This week’s recommendation comes from Kim, the branch librarian in Morden. She recommends the book Mister Pip by Lloyd Jones. The book is set on an island in the South Pacific during a civil war. The plot of the story follows 13 year old Matilda from the time she is introduced to the book Great Expectations by Charles Dickens.
Her teacher Mr. Watts, or ‘Pop Eye’ as the children call him, is the only white man left on the island. Mr. Watts cleans the ruined schoolroom, and the main activity becomes the reading of Great Expectations. Soon the whole village becomes embroiled in the story, and the far-off place called London, becomes more real than their own. The tensions between Matilda and her strict mother who is suspicious of reading anything other than the Bible, complicated by the pressures of the situation and the mounting danger to all their lives, are wound up with the story of Mr. Pip and his great expectations.
The power of imagination and the stories that we all carry within us, how they affect our lives, and how we make sense of the world, are all conveyed in a story and manner that is simple, elegant and powerful.