Creature of the Night

(i)

 

Gritty story about troubled teen is realistic and complex.

What parents need to know

Positive messages

There are both positive and negative messages here, but ultimately the takeaway is positive as Bobby learns to change his ways. Initially, Bobby's behavior is not only criminal (stealing, abusing alcohol, using drugs, etc.), but it’s also disrespectful. He yells at and ignores Ma,
lies to police, and is harsh with his little brother. Ma has anger issues, too,
and is in financial debt. She also hits and yells at her kids. However, PJ and
Coley represent a well-functioning family with strong morals and values, and
they give Bobby a chance at real relationships and responsibility. Ideas
of second chances, forgiveness, and finding passions come through.

Positive role models

 PJ, Coley, and the whole farm family are positive role models for Bobby. Bobby initially makes poor decisions, but because he makes big changes in his life and outlook, he's a role model for those who struggle and want/need redemption. On the negative side, Fluke and the boys in the gang are criminals, and Ma yells, hits, takes pills, and smokes, but since she tries to do the right thing, she garners some compassion.

Violence

Bobby and his gang are thugs and criminals: they steal purses, electronics, bikes, and cars. They burn the cars after running them out of fuel. Mick beats someone up and knocks his teeth out and stomps on his head. Bobby and Ma watch serial killer movies.  The country cottage has a violent past -- first the rumors of a murdered child, and then the previous resident was found murdered and hacked into small pieces. Ma also hits her kids and has yelling rages.

Sex

Fluke, age 17, stays at his girlfriend's house and moves in with her so he can have sex with her. He talks about sex, as well.

Language

"F--k"; "s-t"; "bastard"; "piss"; "snotface"; "go to hell"; "bitch"; "dickhead"; "wanker".  It also has British-isms that teens may not be familiar with.

Consumerism

Xbox, Legos, Nokia, Land Rover, and Lara Croft are all mentioned but play no big roles.

Drinking, drugs, & smoking

Bobby and his gang friends drink beer and hard alcohol, smoke pot and cigarettes, and do other unidentified harder drugs. Bobby drinks too much, throws up, wishes he was dead. Bobby wants to drink and do drugs when he is bored. On one occasion he doesn't remember three days after taking drugs. Ma smokes cigarettes and takes sleeping pills. Beetle always drinks until he passes out. Mick uses crack and gets manic afterward.

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that this book is rough and gritty, with much swearing, violence, delinquent behavior and attitudes, and weak parenting. Bobby and his thug friends have little concern for consequences and are void of remorse. However, the book is really well written and the characters are genuine and complex. As Bobby is exposed to a more gentle life and good people, his interests and attitudes begin to change, though haltingly and not without relapse.  Parents also need to know that the mystery behind the cottage is not resolved.

What's the story?

Bobby leads a reckless life of violence, car theft, and drug abuse in Dublin. Ma moves the family to the country to keep Bobby away from his bad-influence friends. There they rent a cottage from a kind and hardworking farming family. Over time, Bobby learns important things from the family, such as how to work hard and be responsible, and also that the cottage has a mysterious past, including a murdered child and the disappearance of the previous resident. The story follows Bobby's slow, painful, and curvy road toward dignity, while the subtle subplot of the mysterious cottage unfolds with intrigue.

Is it any good?

QUALITY

While Bobby is crass, indignant, criminal, and insensitive, this book is well written and fully engaging. The characters are genuine and complex, and mature readers will want to turn the pages. The author leads the reader through micro-climates in the storyline: One is the thug and drug world of Bobby in Dublin; another is the good, clean, hardworking world of the farm family; and the third world is the mysterious and eerie cottage. Readers will want to know if and how Bobby transforms, and also if the myths about the cottage are real.  For those readers who can make their way through some intense delinquency and unapologetic characters, this book will satisfy on many levels.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about the idea of belonging to something. Did Bobby belong to anything? Where did he look for belonging, and where did he ultimately find it?

  • Discuss the role of boredom in Bobby's life. When

  • he was in the city, boredom led to bad behavior but when he lived in

  • the country, it led to new learning and discovery. What do you do

  • when you are bored?

  • Talk about the wrench that Bobby

  • bought after earning and saving money for the first time. Why was that

  • so important to him? Have you ever bought something with money you

  • earned? What did you buy and why? 

Book details

Author:Kate Thompson
Genre:Coming of Age
Book type:Fiction
Publisher:Roaring Brook Press
Publication date:March 31, 2009
Number of pages:256

This review of Creature of the Night was written by

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Quality

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Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging; great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging; good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging; good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging; OK learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

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Parent Written bycooolboy12344 February 25, 2012

poopoo

Very good book but swears too much lads so watch broo
What other families should know
Great role models
Parent Written byQ25 June 13, 2012

Great novel. IMHO, not for kids.

Graphic language. Pervasive criminal and antisocial behavior from most characters including violent assault. Pervasive smoking, drinking, and drug use. Occasional references to sex. Focus on fear, supernatural events, and dysfunctional families. Central plot theme involves a murder with subsequent dismemberment. A great novel. IMHO, not for kids.
What other families should know
Too much violence
Too much sex
Too much swearing
Too much drinking/drugs/smoking
Teen, 15 years old Written byLabrandi April 18, 2011
This review is well-written and makes me want to actually read this entire book. Now, I,m stuck on where to get it from.
What other families should know
Great messages

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