books and reading

On the Jellicoe Road

My favorite movie is What About Bob? for multiple reasons. Mostly because Bob is just so sweet and endearing. But there are many lines in this movie that I think about frequently. At one point, Bob is saying he treats people like phone calls. Sometimes you don’t connect with a person and you get a busy signal, so you just hang up and try again later to make a connection. Sometimes you meet a person and you just don’t click. Time passes, you see the person again, and the connection is made for some reason. I feel this exact same way about books. There are books that I *know* are amazing, but when I read them, I just don’t connect for whatever reason. On the Jellicoe Road was exactly this kind of book. I tried to read it twice before and just found it rather boring and confusing and I didn’t get very far into it. Enough people told me to give it another try, so I kept it on my Kindle looking for a reason to give it another go. With the 2017 book challenge, I vowed to read as many books that I already owned to complete the goal. And with the help of Goodreads, I was able to find many of the books I owned and had been meaning to read fit into one of the categories. On the Jellicoe Road is a story within a story. And simply knowing this information, I saw the book in a new light. I was no longer confused once I realized the format of the story. So, if you start this book, know that it is a story within a story (italicized parts are one story, regular print is another) and it will make so much more sense.

The basic story is about a girl named Taylor who has no family, attends a private school, and is in charge of a house of younger students. A big part of her job is negotiating territory wars of the land around the school. Other students (public school, town kids, etc) want access to the area. The territory wars was a bit too drawn out for my preference, but within that part of the plot, we meet some of the other players in the story, namely Jonah Griggs, who shares a mysterious history with Taylor. The one person around that Taylor cares about is a thirty something woman named Hannah, who one day up and leaves with no reason. Taylor feels abandoned and has no one to turn to. As the book progresses, we are given clues to Taylor’s past. She has no mother or father, she tried to run away from the school at some point, and other people seem to know more about Taylor than she realized.

The story is worth it. I promise. Even this time around, it took a little effort to get through the territory wars part, but once I got to 25% of the way through the book, the rest was smooth sailing. Taylor’s past is revealed slowly and interestingly with her friend involved in ways you don’t see coming. Ultimately, I loved this book and am glad I tried the third time around.

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