A Bridge to wiseman's cove

Essay by A.J June 2008

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The novel ‘A Bridge to Wiseman’s Cove’ is about a teenage boy named Carl who is mum left him and his brother to go live with their aunt, who is cruel, selfish and gambles. This book describes how Carl and his younger brother find happiness in the most odd places. In this novel, the author raised some issues like underage drinking, body image, child abuse, gambling, young school leavers and dysfunctional families.

Carl’s family was tearing apart from the start, from his mum occasionally leaving them to defend for themselves as beryl explains later on “that mother of yours is always taking off.” to finding out that all the three children have different fathers. And Sarah their sister also leaves realizing that they could only make her life worse. The effects of Carl’s dysfunctional family are vast leaving kids feeling left out and alone, trapped in something that they don’t like.

Child abuse was a relatively big thing in this book centring the affects that aunt Beryl has on both Harley and Carl, but mostly Harley. She did not want Harley to leave the house. “At one end it was looped… in the window frame. At the other, met a pair of handcuffs.” This is how she kept Harley at home by chaining him up. To where their mum abandons them because she cannot handle looking after them. Child abuse in this book is quite relevant for the teenage audience of this book.

Gambling is a significant issue in this book, showing from how it can be addictive to how it almost possesses a person. Aunt Beryl had a gambling problem “she had a win at the poker machines.” and played almost everyday, and how beryl steels from Carl to get the money to gamble with, leaving Carl with no money for himself or Harley. Gambling is an awful habit that in many cases is hard to escape from and has a big impact on not just one person but friends and family.

Body image was also brought up throughout the book. Describing how someone who is unhappy with themselves like Carl and Justine, Carl’s friend, can still have a good self image and feel good about themselves instead of hiding it. It also reflects on how Carl and Justine have something close, something to relate to with each other. “stomach bulging through the lines of his buttons” describes how Carl sees himself in the mirror. Body image is a major topic in any teenagers life and it is great to see that James moloney has relised that and brought it out as a message in his book.

Underage drinking is another topic in this novel describing how teenagers are not responsible with alcohol, but try to imagine that they are. Like Maddie (Justine’s friend) who became drunk on New Years by sculling a mix of rum and coke. It was “Just rum and coke, like everyone else”, but it didn’t have the same effect to everyone else. Underage drinking is a problem that occurs in many teenagers’ lives and in some cases ruins their lives.

Leaving school early is what Carl had to do when he moved to Wiseman’s Cove after aunt beryl’s greedy mind took possession of Carl’s life and made him go get a job instead on going to school, because aunt beryl wanted the money to go gamble with. Harley on the other hand was able to go to school only so he was out of aunt beryl’s face for the day. Carl was forced to get a job on the barge with aunt beryl squeezing every dollar out of him. With Carl being fifteen years old it was hard for him to get a job but after helping joy (Maddie’s mum) he was able to help on the barge. “I didn’t want to take you on.”. Skip Duncan complained to Carl about not wanting to work with him. School is one of the essentials for a teenager and you cant just force one to loose the lack of education so easy. A Bridge to Wiseman’s Cove certainly raises the awareness of alcohol, child abuse, body image and how you feel about yourself, gambling, how families sometimes break up and how leaving school early can ruin some people’s life. I think that this book is great, making people relies that there are problems occurring out there that are usually hidden and un heard or until it is to late.

Bibliography - www.bookrags.com/