Author: Melina Marchetta
Publisher: Penguin Australia / Puffin
Release Date: September 27, 2010
Beyond the basketball courts and classrooms of St Raph's is a gully where everything disappears forever. Danny Griggs has heard stories about a creature that lives down there. So why does he volunteer to face the Gorgon when he's been petrified of everything all his life?
A gentle story about overcoming fear and looking at things from all angles, from best-selling author Melina Marchetta.
My Thoughts: Melina Marchetta is my favorite author EVER. I will read anything she writes. When I found out that she was releasing a children's book, I knew I wanted to read it. And when I found it was about Danny Griggs, the little brother of Jonah Griggs (my favorite male character of all time) from Jellicoe Road (my favorite book in the entire world), I knew I had to get my hands on a copy! Sadly, Australian books are hard to come by and shipping is pretty expensive to the US, so I thought it would be awhile before I ever got a chance to read it. But then a miracle... FishpondWorld.com! Three weeks after ordering it I finally received it in the mail. I read it as soon as I could, and it was worth the wait! I just loved it!
There's a legend about an evil monster called the Gorgon that lives in the gully at the St. Raph's schoolyard. If any ball happens to fall in the gully, it's lost forever because no one will ever dare risk facing the Gorgon. But after Danny Griggs accidentally hits a classmate's soccer ball (the lucky soccer ball signed by Harry Kewell that will help them win the grand final!) into the gully and gets called a gutless wonder by the school bully, Danny decides he's going to stop being afraid and venture into the gully. With the help of his friends and his older brother Jonah, Danny hatches a plan to retrieve the ball from the gully and along the way learns to overcome his fears and the importance of friendships.
The Gorgon in the Gully had the humor and friendships Melina Marchetta is awesome at, but in a much more innocent form (the characters are little kids, of course!). It was such a cute read. I mean, c'mon, mini-Melina Marchetta characters? So adorable! All the characters were great, and Danny was my favorite! He's a sweetie, and I loved how he wanted to be courageous even though he was terrified. I do think he's a whole lot braver than he gives himself credit for. I loved the relationships Danny had with his friends and how he made new friends, and I also loved reading his interactions with his mother, Jonah, and Jack, his mother's boyfriend. Danny was really such a nice character to read about.
This story actually takes place during the same time as Jellicoe Road, so I think you'll appreciate it even more if you're a Jellicoe Road fan. Especially if you love Jonah Griggs. He was in this a lot more than I expected. And yes, I had a HUGE stupid grin on my face ever single time he was mentioned. I didn't believe it was possible, but I love him even more now!
One of my favorite quotes from the book (Jellicoe fans will understand!):
"The next night he asked Jonah if he could take $9.49 out of Jonah's secret stash that only Danny and his mum and Jack knew about. Jonah kept it in his sock drawer next to a photograph of Jonah and a girl with sad eyes, taken in one of those railway station photo booths."Really, I could go on and on, but since this is a short story, I don't want to end up spoiling everything. This is a book about friendships and overcoming fears, and it's definitely a great read for children. I also recommended it to Melina Marchetta fans, who need a quick Melina Marchetta fix before the next book release!
Rating: 5 out of 5 stars