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The 10pm Question by Kate De Goldi

The 10pm Question (2008)

by Kate De Goldi

Other authors: See the other authors section.

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4002640,269 (3.98)51
  1. 30
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» See also 51 mentions

Showing 1-5 of 26 (next | show all)
I started out wondering why any YA reader would want to read this novel, and I still am kind of wondering this. It's more of a regular novel about a 13 year old than a novel for 13 year olds. In fact, I might actually be wrong. I really don't think this a book for a YA audience. It touches on so many issues surrounding anxiety and growing up in a really nuanced way that's so rare, I really enjoyed it. ( )
  Katie_Roscher | Jan 18, 2019 |

Frankie is a precocious little boy who has all of the worries in the world on his mind. He is the sweetest person you will find around. He loves his mother very much but she's the source of most of his anxiety. He thinks about things beyond his age and responsibility. He's a little irrational sometimes thinking once that a weird spot on him meant he possibly could have cancer. He's a little bit of a hypochondriac in this sense. He tells his mother about all of his worries routinely at 10 p.m. He can't tell her about the most important thing on his mind though. He wouldn't dare. Then comes Sydney with her questioning ways. It's the thing she does. She asks questions and like a child she isn't very polite about it. He tries to steer her away from questions he and his family avoid talking about like why his mother never leaves the house or why his family is silent on the subject. But one way or the other the question will be asked and Frankie's world will be rocked.

Frankie and his mother's relationship was very sweet. His mother bakes all day for her business. I was salivating sometimes when they just even mentioned cake because if you ever mention cake around me I instantly think about it and taste it in my mind. He has fond memories about her and food. Frankie being the sweet boy he is goes to his mother about almost everything. He is a mama's boy in a good way. His mother is always there for him. He is very "on his tippy toes" about everything though including her. She notices his worrying and tries to gently tell him that he has nothing to worry about. I love that there was goodness in their home and in their relationship with each other. The book may have a serious part to it but otherwise it was very funny and warming to the heart.

The other members of the family are not like Frankie. His siblings are regular kids who mostly act like regular teenagers. His brother is very enterprising, always having a new idea for a business. He's a very happy, carefree boy, with a big personality. His sister is a typical teenage girl. Always on the phone, not letting on she cares about anyone else but herself. His father... They call him Uncle. I forget why but it was so strange, confusing, and pretty unique that I had to mention it. What really stuck in my mind with him is a little bit inappropriate. He has this long shirt he wears to go to bed and apparently he doesn't wear underwear with the shirt. I remember Frankie's sister complaining about having to see his private parts. It's weird but I think you might understand why it stuck in my mind. He also has a big personality and genuinely loves and cares for his family. He's a good guy even if he really needs to wear some underwear. The people with the biggest personality in his family though have to be the Aunties. Each one of them fatter than the next. They have their own routine too that they do every week. It's so funny how Frankie describes them like their fat is glorious or maybe that was his best friend Gigs who's also always there for him but does get angry at him a little for hanging out with Sydney so much. They invented their own language so you know they will always be tight. Gigs is very "wide eyed and bushy tailed" all the time. He's a great friend. All of Frankie's family and friends are sources of great happiness. None of them are bad people. He couldn't have found a better group of family and friends around if he tried.

Sydney is the new girl who you could never describe as typical. She lets it all out there. She even tells Frankie about how her mother goes from man to man to get money, moving whenever they stop paying. She is forced to babysit her younger siblings when she really needs to go outside and act like a kid. She asks the hard questions possibly because her life has been so crazy for a girl her age and she might not have a chance to ask them later. You don't really read much of her family life so her character isn't tainted with so much seriousness. Sydney was a great person. I loved her. She was loud and in your face but she never means any harm by it. She's just that way and she makes no excuses for it. She provided a change into the routine of Frankie's life. She's unpredictable. She could ask anything but although he was worried about what she would ask next I think Frankie was excited to have her as a friend. She changed things up for him. He needed her to ask questions so he could ask the most important question of all.

