'The Thing About Jellyfish' Book Review
The Impactful Children's Book That Will Change Your Views on the World
The Thing About Jellyfish by Ali Benjamin is a lovely and touching novel with ideas that everyone can relate too. In this story, we follow the heartbreaking tale of Suzy as she discovers more about her world––things she never knew. Captured by tragedy and misery, Suzy has to learn again how to enjoy the things around her. The Thing About Jellyfish is an influential book about one person’s journey in finding happiness despite the sadness everywhere.
In the beginning of The Thing About Jellyfish, we learn that Suzy’s best friend, Franny, has passed away while swimming. Suzy is hurt and bewildered, and she retreats away from the rest of the world and into her own silent haven. So, Suzy tries to find an explanation of Franny’s death. After research, she is convinced that Franny was stung by a lethal and nearly invisible jellyfish, the Irukandji. Suzy aches to tell others about her discovery, but no one seems to care about her opinion. At school and at home, Suzy has nobody she can reach out to, forcing her even deeper into sadness.
Throughout the story, we are given flashbacks to the history of Suzy and Franny’s friendship. Their relationship was perfect at the beginning, but it deteriorated as they got older. Soon, we know that Suzy was mistreated and hurt by Franny, and she kept on trying to get Franny back as a friend. Suzy is upset by the last, terrible moments between them, and Suzy wishes she could have said something to Franny.
As Suzy is enveloped in regret and sadness, she slowly begins to realize the wonders around her. Little by little, she tries to appreciate everything she has. Suzy tries to stay positive through her troubles, and she develops independence and strength along the way. Suzy says:
“What if, when we saw threats around us––blooms of jellies, a sixth extinction, a middle school dance––we stopped feeling so tiny? What if we ceased feeling like a mote of dust and remembered instead that we are crafted from the stars that existed at the dawn of time? All the creatures on this Earth might be made from stardust. But we are the only ones who get to know it. We humans may be newcomers to this planet. We may be plenty fragile. But we’re the only ones who can decide to change” (316).
Suzy remembers that there is still good in the world, and that we choose whether or not we see it. The Thing About Jellyfish has a theme of hope, and that things can still change for the better. We are in charge of our lives, and we can be strong when we want to be. This novel taught me about how we should live our lives hopeful and aware of the beauty around us. The Thing About Jellyfish is not saying that happiness is when everything is good and perfect, but instead that happiness can come through trying to see the good in everything. The Thing About Jellyfish is an inspiring and beautiful novel that has brilliant ideas wound throughout the story.
I really enjoyed reading The Thing About Jellyfish, and I was able to learn a lot from it. Not only was I able to learn about hope and love, but I also learned a lot about jellyfish. This book has lots of science and facts, and I was able to acquire knowledge about jellyfish while enjoying the story. The Thing About Jellyfish is a novel found in lots of elementary school libraries, but I think that at no matter what age, anyone can discover strong ideas in this novel. I actually recommend this books to older readers, such as middle schoolers, as there are lots of themes in it that younger readers may not be able to comprehend. The Thing About Jellyfish is a fantastic read, and it is definitely worth a try.