Review Blog

Dec 03 2012

I can jump puddles by Alan Marshall

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Penguin/Viking, 2012 (c1955). ISBN: 9780670076840.
Highly recommended. Alan Marshall's partially autobiographical novel I Can Jump Puddles is a wonderful tale of hardship and hope in the Australian outback; this is an emotional story guaranteed to move the reader. This novel provides the reader with a highly detailed picture of what it was like growing up in early twentieth century Australia. Set in the first person Alan recounts the suffering he endured and the doubtless commitment he showed when trying to be like the other boys.
Alan is the unfortunate sufferer of Infantile Paralysis, an incurable ailment which can cause various degrees of paralysis; however he is lucky enough that the paralysis is contained to his legs. Legs which he is told will never allow him to run races or break in horses like his father. A boy of the bush, Alan doesn't allow his condition to hold him back and he persists in walking and swimming and riding. He refuses to give up on his dreams and shows extraordinary strength of character in this superb novel about never giving up hope.
I would highly recommend this novel for people of all ages as it is a perfect representation of true events and of rural living at the time. While I cannot say that Alan Marshall's writing is unparalleled I cannot stress enough how satisfying and life affirming a read this is.
Kayla Gaskell (Student, Year 11)

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