Wednesday, August 25, 2010

The 10 p.m. Question – Kate de Goldi

Kate de Goldi is a New Zealand author. She writes young adult fiction, short stories and children’s books and has won many awards for her work. The 10 p.m. Question has received several awards including the New Zealand Post Book of the Year (2009) and the Readers’ Choice award at the Montana New Zealand Book Awards (2009).

The 10 p.m. Question covers several months of twelve year old Frankie Parsons’ life. Frankie’s structured world is changed drastically when he makes friends with Sydney Vickerham, a new girl in his class. Sydney is different to everyone he knows and her intense questioning about his life and family make Frankie worry. Some parts of his family life are taboo subjects that no one ever brings up. What if Sydney asks him questions he does not want to answer?

As Sydney becomes part of Frankie’s life further worries emerge. Sydney’s mother does not stay in one place for long. Frankie worries all the time about everything from earthquakes to spiders and Sydney’s cheerful company helps Frankie to enjoy life more. He does not know how he will cope if Sydney goes. And since he is afraid of flying how will he be able to visit her?

de Goldi has created a fabulous world in The 10 p.m. Question. She has created fantastic characters in Frankie’s family and his school life. From the incredible Aunties to Frankie’s eccentric teacher, Mr A. all the characters in this book come to life on the page. Each chapter ends with a section in italics. This describes when Frankie goes to his mother’s room at 10 p.m. every night to ask her questions about what has been worrying him during the day. The italics make the conversation between Frankie and his mother more private and show what an important and personal part of Frankie’s day it is.

The 10 p.m. Question deals with the effect of mental illness in a family. It is interesting because it covers mental illness in both adults and children and shows the genetic connection within families. It also focuses more on Frankie’s journey to understanding what he wants from life than on how his difficulties with endless worry are solved. It is also notable in that it does not focus on the taking of medication to solve mental illness. It shows that there are limitations in trying to cure people who are mentally ill and that sometimes people need to compromise their idea of what is normal in order to be able to accept these limitations.

The 10 p.m. Question is out this August and is a great read for anyone in the 12+ age group.

My thanks to Templar Publishing for supplying me with a copy of this book for review.


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