Sunday, 1 February 2009

Mister Pip by Lloyd Jones

Every month I go to a book club that was set up by my avid book reading friend Darcy. I don't always have the time to read the monthly book (although I do try my best!). However, this month I excelled myself and read two books. The choice this month was totally up to us and I chose Crow Lake by Mary Lawson which was very good, and my second choice was Mister Pip by Lloyd Jones. Mister Pip was an exceptional read - a real rollercoaster of a ride with some pretty horrific scenes in it but these were essential to the story, particularly as the island Bougainville where the story is set actually exists. I won't spoil the story - just to say that the book is based on this island in the 1990's where education has been suspended due to outside influences. The consequence of this is that the only white man on the island, Mr Watts is asked to teach the children and does so by reading one of the greatest books of all time - Great Expectations by Charles Dickens. The children are engrossed in this novel which allows some of them to 'escape' the world they are living in. Lloyd Jones' writing is exceptional and he writes through the experiences of a 14 year old girl which is not an easy thing to achieve. I am very glad that I have read this book and it made me want to find out more about the island and the people living there. I imagine that this book could be (if it already isn't) on the reading lists for GCSE O Level/A Level English Literature pupils. I think that this would have been better than the options I took which were William Golding's Lord of the Flies and Joan of Arc by George Bernard Shaw. What was on your exam reading list?


Anonymous said...

I really enjoyed Mister Pip too - and it set me off exploring the web to find out more about the island. I'd never heard of it before. I was lucky when I took my GCSE equivalents, I got To Kill a Mockingbird and I've loved the book ever since. Lost count of how many times I've read it.

Darcy said...

PS - that last comment wasn't 'anonymous' it was me - Darcy. Having a senior moment - computers are great but only if you know what you're doing!

Melissa said...

oh- i love this book, too. i've read it a couple of times- and i also love the cover. :)

Jacqui Dodds said...

Hi Darcy
I would have rather read 'To Kill a Mocking Bird' than 'Lord of the Flies - never mind I have read it now.

Hi Melissa
I love the cover too and thought it would go with the blue theme that keeps reappearing on this blog!


Jessica said...

Though this is an older post, I just wanted to post a comment to let you know it was refreshing to find a purely positive post on Jones' novel Mr. Pip. I've read it recently and have really enjoyed it. Looking around on the web brought me to more negative reviews than positive ones, which I thought was rather disgusting. Ok, a good well-written review is something I love to read, even if I don't agree with the author, however, if people feel like it is their job to just put their little stamp of disapproval on everything that is contemporary literature.... Anyway, thanks for the great post! And a PS on To Kill A Mockingbird: I just finished an essay on Mr. Pip, which includes a couple references to Lee's novel in light of it being a tragedy as well. Great books, both of them!!

Jacqui Dodds said...

Hi Jessica
Thank you for your comment and the fact that you found my post positive and helpful.
From what I remember of our Reading Group comments they were all positive too.
We have also read 'To Kill a Mockingbird' as one of our choices.
Your essay sounds very interesting and I think that Mr Pip is a good book to research and write about. Hope it goes well.
Was Mr Pip your choice or a set book?