Travis_J_Smith’s #CBR5 Review: Jellicoe Road by Melina Marchetta


Let me level with you. I still don’t fully understand the territory war that makes up so great a deal of this novel. That could’ve been my brain rejecting the mere idea of it wholesale, thus refusing to allow itself to understand precisely what was going on, it could’ve just been me being thick, or it could’ve been Marchetta’s fault for her writing lacking clarity. Whichever one of the three it is, all that matters for the sake of this review is I didn’t get it and, as a result, won’t be discussing any of that nonsense here, except to tell you that it’s that perceived lack of clarity that took me out of the story.

Because it extended beyond this silly territory war, which was never meant to be waged in earnest as we lat learn. Marchetta attempts to weave together the past and present, yet initially she only succeeded at confusing this particular reader. Some of that can be explained by our main character’s own lack of understanding of how this all ties together, I’ll admit. But I still could’ve used a little more clarity so as to not be completely lost.

Once everything started coming together, I couldn’t even fully appreciate it because I was hazy on the importance of it all. The writing flows well, in that Marchetta is good at stringing together words on a sentence level; it’s when she tries to string together sentences and paragraphs into a coherent story that she loses me.

There’s enough there, though, for me to continue looking forward to her other novel, Saving Francesca, which I intended to be my first until I saw no library in my area has a copy. I’ve heard better things about it, anyway, so I hope that translates into a better reading experience as well.


Travis Smith’s blog, containing this review, as well as others, photography, and more, can be found here.

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