The Resource Mister Pip, Lloyd Jones

Mister Pip, Lloyd Jones

Mister Pip
Mister Pip
Statement of responsibility
Lloyd Jones
Title variation
Mr. Pip
Writing style
  • ALA Notable Book, 2008.
  • Alex Award, 2008.
  • Booklist Editors' Choice, 2007.
  • Booklist Editors' Choice: Adult Books for Young Adults, 2007.
  • Commonwealth Writers' Prize for Best Book, 2007.
  • Commonwealth Writers' Prize, South East Asia and South Pacific: Best Book, 2007.
  • Kiriyama Prize for Fiction, 2008.
  • Montana Medal for Fiction or Poetry, 2007.
  • Montana New Zealand Book Award for Readers' Choice, 2007.
  • Montana New Zealand Book Award for Fiction, 2007.
  • YALSA Best Books for Young Adults, 2008
  • YALSA Outstanding Book for the College Bound, 2009.
  • /*Starred Review*/ This prizewinning novel by New Zealand author Jones is an eloquent homage to the power of storytelling. Thirteen-year-old Matilda is at a loss to understand the violence that has torn apart her tropical island. Her village, caught in the cross fire of the conflict between government troops and local armed rebels, has lost its teachers. The only white man to stay behind, the eccentric Mr. Watts, married to a local woman who is generally thought to be mad, takes over the post as teacher and begins to read to the class from his favorite novel, Charles Dickens' Great Expectations. Initially flummoxed by the meanings of such alien words as frost and moors, Matilda and her classmates soon become entirely riveted by the story and identify so heavily with the orphan Pip that Victorian England becomes more real to them than their own hometown. Provided with firsthand evidence of the power of imagination, Matilda increasingly sees it as a way to survive and even thrive amid the chaos of civil war. The accessible narrative, with its direct and graceful prose, belies the sophistication of its telling as Jones addresses head-on the effects of imperialism and the redemptive power of art. -- Wilkinson, Joanne (Reviewed 06-01-2007) (Booklist, vol 103, number 19, p37)
  • A promising though ultimately overwrought portrayal of the small rebellions and crises of disillusionment that constitute a young narrator’s coming-of-age unfolds against an ominous backdrop of war in Jones’s latest. When the conflict between the natives and the invading “redskin” soldiers erupts on an unnamed tropical island in the early 1990s, 13-year-old Matilda Laimo and her mother, Dolores, are unified with the rest of their village in their efforts for survival. Amid the chaos, Mr. Watts, the only white local (he is married to a native), offers to fill in as the children’s schoolteacher and teaches from Dickens’s Great Expectations . The precocious Matilda, who forms a strong attachment to the novel’s hero, Pip, uses the teachings as escapism, which rankles Dolores, who considers her daughter’s fixation blasphemous. With a mixture of thrill and unease, Matilda discovers independent thought, and Jones captures the intricate, emotionally loaded evolution of the mother-daughter relationship. Jones (The Book of Fame ; Biografi ) presents a carefully laid groundwork in the tense interactions between Matilda, Dolores and Mr. Watts, but the extreme violence toward the end of the novel doesn’t quite work. Jones’s prose is faultless, however, and the story is innovative enough to overcome the misplayed tragedy. (July) --Staff (Reviewed May 28, 2007) (Publishers Weekly, vol 254, issue 22, p37)
  • This eighth offering by New Zealander Jones (e.g., The Book of Fame ) follows the early years of teenage protagonist Matilda on a remote island off the coast of Papua New Guinea. Matilda's father takes a job with an Australian mining company, leaving Matilda and her mother behind on the island. Meanwhile, the village's lone white occupant appoints himself local schoolmaster, with his first lesson being a yearlong recitation of Dickens's Great Expectations , whose themes of estrangement and personal metamorphosis mirror Matilda's story. When rebellion ferments on the island, the central authorities impose a naval blockade, cutting off the inhabitants from the outside world. As government soldiers move against villages sympathetic to the rebels, Matilda must choose between remaining on the island or striking out for Australia in search of her father. Despite surprising plot twists and delightfully eccentric personalities, there are moments when Jones's characters speak with the author's voice rather than their own. In the end, however, this book addresses ideas of place and homesickness with conviction, making it a worthwhile read. Recommended for public libraries. [See Prepub Alert, LJ 4/15/07.]—Chris Pusateri, Jefferson Cty. P.L., Lakewood, CO --Chris Pusateri (Reviewed July 15, 2007) (Library Journal, vol 132, issue 12, p78)
  • Bringing Great Expectations to desperate children ravaged by revolution, an eccentric teacher becomes a martyr to literature and transforms the prospects of a strong-willed girl. He's actually "Mr. Watts." But so identified does he become with Dickens' wondrous coming-of-age narrative that he's known as "Mr. Pip." Jones (Paint Your Wife, 2004, etc.) juxtaposes this English exile, married to a native black woman and now the last white man on an unspecified Survivor-style island, with teenaged Matilda, his most eager student. He's a stopgap professor, really, just volunteering to instruct 20 kids, seven to 15 years old, who gather for shelter from the war between the "redskins" and the "rebels." A long-bearded Scheherazade in a white linen suit, Watts draws out the telling of Dickens' classic to the children and soon we have the age-old tale: story as balm, spell, savior. He also invites the island mothers in for show 'n' tell: chances to share their wisdom. They offer fishing tips; rhapsodies of the sea; and one tells of a woman who "once turned a white man into marmalade and spread him onto her toast." That tale spinner is Matilda's mother, and she becomes Watts's rival, her pidgin Bible contrasting his Victorian tale; she is imperiled nature; he's threatening culture. He reminisces about "the smell of fresh-mown grass and lawnmower oil"; she fears the capture of her daughter's soul. And yet in time, for Matilda's sake, the pair negotiate a tremulous peace—one soon savaged by murder, as the redskins descend. As the revolution intensifies, the schoolhouse burns, along with Great Expectations. And Watts's last injunction to his students is that they rebuild the story orally, for themselves, piece by piece. A little Gauguin, a bit of Lord Jim, the novel's lyricism evokes great beauty and great pain. (Kirkus Reviews, July 1, 2007)
Jones, Lloyd
no index present
Literary form
  • Books and reading
  • Storytelling
Mister Pip, Lloyd Jones
System control number
(Sirsi) i9781921145575
Mister Pip, Lloyd Jones
System control number
(Sirsi) i9781921145575

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