Read Kill the Possum by James Moloney Free Online
Book Title: Kill the Possum|
The author of the book: James Moloney
Date of issue: April 7th 2008
Format files: PDF
The size of the: 7.69 MB
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Loaded: 2912 times
Reader ratings: 5.9
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I've given this 1 star, but if I could, I'd give it minus 100.
Sometimes books make me mad. Usually I am lucky and I read good book after good book, but this book really struck a nerve with me and I found it infuriating. Maybe the title should have been a giant warning to me, but the blurb makes no mention of the sub-plot. Also, I really didn't think this YA book would involve a teenager killing an animal.
I am going to spoil the shiitake out of this book, but that’s because I do not recommend that anyone reads it.
Fifteen year old Kirsty Beale lives with her mother, her younger brother, Tim, and her younger half-sister, Melanie. Every second weekend they drop Melanie off at Ian Cartwright’s house, Kirsty and Tim’ ex-stepfather. Kirsty's mum married him after the death of her first husband, who was a lovely husband & father. Unfortunately, the same cannot be said for Ian. He turned out to be controlling, manipulative, a liar, and abusive. He beat his wife and Tim, and attempted to sexually assault Kirsty and when caught, tried to blame it on her - she was only thirteen at the time. Her mother, who is described as being weak and with possible mental health issues, finally divorced him but he got visitation rights hence the fortnightly weekend visits with his daughter, Melanie. Every second Sunday when he returns with Melanie, he leaves her in the car while he forces himself inside and verbally abuses the Beale family. He no longer touches them, that would leave evidence, but he makes sure they are scared and vulnerable. It takes them days to recover, Tim often skips school and drinks – though no mention is made of how a 12 or 13 year old boy obtains alcohol (it’s not from inside the house).
One weekend, a classmate of Kirsty’s, Dylan drops round, he gets there just before Ian arrives and is caught up in the confusion and panic. He stands just outside the living room and is witness to Ian’s behaviour and is shocked by it. He can’t get the family’s distress out of his mind and immediately wants to help them. Sounds like an ok guy, right? Yeah, not for long.
Kirsty and Tim have lots of reasons why they cannot do anything about Ian. If they lock the doors in the hope that he will just leave Melanie on the doorstep, he won’t drop her off. They can’t ask anyone to be at the house because he drops Melanie off during the afternoon, but they never know when exactly. Ian’s brother is a cop and together they have spread rumours that Mrs Beale made it all up and is an unreliable witness. So Tim and Dylan come up with a plan to kill Ian, sure it’s their only option.
At first I thought this would be a bit like Heathers, a black, satirical look at what would happen if you took this problem into your own hands. But it's not, it just creepy and horrid.
Dylan has a possum in his roof, his grandad lends him a cage in which he traps the possum. His grandfather comes over to help find the hole in the roof so they can patch it and suggests waiting until dark to release the possum. But Dylan has an idea in his stupid head. He brings Tim over one afternoon. They’re getting more serious about their plan to murder Ian, and he wants Tim to do some damage to an old mannequin in their garage, to see if he can do it. Tim does but Dylan suggests it’s not enough and attempts to bully Tim into killing the possum.
I was listening to this as I drove home and when this scene started, from the moment I realised where this was going, I felt sick. Thankfully Tim can’t do it, and I was relieved. Killing an innocent animal in cold blood has nothing to do with killing a man who has abused you, your mother and your sister, especially if you do it hot blooded. These two actions are not related and the first will not prove the other.
I thought it was over, but no, Dylan has major issues. He’s mad because his father left before he was one year old and now has a new family in England. He takes some advice from his grandfather, twists it to suit his intentions, and then he kills the possum.
The scenes involving the boys and the possum weren't even believable, it turns out the possum is a brushtail, the biggest ones we have here, and they can be really aggressive when caught. As a former vet nurse, I do not believe that two boys were able to handle the possum the way they did.
I won’t go into details because unlike the author I do not want to give people ideas. Things like this happen all the time. Yesterday, I read about 4 different incidents in which people had violently killed Australian native animals, just like Dylan and the possum. It really did not need to happen, he could have justified his ability to kill Ian another way, and he doesn't even end up killing Ian, he freaks out and can’t do it. So the whole scene was useless and sickening.
I'm not a fan of the idea for having a system of ratings for books, like we have for movies, because I do think kids are smart enough to read a book and be able to distance themselves from it, or realise it’s a bit too old for them, or that they shouldn't copy what happens in a book, but I do think there are some topics that should not be written about, and especially not justified - this includes rape, and animal cruelty.
The ending is messy - the boys steal Ian's gun and Tim hides it at his house. Ian shows up when he realises it's been stolen. He tries to kill Tim but ends up shooting Kirsty and then himself. Tim ends up in hospital and then a psych ward and Dylan gets away with playing his part, the cops even think he's a good guy because they assume he and Tim were stealing the gun so Ian couldn't use it, not because they had plans to kill him. Dylan never speaks up and the book ends there.
At the beginning I wanted to hold this up as a book that fans of Beautiful Disaster should read because Ian is a horrible person, and this could easily be Travis’ future. But then this book turned out to be awful and now I just hope that no one else reads it.
I've read another 2 of the author's books but I won't be reading any more.
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Read information about the authorMy full name is James Francis Moloney and I was born in Sydney, Australia on 20 September, 1954. When I was seven years old, my family moved to Brisbane and except for the odd year or two, I have lived in Brisbane ever since. At school, I was into every sport going - cricket, footy, swimming - you name it. It's hard to believe now but in High School, I was a champion Long Jumper! After University I became a teacher and then a Teacher Librarian. I moved around from school to school and in 1977-8 found myself in Cunnamulla, a little "outback" town where many Indigenous Australians live. These turned out to be important years for my writing.
In 1980, I look a year's leave, stuffed a backpack full of clothes and went off to see the world. Got to do it, guys! There's so much out there, from things to uplift your spirit to things that make you question the humanity of your fellow man. I stepped over rotting dog carcasses in Mexico city, got all weepy in a roomful of Impressionist paintings and met some fascinating people. Hope you'll do the same one day.
1983 was another big year. I got married and started work at Marist College Ashgrove, an all-boys school in Brisbane, where I stayed for fifteen years. During this time, I became interested in writing for young people, at first using the ideas and experiences gained from my time in Cunnamulla, mixed in with the thinking and wondering I'd done overseas. After my early attempts were rejected, the first of my novels, Crossfire , was published in 1992.
In 1997, my fifth novel for young adults, A Bridge to Wiseman's Cove won the Australian Children's Book of the Year Award. At the end of that year, I decided to leave teaching and become a full time writer.
In the mean time, my wife and I have produced three great children, two of whom are currently studying at University. Photos of them to the right, along with my lovely wife, Kate, who has encouraged me along every step of the way.
Now that I have turned my hobby into my job, I have had to develop some other interests. For exercise, I go cycling along the bike paths around Brisbane. I'm also into great books, great food, movies, travelling, learning to speak French and I dabble in a little painting. In recent years Kate and I have spent an extended period in France, cycled through Vietnam and soon we will be off to the USA.
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