The 10PM Question

Author(s): Kate De Goldi

Middle Fiction

Frankie Parsons is twelve going on old man, an apparently sensible, talented boy 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? Only Ma takes seriously his catalogue of persistent queries. But 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 Parsons's carefully controlled world.


Product Information

Winner of New Zealand Post Children's Book Awards: Children's Book of the Year 2009 and New Zealand Post Children's Book Award: Senior Fiction 2009 and Montana New Zealand Book Awards: Readers' Choice Award 2009. Runner-up for Montana New Zealand Book Awards: Fiction Category 2009. Shortlisted for Nielsen BookData New Zealand Booksellers' Choice Award 2009 and LIANZA Children's Book Awards: Esther Glen Award 2009.

Mandy writes: Frankie Parsons is twelve going on seventy. He's a worrier. He worries and frets about absolutely everything: his family, his friends (few in number though they are), the smoke alarm batteries, the cat having worms, the small but growing rash on his chest... He has a vast and terrifying litany of possible diseases he might contract and a private hierarchy of squeamish experiences that can ruin his day and set him off obsessing about yukky things in general. Like ants on the kitchen bench, catching sight of maggots in a discarded rubbish bag, or having a chance encounter with a used band-aid floating in the local pool. "Hey Frankie", I want to shout, "you're not that weird!" All this worrying leads to rodent voices in his head that culminate in nightly visits to his Ma's bedroom where he talks about the fears that only she can soothe. The problem is that his agoraphobic Ma is his greatest worry of all. She hasn't been outside in all the years that Frankie can remember, and too afraid to ask, he struggles to understand. Through the course of the book, I watched helplessly as Frankie crumbled, overwhelmed by his worries and assumed responsibilities towards his family and friends. Then I shed a quiet tear followed by a noisy hurrah as Frankie emerged from his emotional minefield with strength and courage he never knew he had. New Zealander Kate De Goldi has created a wonderful cast of characters in Frankie's sprawling family of card-playing Russian aunties with hearts of gold, his Ma who fills the house with the wonderful aromas of her daily cake-baking, his quietly-coping Dad, hormonal older sister Gordana, his best friend Gigs, and the zany, forthright Sydney, the new girl at school who unwittingly forces Frankie to step up to life. A thoroughly enjoyable read for 11 to 14 year olds.

Kate de Goldi lives in Wellington. She has won a number of accolades for her fiction, including the Katherine Mansfield Short Story Award and the Esther Glen Medal. Her book Clubs, illustrated by Jacqui Colley, won Book of the Year in the New Zealand Post Children's Book Awards in 2005. In 2001, Kate was made a New Zealand Arts Foundation Laureate.

General Fields

  • : 9781741757354
  • : United Book Distributors
  • : United Book Distributors
  • : February 2009
  • : 195mm X 131mm
  • : Australia
  • : books

Special Fields

  • : 252
  • : Paperback
  • : Kate De Goldi