Rohan is a young boy growing up on the Post-Colonial Island of Victoria in the 1960’s. Rohan’s family was once very well-off, living in a fancy house with all the amenities. However, his father was caught up in an embezzlement scheme and left the family due to shame. Now, Rohan, his mother and his siblings have moved in with his Grandmummy and many aunts in the island’s capital city Portpo’s Jellicoe Junction section. His Grandmummy is a fierce matriarch and often referred to as ‘the Dragon.’ Grandmummy still practices many Victorian values and places herself above many of the island residents. Rohan is often abused and used as the scapegoat for the family and the Dragon, but Rohan has learned to overcome and often enjoys his freedoms as the family errand-boy. In his travels around Jellicoe Junction, Rohan meets a variety of characters and comes of age in his new surroundings.
Overall, this is a humorous and in-depth look into one boys coming of age journey in the 1960’s on an island loosely based on Post-Colonial Sri Lanka. Bright descriptions brought this section of the island alive, especially the food, and there is a lot of food! Rohan’s journey’s led him to many interesting places with even more interesting people. I was most intrigued by Rohan’s Grandmummy and her treatment of her family. She was so wrapped up in propriety and looking the part of an Englishwoman, that she often made herself look foolish. However, it did seem that deep down she cared for her family above all else. Rohan’s aunts were another source of constant squabbles and humor. Although, I will never quite understand the voyeurism that so many women on the island, including Aunt Daisy, felt that they had to partake in. There were many scenes with see-through panties, exposed vulvas, deep cleavage and exposed breasts that it seemed to be a hobby for the women of the island. Perhaps the oversexualization was due to Rohan’s age and inquiring nature about women’s bodies. One of the funniest scenes for me was with Rohan’s rotund schoolmate, Soldago and the eating contest. However, there were a few things that bothered me. One was the flowery, ornate language used; it was just a little too much, I even had to look up a few words. Also, there didn’t seem to be a strong focus. While Rohan’s coming of age was present the whole way through, there were too many side stories. They were amusing, but a bit all over the place.
This book was received for free in return for an honest review.