Friday, 6 January 2012

Don't Call Me Ishmael Review

Don’t Call Me Ishmael
-       Michael Gerard Bauer

Publisher: UK – Templar

There's no easy way to put this, so I'll say it straight out. It's time I faced up to the truth. I'm fourteen years old and I have Ishmael Leseur's Syndrome. There is no cure. And there is no instant cure to not fitting in. But that won't stop Ishmael and his intrepid band of misfits from taking on bullies, bugs, babes, the Beatles, debating, and the great white whale in the toughest, the weirdest, the most embarrassingly awful...and the best year of their lives.

Ishmael is a young boy struggling with an unusual name and the horrors of growing up in a boys school where anything that makes you stand out is bad. That said, this is also a delightfully funny novel dealing with the pains of growing up and standing up for yourself and others. Some of the situations are awkward, very funny and totally relatable. Growing up we all had difficulties to overcome and people we saw every day that we wished we didn’t. And Ishmael has plenty in his life! For those in the UK this reminded me very much of a PG version of The Inbetweeners with embarrassing social encounters, loud mouthed inappropriate friends and some quiet pathos.

Ishmael has a certain charm about him – it is written from his perspective in a charming and engaging manner that I absolutely adored. I was able to loose myself entirely to the story – complete with side stories which inform and entertain. I even found myself sputtering with laughter many times – earning myself some very bizarre looks on the train! The writing was appealing and the chapters short which kept me turning the pages wanting to get just one more chapter in.  

Ishmael’s friend with no fear adds a layer of poignancy to the proceedings which adds depth – and really helps as Ishmael matures over the year. He learns to stand up for himself even knowing that it might not make a difference – and even learns that everyone has an Achilles’ heel. While aimed at younger that my usual YA reads, I had an absolute blast with Ishmael and friends.

Recommended for fans of Jeff Kinney and Jacqueline Wilson.  9 out of 10

**Check Back This Afternoon for a Guest post from the awesome author himself, Michael Gerard Bauer and a giveaway!**

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