They call me Mister Pip.
Dial Press/Random House
I don’t know why it’s taken me so long to write about this book. I guess I was lost in the South Seas along with the characters. Mister Pip was shortlisted for the Booker Prize, bragging rights for a worthy novel. Set in the Solomon Islands in the early 1990s during Bougainville’s struggle for independence, the story follows the lives of a small group of village children and the only white man on the island. The white man is recruited to be the teacher to the small band of children. His main teaching tool is Dickens’ Great Expectations. The children are enthralled by 19th century London and eagerly await their daily installment of the novel. They carry home the serialized epic to their family and the boy Pip becomes a part of their lives. But the island’s isolation is no protection from the realities of the conflicts in the area and soon the villages are caught between rebel soldiers and mercenaries.
This story pulls you in and maybe it’ll even bring you back to the first time you met Pip. The young narrator’s voice takes you far away from the world you know. Jungle and ocean hang in the background as delight and fear dance across the pages. This is a beautifully told story of discovery and awakening.