Author: Ali Benjamin
Date Started: 14-May-17
Date Finished: 27-May-17
Type: Fiction; Children’s Book
“Suzy Swanson has always known things that other kids don’t. She can explain the sleep patterns of ants. She knows there are 150 million jellyfish stings on the planet every year. She knows that the average middle school kid contains about 20 billion of Shakespeare’s atoms. But she can’t understand how Franny Jackson’s lifetime could be cut so short…before Suzy could make up for the worst thing she’d ever done to her best friend. When Suzy formulates a bold plan to travel across the globe– alone– to learn the truth about how her fiend died, she discovers that the answers she most needs could be right in her own backyard.”
Suzy “Zu” Swanson
Franny – Suzy’s bestfriend who died while swimming
Mrs. Turton – Suzy’s Science teacher
Justin Maloney – Suzy’s classmate
Dr. Legs – Suzy’s psychologist
Mr. and Mrs. Swanson – Suzy’s parents
Aaron and Rocco – Suzy’s brother and his boyfriend
Setting: New England
Thoughts on the book:
I saw this book while looking for a good book to give my goddaughter, Venice. I got curious of the title and bought one for me. It was only when I was a few chapters into the book when I realized that this is a children’s book. Checked the book covers and indeed, it’s a children’s book! At first I didn’t know if I should continue reading this or just give it to Venice together with the book I bought for her.
I gave it a chance, I continued reading until I found myself actually enjoying reading The Thing About Jellyfish!
It isn’t a heavy fiction- no heavy drama. It didn’t bore me. It’s a good story about school friendships, how friendships at school started, and how it slowly drifted apart. It’s a story about how friendships are born and die, literally and figuratively.
The Thing About Jellyfish reminds me of my time in school. I can relate to Suzy. How she and Franny became the best of friends, how they made a promise to be always be there for each other, how eventually they became distant and drifted apart. I feel for Suzy– the way she tries her best to make Franny stay as her bestfriend, the way she holds on to Franny, the way she feels possessive of Franny.
I see myself in Suzy. I can actually see each character–Franny, Mrs. Turton, Justin, in my friends 16 years ago. I can relate to how Suzy’s friendships with people have turned out. At some parts in this story, I found myself close to tears, where it reminded me of how me and my own “Franny” have drifted apart through the years.
I was thankful that Suzy later on found a new friend in Mrs. Turton, and Justin just like the way I found new friends in my former Computer Subject Teacher, and guy bestfriend (a classmate) who was like Suzy’s Justin to me. So you must imagine how I can really relate to Suzy. 🙂
I hated Franny when she chose Aubrey and Molly over Suzy. She was Suzy’s only friend and she left her. It broke my heart during the time when she let Suzy eat alone on their table, when she lied about not being home and only inviting Aubrey and Molly over which Suzy found out.
About the Ending:
Suzy failed on her attempt to go to Australia to get to Jamie, an expert about Jellyfish. She thought Jamie could help her answer her questions on Franny’s death. The failure seem to get her the closure she needed about Franny’s death. She realized that whether or not she have the answers will not matter anymore, because it will never bring Franny and their friendship back. To finally being able to talk about her plans to get answers helped her to be understood by her family. It somehow helped her accept what has already happened and move on.
She may have lost Franny, but in the end, opening up made her gain new friends– in Mrs. Turton, Justin, and Sarah Johnston.
“Maybe everybody’s end isn’t the day they actually die, but the last time anyone speaks of them. Maybe when you die you don’t really disappear, but you fade into a shadow, dark and featureless, only your outlines visible. Over time, as people forget you, your silhouette gradually fades into darkness until the final time anyone says your name on this planet. That’s when your very last feature –freckled tip of your nose, or heart-top bubble of your lips–fades for good.
If that is true, it is a good reason to hold off saying someone’s name after they die. Because you never know. You never know which time you say it might be the last time. And they will disappear for good.” ~pg. 279