Mister Pip by Lloyd Jones Summary
Lloyd Jones' new novel is set mainly in a small village on Bougainville, a country torn apart by civil war. Matilda attends the school set up by Mr Watts, the only white man on the island. By his own admission he's not much of a teacher and proceeds to educate the children by reading them Great Expectations. Matilda falls in love with the novel, strongly identifying with Pip. The promise of the next chapter is what keeps her going; Pip's story protects her from the horror of what is happening around her - helicopters menacing the skies above the village and rebel raids on the ground. When the rebels visit the village searching for any remaining men to join their cause, they discover the name Pip written in the sand and instigate a search for him. When Pip can't be found the soldiers destroy the book. Mr Watts then encourages the children to retell the story from their memories. Then when the rebels invade the village, the teacher tells them a story which lasts seven nights, about a boy named Pip, and a convict . . .