DNF: The 10 p.m. Question Kate de Goldi

The 10 p.m. Question by Kate de Goldi (Canada) - (US)

Pages: 45/245
Ages: 12+
Finished: DNF
First Published: 2008 New Zealand (Sept. 28 , 2010 US)
Publisher: Candlewick Press
Genre: YA, realistic fiction, mental illness
Rating: DNF

First sentence:

Tuesday the fourteenth of February began badly for Frankie Parsons.

Acquired: Received a review copy from Candlewick Press.

Reason for Reading: The book deals with anxiety, worry and agoraphobia. Issues I can relate with very well.

Boy, I really wanted to like this book but I couldn't make a connection. I really have nothing to say about it except the first 45 pages were beyond boredom for me. It took me two days to read 45 pages and every time I picked up the book I couldn't remember what was going on or who the characters were. I even fell asleep a couple of times with book in hand. An obvious sign I'd rather be reading something else. I have no idea why the book affected me like this. It has won multiple awards in it's author's native New Zealand. It sounds like a book I'd like but I guess the writing style just didn't work for me. You decide for yourself.

Here is the publisher's summary:

Frankie Parsons is twelve going on old man: an apparently sensible, talented Year 8 with a drumbeat of worrying questions steadily gaining volume in his head:

Are the smoke alarm batteries flat?
Does the cat, and therefore the rest of the family, have worms?
Will bird flu strike and ruin life as we know it?
Is the kidney-shaped spot on his chest actually a galloping cancer?

Most of the significant people in Frankie’s world – his father, his brother and sister, his great-aunts, his best friend Gigs – seem gloriously untroubled by worry. Only Ma takes seriously his catalogue of persistent anxieties; only Ma listens patiently to his 10 p.m. queries.

But of course, it is Ma who is the cause of the most worrying question of all, the one that Frankie can never bring himself to ask.

Then the new girl arrives at school and has questions of her own: relentless, unavoidable questions.

So begins the unravelling of Frankie Parson’s carefully controlled world. So begins the painful business of fronting up to the unpalatable: the ultimate 10 p.m. question.

The 10PM Question is a novel which defies all age categories. It does so with a sparkling wit and an operatic cast of characters so delightful and maddening they become dear to us.

A tender, beautifully told and endearing story. By the end, you’ll wish you had a Frankie Parsons of your own.


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