Book Review : The Thing About Jellyfish | Ali Benjamin

Book Review : The Thing About Jellyfish | Ali Benjamin

Genre: Children > Middle Grade
Year: 2015
Country: USA

I’ve never had to deal with grief. Well, except through books, movies and K dramas. God’s grace and infinite mercy has preserved every single person close to me. So, when I read books like this, of course, I usually cannot relate. Then again, there are a few things to learn from them. How to process grief for instance.


The Thing About JellyFish is categorized under Children>Middle Grade genre on Goodreads. I’m so glad I didn’t find that out until I was done. Oh yes, I’m very condescending when it comes to books. Then again, that didn’t stop the overall brilliance of the book.

The first thing that came to my mind when I saw the title was, JellyFish is probably a metaphor for something deeper. Hell no, it’s as literal as it gets.

It’s basically about a 12-year-old girl who lost her best friend in a drowning accident. Unlike every other kid who cries her heart out and then moves on, she didn’t or couldn’t rather. This denial led to a few things like muteness and ultimately, researching for the cause of her death which she was convinced was a special specie of Jellyfish.

First of all, I don’t think I’ve ever read this amount of information on Jellyfish ever. Apparently, this book started out as an essay. That explains the number of insightful facts in the book. Best believe I’m staying clear of swimming anywhere other than a pool. Just so you know, jellyfishes are venomous and their tentacles stings. In other words, jellyfish stings are deadly!

The best thing about this book is easily the quotes. I had to read some over and over and I was like, mahn, that’s deep! Even for a 12-year-old.

It was exactly one month since the Worst Thing had happened, and almost as long since I’d started not – talking. Which isn’t refusing to talk, like everyone thinks it is. It’s just deciding not to fill the world with words if you don’t have to. It’s the opposite of constant-talking, which is what I used to do and better than small talk, which is what people wished I did.

It’s peculiar how no-words can be better than words. Silence can say more than noise, in the same way that a person’s absence can occupy even more space than their presence did.

We walked the rest of the way to math class in silence, but it was the best kind of silence. It was the not-talking kind of silence, the kind that so few people seemed to understand.

If people were silent, they could hear the noise of their own lives better. If people were silent, it would make what they did say, whenever they chose to say it, more important. If people were silent, they could read one another’s signals, the way underwater creatures flash lights at one another, or turn their skin different colors.

Maybe this is what happens when a person grows up. Maybe the space between you and the other people in your life grows so big you can stuff it full of all kinds of lies.

There’s no single right way to say goodbye to someone you love. But the most important thing is that you keep some part of them inside you.

THE TRICK TO ANYTHING IS JUST BELIEVING you can do it. When you believe in your own ability to do something, even something scary, it gives you an almost magic power. Confidence is magic. It can carry you through everything.

All the creatures on this earth might be made from stardust.
But we are the only ones who get to know that. That’s the thing about jellyfish: They’ll never understand that. All they can do is drift along, unaware.

The thing is, a person gets so few chances to really fix something, to make it right. When one of those opportunities comes along, you can’t overthink it. You’ve got to grab hold of it and cling to it with all your might, no matter how cray cray it might seem.

There was clearly a lot of emphasis on silence – which was the state of Suzy who took a vow of silence throughout the book. Of course, this was after the news of the death of her best friend. This led to a lot of introspection which resulted into these quotes.

The Thing About Jellyfish is an heartbreakingly tragic account of friendship, family, acceptance, fitting in and grief.


Freelance Content Writer. Bookish. Aspiring Organic Skincare Formulator.

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