is the narrator and main character of this story, and I think using the first person point-of-view made this story more real and just plain raw. It's angsty, but not in an overly dramatic, whiney way. There's real heartbreak here, and Taylor Markham has received her share of it. But she's a strong, resilient girl, and it takes a lot before even the reader gets to see the fissures in the hard exterior she wears for the world.
Enter Jonah Griggs. Or rather, re-enter. His presence shakes things up a bit, as does the "battle" between the school, the townies, and the cadets. But nothing rattles Taylor like the book. She might finally have some answers...but is she ready for them?
Rebecca Macauley is fabulous as the narrator for the audiobook. Fabulous. From her accent to her snark, she was the embodiment of Taylor Markham. And she voiced the other characters admirably, as well. I felt like I'd been transported to Jellicoe Road as I listened. It wasn't hard to envision myself there, amongst the feuding teenagers. Not at all.
I can't believe it took me this long to read Jellicoe Road, but I'm glad I finally caved. The love story was well-portrayed, and I enjoyed that the mystery of Taylor Markham was the focal point of the story and not the romance. And the writing...oh, the writing. It was as lyrical as it was sad. And the way Marchetta wove one story into the other was just brilliant. I can't wait to read my next Melina Marchetta novel. She has earned herself a fan for life with Jellicoe Road.