16 October 2010

The 10 p.m. Question; Kate de Goldi

The 10 P.M. QuestionThe 10 P.M. Question by Kate de GoldiMy rating: 4 of 5 stars

At first I thought this was going to be a book about a boy with some form of OCD or on the Asperger's Spectrum - it's not. Frankie's life is just, well, complicated.  Sometimes there's no bus money... sometimes he has to do the shopping... and always he has to take care of Mom. He family is a little different than most, but that's ok because he has Gigs, his best friend. Until Sydney comes, asking too many questions and ultimately creating a crisis for Frankie.

What's wrong with Mom is never quite explained: it could be 'merely' agoraphobia, or it could be something more. The two times he went to live with the Aunties hints at more, and it also explains his so-called 10pm question, wherein he goes to his mother's room and asks questions about things that worry him unduly (like the rash on his chest, or if they have enough put by in case of swine flu).

Like Diary of the Madman Underground, you know that Child Services could/should be called in, but you also know that Frankie (unlike Karl) does have adults in his life that have taken care of him since he was very young. It's just that most of them don't know what's going on because he, Frankie, won't tell them about the "rat voice" in his head, among other things.

I particularly liked the language that Frankie and Gigs make up, and his addiction to cricket. His relationships with his brother and sister felt very real, but I was unhappy about Uncle George's being so left out when it's clear that he was a part of Frankie's life.

ARC provided by publisher.

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