I logged onto Goodreads.com and took a look at some of the reviews. I also found a website that explained the first few chapters for me. I had read them five times and was still confused. If this book hadn't been rated as well as it is, I would have walked away from this book, but I'm so glad I stuck it out.
Jellicoe Road is a story within a story. The book begins with an amazing first line, "My father took one hundred and thirty-two minutes to die. I counted."
But then you get to chapter two and the time period has changed, the narrator has changed and because both are told in first person narration, it is confusing.
Things to keep in mind. When the typeface is italicized you are reading another story set 22 years in the past and Narnie is the narrator. The other chapters are Taylor's story. The stories are set in the same town. To add to the confusion, Taylor is having very strange dreams about a boy in a tree.
This is a story about a girl trying to forget but trying to remember. This is a story of redemption, of depression, of sorrow, of grief, of guilt, and of friendship. The characters make changes that make sense for them, so the story doesn't seem contrived - it seems natural once you figure out what is happening.
There are twists and turns and many surprises. This story will make you cry. It takes some work to process the beginning, but this book is worth it.
Link to our NICU book registry if you'd like to donate books to babies in the newborn intensive care unit.