Monday, June 22, 2015
Mister Pip, by Lloyd Jones
Book image courtesy of Amazon.com
Read, reviewed, and released in February, 2010
This is the story of life on Bougainville, an island ravaged by war, environmental assaults, and economic turmoil. All the white people have left the island except one, an eccentric older man who decides to hold school for the children although he has no textbooks and very limited knowledge. Every day, along with other lessons, he reads to them from Charles Dickens' Great Expectations, and brings the war-torn, confused children into a world vastly different, but in many ways all too similar to their own. The story is told from the point of view of a 13-year-old girl, Matilda Laimo.
So much in this book; it is amazing how the author, a white man from New Zealand, put himself into the skin of a young black teenage girl from the island of Bougainville, and then let her step into the skin of a young orphan boy in Victorian England! Life on the island was a series of catastrophes: war, violence, and destruction. This is another of several books I've read this year that show the importance of literature to people faced with terrible challenges, and all on islands! The Guernsey Potato Peel Pie and Literary Society, Ella Minnow Pea, and Mister Pip!