Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Review: The Thing about Jellyfish by Ali Benjamin



Every so often, if you’re lucky, you find a book – in this case, I stole a copy of this proof off Tarryn Talbot’s desk. It was ear-marked for some more deserving and prominent media person – or at least was going to be. I am rather glad I committed a petty crime with book – I didn’t realise that this little gem was buried beneath the surface.

We meet Suzy Swanson, a rather lovable narrator who doesn’t actually speak. So begins the novel at the point where Suzy cannot come to the terms that "sometimes, things just happen", after her ex-best-friend drowns. Even when she was a good swimmer; or that she wasn’t that nice to Suzy for a while. It’s an incredibly heart-breaking novel, to say the least.

So to try and grapple with such grief, Suzy convinces herself that Franny was stung by a deathly-venomous jelly-fish. So she researches her way around various breeds of jelly-fish, slowly convincing herself that she is right about how Franny died.

As Benjamin weaves a vast amount of information throughout this tiny-looking novel, you learn alongside Suzy that perhaps life isn’t just how it used to be. A protagonist so real and grotesquely hurt she captures the readers heart with one page. It’s easy to see ourselves in Suzy, in the journey it takes her to unpack her grief, her life, and the moment of learning that bad things can just happen.
I don’t want to give you a long-winded review on plot, and on narrative, nor do I want to unpack the woeful battle of grief and adolescence. I do want to tell you that you will have to pick this book up, sooner or later, you will cry, and you will be pulled in (by the collar) and forced to watch this gorgeous girl – Suzy Q – learn about jelly-fish, and make new friends.


For lovers of John Green, Sarah Moore Fitzgerald and E. Lockhart – This is one for the books, get your hands on it.


4 comments:

Sugar and Snark said...

Glad you liked it as well. Such a sweet and heartfelt book!

Khaled Ragab said...

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Spiritual Talk Show said...

Ali Benjamin has created a work if art that reminds us of the value of curiosity and research and the need for science and good creative teachers. She does this all on the midst of true to life complex relationships that all of us relate to. Ultimately we see what Benjamin led us to see - that we are not problems to be solved but humans to be loved.

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