Friday, June 17, 2011
The 10 P.M. Question
Candlewick Press, 2008
Read for YA Overlooked Book Battle.
The main character of this book is Frankie Parsons, who has anxiety over many of the situations in his life leading to frequent 10 pm talks with his mother as he seeks reassurance. Among those pressing items: his relationships with his siblings Louis and Gordana, his friendships with Gigs and Sydney, and household worries. One thing that is never discussed is why his mom hasn't left the house in nine years and why he spent months with his great-aunts while his mom suffered a nervous breakdown. However Frankie's world seems to be unraveling and there's nothing he can do about it.
I really felt for Frankie, whose tendency toward worst-case scenarios mirrors my own (although I would say his was worse). His quirky family also captured my heart. Despite their many flaws, in general, their love for each other and their willingness to help each other warmed me.
The story itself maintains tension through hinting at his mother's mental problems but with Frankie working to ignore them for as long as he can and attempting to control what he can. As the story continues, though, that control falters and Frankie has to face it.
The language was great; there were some difficulties for me in understanding New Zealand talk and cricket but nothing that interfered with my enjoyment of the book and my love for Frankie.
Overall: A zany cast of characters with real heart in the story.
Cover: I do actually like this and how it relates to the story (partly because of Frankie's interest in birds).