All things said and done the reveal of what he wanted to ask his mother for the longest time is very heartbreaking. He goes through a lot towards the end. It's like his world is crashing in front of him and he doesn't know what to do to survive. It's all so very tragic and real and beautiful. Frankie is a character that will have a place in my heart forever as do all of my characters but he is one of the characters that really stands out. I really just want to hug him. I feel like he could use a hug. We all worry about things and maybe sometimes we do so too much. He made me think about all those times where I worry too much and I couldn't possibly imagine having to worry all the time. I couldn't handle it so to see this boy go through it was heart-wrenching to me but it helped that he had such a kind soul. His perspective, his family, and his friends were the ingredients to one amazing book. ( )
  AdrianaGarcia | Jul 10, 2018 |
Intense. Lovely. Cathartic, for me, because I do tend to be fretful, irritable, and depressed, and to want to be a hermit Even though the main character is going on 13, it's not a book for kids. Teens should read it, yes. Parents, yes. Aunties, yes. Professors, yes. Counselors & teachers & bus drivers, too....

I need to reread [b:Stargirl|22232|Stargirl (Stargirl, #1)|Jerry Spinelli|https://d.gr-assets.com/books/1335947642s/22232.jpg|963221]. For some reason the first half of this book reminded me of that, but I'm not sure why, beyond the fact that it's told from a boy's perspective about how a girl with a dynamic personality affects his worldview. After that, I got too absorbed to think about other books or people or anything.

Anyway, one thing you might want to know, going in, besides the fact that it's set in New Zealand (which I did not remember when I got around to reading it), is that tense & chronology are deliberately confused. Do pay attention to the dates at the head of each chapter. The intervening span of time is revealed to us as Frankie reflects upon what happened that we didn't witness.

There's actually a lot that we don't actually witness. De Goldi does a good job of making us feel empathy with Frankie by focusing on his internal, filtered perception of the world. Frankie's not exactly an unreliable narrator, but we do have to be alert to his confusions. And we don't get backstory in clean flashbacks, either. Some stuff we don't figure out until the end, some stuff we never do.

So, I strongly advise you to read carefully. There are lots of clues, metaphors, symbols, foreshadowing... nothing too difficult or *L*iterary, but enough that you can't read this like a page-turning adventure.

I will look for more by this creative & talented author.

But why is the cat named Fat Controller?? ( )
  Cheryl_in_CC_NV | Jun 6, 2016 |
This book was ok, I have to admit, it confused me a bit with. I enjoyed the ending and how things tied in together eventually. ( )
  gma2lana | May 9, 2016 |
Showing 1-5 of 26 (next | show all)
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Kate De Goldiprimary authorall editionscalculated
Lenting, InekeTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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For Luciana and Jack, at the heart of it all
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Tuesday the fourteenth of February began badly for Frankie Parsons.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Book description
Worry-prone Frankie keeps his family secret under control — until a bold, inquisitive girl enters his life — in this warm, witty, and captivating YA novel.

Twelve-year-old Frankie Parsons is a talented kid with a quirky family, a best friend named Gigs, and a voice of anxiety constantly nibbling in his head: Could that kidney-shaped spot on his chest be a galloping cancer? Are the smoke alarm batteries flat? Has his cat, The Fat Controller, given them all worms? Only Ma, who never leaves home, takes Frankie’s worries seriously. But then, it is Ma who is the cause of the most troubling question of all, the one Frankie can never bring himself to ask. When a new girl arrives at school — a daring free spirit with unavoidable questions of her own — Frankie’s carefully guarded world begins to unravel, leading him to a painful confrontation with the ultimate 10 p.m. question. Deftly told with humor, poignancy, and an endearing cast of characters, The 10 P.M. Question will touch everyone who has ever felt set apart.
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Twelve-year-old Frankie Parsons has a quirky family, a wonderful best friend, and a head full of worrying questions that he shares with his mother each night, but when free-spirited Sydney arrives at school with questions of her own, Frankie is forced to face the ultimate ten p.m. question.… (more)

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Candlewick Press

An edition of this book was published by Candlewick Press.

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