Jetty Rats Rites of Passage Jetty Rats is a novel written by Phillip Gwynne that all young teenage boys should read. It deals with the rites of passage and issues that all boys are confronted with at some point in their adolescent lives. It is presented in an entertaining yet realistic manor which makes it easy for younger readers to understand. The issues and rites of passage discussed in this essay include family, friends, experiencing a first kiss and obtaining a first ‘real’ job.
The story is told from the first person prospective of Hunter Vettori, a thirteen year old boy with a dream of catching a record breaking Mulloway. The first issue presented in Jetty Rats is family. When Hunter was eight years old his father was swept out to sea while fishing on the rocks. He had broken the golden rule of rock hopping: “Thou Shalt Not Fish On Your Own”. Hunter was so certain his father would return that after the accident he would “… wait for him. Sit underneath the ‘VACENCY’ sign until mum tells me to come inside.
The next day and the next day and the next day, I wait for him. ” He didn’t accept the fact that his father was gone forever until the end of the story when he decided to throw out his father’s rusty old razor and said “Bloody extraterrestrials. Must’ve done him ages ago. ” Gwynne has included this issue in the story in a very realistic way. He explained the pain and hardships Hunter and his mother went through during the tough years, which made the story easier to relate to for selected adolescents.
Gwynne has also expressed the importance of families sticking together through tough times. The second issue presented in the story is friendship. Hunter and his friends are all very different from each other in the strangest ways. They’re the group in Dogleg Bay called the ‘Jetty Rats’. The ‘Jetty Rats’ consists of four members: Hunter’s mate Miracle, “Jasmine and Storm (the twin girls who Hunter calls ‘The Photocopies’) and Hunter. As Hunter points out on a number of occasions, they’re “… just happen to be a bunch of kids who hang around the jetty. Hunter also becomes friends with another boy known and ‘The Skullster’. The Skullster is the ‘rich geeky kid up the road’ who helped Hunter open the dam and let all the fresh water into the Dogleg Bay. Hunter became ‘friends’ with the Skullster after he striked a deal with him. The deal was that Hunter had to “come to (Skullster’s house) every now and then, pretend to be (Skullster’s) friend and eat the filthy food (Skullster’s mother cooks). ” He accepted and the two of them ended becoming friends after all.
The first rite of passage presented in this novel is first kiss. This is an important and exciting moment in a teenage boy’s life as it is his first real opportunity to physically express his feelings towards someone. Hunter’s first kiss was with Jasmine (one of The Photocopies). It occurred during Hunter’s mother’s birthday party in Jasmine’s caravan. The two of them were talking when Jasmine suggested they “… pash. ” The author could have described this rite of passage differently and in less detail to show young teenage boys that not all first kisses are the same.
Also, this scene could have been presented a lot more realistically. For example, the line “Hey, wait a minute. My lips are tired. I’ve gotta take a rest” isn’t the most appropriate line as it is not realistic in relation to the rest of the scene. The second rite of passage presented in Jetty Rats is when Hunter got his first ‘real’ job. By real, I am referring to the fact that he was officially employed by a company and was paid for his work. Mr Crevada offered Hunter a job as an “Ernie Boy with a U” at the Bay Side Funeral Parlour.
At first he declines, but when Hunter is $499 short of buying the Tiagra Saltmeister 600B reel, he decides to take the job. Over a short space of time, Hunter had earned enough money at his new job to afford his reel. This shows that Hunter truly was determined to follow his dreams and catch a Mulloway with a special reel. The commitment shown by Hunter was displayed very realistically by the author; however the job title was not. A thirteen year-old boy working at a Funeral Parlour for his first paying job doesn’t at all seem realistic or appropriate at that.
Overall, Jetty Rats is a pacey and entertaining teen novel that all young teenage boys should read. The issues and rites of passage presented in this book are realistic as much as they are entertaining, making it easier for the younger readers to understand. I would recommend this book to teenage boys between the ages of twelve and fifteen, or to any other younger people who are interested in fishing and rites of passage faced by young teenage boys. I would not recommend this book to more mature readers, young girls in particular, who are not fans of fishing.