A few people suggested that Luke and Jon might make the Booker long list and so I tried to squeeze it in before the announcement. Unfortunately it didn’t make the cut, but I’m really pleased that I read it as it was a fantastic book.
Luke and Jon is an engaging, but depressing novella. The book begins with the death of Luke’s mother and so we see how a child copes with bereavement. It was moving, but heartwarming to see him slowly accept the tragedy and then blossom into an independent person.
Luke is helped on his journey by becoming friends with Jon, a strange boy with his own secrets. The book is very short so it is hard to explain the plot without giving anything away. All I can say is that this book deals with themes of bereavement and bullying. The length and simplicity of the prose would make it an ideal book to initiate discussions on these topics with teenagers, but this isn’t a YA book. It is a book that will appeal to all ages.
The intense emotion of the book reminded me of Beside the Sea, but I found that the vaguely hopeful ending of Luke and Jon lessened the powerful impact. I guess that this is because novellas are too short to develop a plot that is complex enough to satisfy my needs and so I rely on raw emotion to affect me. This emotion was abundant in the first half of the book, but as Luke began to cope with the loss of his mother the impact was lessened. Am I weird for preferring a book that is desperately tragic?
Recommended if you enjoy emotional books.