Jump and Other Stories by Nadine Gordimer
Genre: Short Story Collection
Publication Date: 1991
Recommended Age Group: 16 and Up
Summary: Jump and Other Stories is a collection of sixteen rather entertaining and enjoyable stories. Each one has a message to share about a culture and adds insight into what people of these places are like. Most of them seem to add messages too, some a little buried and some more prominent. The settings range from suburban London, to Mozambique, then a mythical island, and finally South Africa. “Jump” the first story in the collection, is about a man who was involved in military operations in Africa until he found out what was really going on and how the people were being treated. Then he went to the other side to tell them his side’s secrets and to tell the news people what was going on. He tries to get the images out of his head but they won’t seem to go away. In the end of the story he is considering jumping out of a window but he doesn’t think it is the time. “One Upon a Time” is a story about a family in Africa who is trying to protect their family. They keep getting a more and more involved fence until it has barbed wire on the top and is impossible to get across. Their son, while playing, gets tangled in the barbed wire and is severely injured. “The Ultimate Safari” is about a family who comes from Mozambique and crosses the country in search of a better place to live, one that is not so terrorized, and it discusses what happens to them along the way. “A Find” is about a man who has almost given up on women until he finds a ring on the beach and in an effort to find the owner finds a new companion in life. “My Father Leaves Home” is the story of a family trying to “make a go of it” in a foreign country and all the problems that go along with this. “Some Are Born to Sweet Delight” this is a story about how a girl falls in love with a foreigner who is staying with her parents and ends up as the carrier for a bomb in an act of international terrorism. There were many other stories but I thought these were the best and most affective.
Personal Notes: I really enjoyed this book, but not the same way that I would enjoy something like Harry Potter. I liked the way Gordimer used a short of shock value style of writing to get her readers attention. She made her point very nicely. I think this would be a very good book to get people talking about government and different problems that are facing the world. They place these problems right in front of you and it isn’t possible to turn the other way and pretend that they aren’t there. Because of some of the material contained in it I think this book would be mainly for the more mature reader. I wrote they should be juniors or seniors in high school but this doesn’t mean they are mature. I think a class or person should be considered carefully before they are given this book because these issues aren’t something that should be treated lightly or just passed over.