Posts Tagged With: Lloyd Jones

Mister Pip by Lloyd Jones

Mister Pip by Lloyd Jones
Amazon synopsis:
‘You cannot pretend to read a book. Your eyes will give you away. So will your breathing. A person entranced by a book simply forgets to breathe. The house can catch alight and a reader deep in a book will not look up until the wallpaper is in flames.’ Bougainville. 1991. A small village on a lush tropical island in the South Pacific. Eighty-six days have passed since Matilda’s last day of school as, quietly, war is encroaching from the other end of the island. When the villagers’ safe, predictable lives come to a halt, Bougainville’s children are surprised to find the island’s only white man, a recluse, re-opening the school. Pop Eye, aka Mr Watts, explains he will introduce the children to Mr Dickens. Matilda and the others think a foreigner is coming to the island and prepare a list of much needed items. They are shocked to discover their acquaintance with Mr Dickens will be through Mr Watts’ inspiring reading of Great Expectations. But on an island at war, the power of fiction has dangerous consequences. Imagination and beliefs are challenged by guns.Mister Pip is an unforgettable tale of survival by story; a dazzling piece of writing that lives long in the mind after the last page is finished.

I found this to be an incredible book. I loved it from the first page. Jones touches on the issues of race and civil war. It was interesting watching the battle between Mr. Watts and his book Great Expectations and Matilda’s mum and her Bible. Jones wrote this so well, expressing the naivety of the islanders in a sensitive manner.

There are some heart breaking moments which actually added to the magic of the book as it drew you in more.

My favourite character was Mr. Watts, even after his ex-wife’s story. He was sensitive and brave. He stood out for being the only white man in the village but that didn’t seem to faze him at all. He stood up and was counted, and I liked that in him.

8/10 – a good read

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Mister Pip by Lloyd Jones

From the back of the book;-

Matilda is a young girl in Bougainville, a tropical island where the horror of civil war lurks. Mr Watts, the only white person, is the self appointed teacher of the tiny school where the only textbook is Dickens’ Great Expectations.

The book is narrated by Matilda, a young teenager. In the first part of the books she carefully paints a picture of life and people on the tropical island village where food is plentiful but not much else in the way of material goods. Many of the men have gone away to join the rebel army leaving mostly women and children but there is one white man who remains to step into a teaching role in the school. He reads ‘Great Expectations’ to the children and some of them including Matilda become enthralled, developing an other world in their imaginations where they can go to get away from the harsh realities of life. For Matilda, ‘Mister Pip’ and the teacher, Mr Watts, become a major diversion from boredom of teenage life and the stressful relationship between herself and her strong willed mother. As the reader, I began to love Lloyd’s characters and so it comes as a tremendous goose pimply shock when the ‘redskins’ arrive with menace to disrupt the flow of life on Bougainville.

The book is beautifully developed and well written. I think it struggles towards the end with Matilda as an adult but this hardly detracts from this great piece of literature.

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