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Jerome: A Novel Paperback – November 1, 1999
This month's Book With Buzz: "Little Fires Everywhere" by Celeste Ng
From the bestselling author of Everything I Never Told You, a riveting novel that traces the intertwined fates of the picture - perfect Richardson family and the enigmatic mother and daughter who upend their lives. See more
From School Library Journal
Grade 9 Up-This intense novel opens with a 17-year-old's suicide and then explores its effect on his two best friends. Kate, now an exchange student in the U.S., and Marco, home in New Zealand, share their thoughts and feelings in a series of revealing e-mails, letters, and faxes. When Kate discloses that she is gay, Marco is incredulous, since Kate is a "babe" and had been Jerome's girlfriend. In a desperate attempt to make sense of his death, Kate tells Marco that Jerome, too, was gay and that they had posed as a couple to protect one another. Worse still, Jerome seemingly killed himself because of unrequited love for Marco. After an emotional breakdown, Marco realizes that what he felt was deeper than friendship and now faces the difficult task of confronting his own sexuality. Unfortunately, the use of e-mails and letters creates a distance that makes empathy difficult. Further, the inordinate and unnecessary use of profanity to convey Marco's tough-guy persona and macho insecurities creates a distracting barrier that discourages readers from truly caring about this bitter young man. Also, because his realization occurs on the closing pages, it's hard not to feel cheated; it's as though the most interesting part of this journey has been left out.
Ronni Krasnow, Arlington County Public Library, VA
Copyright 2000 Reed Business Information, Inc.
Marco, a teen living in Australia, and Kate, his acquaintance who is a foreign exchange student in the U.S., develop a friendship through e-mail, faxes, and online chats. Although their friendship is based on their individual relationship with Jerome, whose death has devastated them both, their conversations gradually move beyond their immediate loss to an exploration of each other's thoughts, especially Kate's feelings about her homosexuality and experiences in another country. Taylor, author of The Blue Lawn , once again focuses on the teenage struggle to come to terms with sexuality, especially homosexuality. The electronic interchanges make character development a challenge, but teens will still recognize Marco's disbelief as he gradually realizes that Kate was not his best friend's girlfriend but his best friend's friend. There is some coarse language, and the book's underlying theme may raise some objections. But Taylor takes some noteworthy risks with his characters--Marco's continued efforts to understand his friend's sexual preference, and Kate's willingness to move beyond offense to help him understand--making the novel a growth experience for characters and readers alike. Frances Bradburn
Top customer reviews
The theme of this book is the reaction that two teenagers have when they find out that their friend dies by suicide. The end is very sweet and uplifting. The relationship that forms between these two living characters is wonderful and shows us that good can come out of any bad situation.
This book also talks about the pain that gay youth must endure. In this case, Jerome became another statistic of young gays that kill themselves to deal with the homophobia of society.
I havne't given anything away about the book. You learn that Jerome dies within the first 2 pages. The book is very short and a joy to read. Takes only a few minutes to get into the flow of the narration, but one you go with it you're carried away.
There are many heart-rending moments in the unfolding of his wonderful tale, and Mr. Taylor leaves us with hope for these wonderful kids, with their gaining of healing knowledge, and humanity.
If Jerome hadn't died, however, Marco might never have found a way to come to terms with himself and honor his friend in the process. In this, the book reflects real life. The list is long of people who have had to die before their friends and family came to grow into reason. And still, parents turns their sons onto the streets, or one-time pals harrass and abuse former friends.
Still, this book is does not sink into self-indulgence. The dialogue carried on between the two survivors leads them out of sorrow into the light of self-awareness. For this reason, it is a valuable resource for any young person. It shows a way to reach understanding without throwing in the towel. It can prepare young people and adults to face the unimaginable together.
Jerome can speak to us all.
Slowly, Marco and Kate reveal their own personalities anf this proves to be a very shocking for Marco.
The book is very well put together, the story is moving and thought provoking. It's not a long read; I managed it in under an hour, but it IS a deep read.