Jason Taylor is 13, doomed to be growing up in the most boring family in the deadest village in the dullest county in the most tedious nation on earth. This book follows 13 months in his life as he negotiates the pitfalls of school and home and contends with bullies, girls and politics.
This is a book I had to read for English in school this year. And school books… They’re never good, let’s be honest. Especially when your teacher makes you over-analyse every single little detail. This one, though, was one of the rare exceptions!
Admittedly, this book was a bit hard to get into at first. Jason has a whole lot of other sides to his personality, only he’s named them and given them their own personalities. Which, as part of an English class, is really interesting. When you’re just reading a book, it makes it more difficult to understand. He doesn’t really explain them until later in the book. It’s also not clear what’s really happening when he lets his imagination get carried away with him.
Once it got going, though, it was really interesting. I loved hearing about his problems; bullying at school, parents divorce, a stammer that he struggled to hide. Yeah, it’s sad listening to a 13 year old going through all of that. But it makes for a really good book. There was no big climatic ending, or even a mystery that needed to be solved. There was just Jason (and Hangman, Eliot Bolivar, Maggot and Unborn Twin), and his life. Other people in my class said that that made it boring. But to me, it made it more relatable. Unfortunately, in real life there is no magic. There’s just school, and girl troubles, etc etc. Jason dealt with that like any of us would, and I liked reading his story.
The best bit would have to be the character development. At the start, Jason is a 12 year old boy. And yeah, it’s stereotyping, but you know exactly what a 12 year old boy is like. He was immature, and thought the world revolved around being popular and hiding his stammer. But he grew up fast. You’d have to, with what goes on in his life. Mitchell knew that the changes he went through were the best part of the book. You know those confusing scenes at the start I mentioned? They were all explained away by the end. Grown up Jason went back to the mysterious places, or talked to someone who had been there with him, and realised that what he said happened, wasn’t really what happened. With his new, mature outlook on life, he could accept that his child’s imagination had run away with him.
So yeah, for a book it had it’s flaws. But for a book I have to study, I’m really glad I got such a good one.