I’ll Never Get Over That Moment in Jumper by Steven Gould
I am a huge reader of the Popwatch blog at Entertainment Weekly, and they have a regular ongoing feature called “I’m Still Not Over” which is, quite frankly, genius. So inspired by this feature, we have decided to share with you some of the book moments, both good and bad, that we will never get over. By their nature, these posts will sometimes be Spoilery, so read at your own risk. Thank you Popwatch for the awesome inspiration.
Jumper by Steven Gould is a science fiction novel that came out in 1992, around the time that I began working as a paraprofessional in my first library. I had absolutely no idea what I was doing but I began creating a teen space and reading everything I could get my hands on and this definitely sounded like my type of book, I have always been a huge science fiction reader. So I read.
David Rice is a teenage boy who is abused by his father. One night, he “jumps”, or teleports, into the local library where he finds himself seeking refuge from the abuse. He meets and falls in love with a woman named Millie and is witnessed jumping. He robs banks. He jumps from here and there, trying to keep his ability (which is never explained) a secret.
But in one of the moments, a group of young men try and rape David Rice. It happens outside of a truck stop. David has received a ride from a trucker and when they get to this truck stop, all hell breaks loose. In all of the reading that I had done in my life, including John Saul, Dean Koontz and Stephen King, this was the first time I had ever read about a man being raped (or almost raped) in a book. And in such a realistic way. And not just a rape, but a gang rape. I have read very few books in my 20 years as a teen services librarian that have addressed this topic. The upcoming Forgive Me, Leonard Peacock by Matthew Quick is another title that deals with this issue (and really well).
It has been years since I have read Jumper. And I don’t remember a lot of the details of the book (obviously given my recap above). But I remember this scene. I can still picture it today in my head and my heart breaks once again. This moment shocked me, but it also reminded me that this horrific crime happens not only to women, but to men. When it happens in the book it is brutal, it is terrifying, and you are hoping with held breath that he can get away. It is a moment that you will never get over.
In 2008 Jumper was made into a movie, kind of. And not a very good one. And it is interesting to note that they left this scene out. I know, because I was both dreading seeing it and wondering how they would handle it.
Jumper by Steven Gould is a really good book. It appeared on the Best Books for YA list put out by the American Library Association. It came in second place for the Locus award for best first novel. It has sequels, which I have never read. I definitely recommend the book. Skip the movie.
How about you, what books or moments in books do you think you’ll never get over? Share with us in the comments or, if you would like, email me about writing a guest post.
About Karen Jensen, MLS
Karen Jensen has been a Teen Services Librarian for almost 30 years. She created TLT in 2011 and is the co-editor of The Whole Library Handbook: Teen Services with Heather Booth (ALA Editions, 2014).
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