I decided to treat myself to a re-read of the Ishmael trilogy by the award-winning Michael Gerard Bauer.  Why?  Well, I don’t really need a reason but I was in a very unsettled mood earlier in the week and needed to read something I could just sink into.  These books are funny, and clever and thought-provoking – and I love them!  There was no way I could choose just one of the three so here you are: Don’t Call Me Ishmael, Ishmael and the Return of the Dugongs and Ishmael and the Hoops of Steel.  Apropos of absolutely nothing at all, I got surprise points in Australia recently when someone asked me if I knew about dugongs AND I DID.  Thank you Michael!

As I said, I find it impossible to split these three books.  Even when reviewing the final one for The Scotsman, the others tagged along!

There’s a special treat for mature, confident and enthusiastic readers this spring. Ishmael and the Hoops of Steel is the concluding book in Michael Gerard Bauer’s trilogy revolving around Ishmael and his friends. It had me by turns hysterical with laughter, deep in thought and in floods of tears. When I finished it I was devastated because I knew there was no more. Readers who don’t know Ishmael will want to start at the beginning (Don’t Call Me Ishmael and Ishmael and the Return of the Dugongs) in order to get to know the boys and live with them as they progress through high school in Australia. Bauer’s writing is deceptively simple, easy to read and dialogue driven. He meets difficult issues head on and allows his characters to deal with them. The characterisation is truly outstanding: even the fringe characters leap off the page as they interact, grow and develop. The plot twists and turns entirely believably, creating a world that I would like to inhabit.  Read this series.  Be a part of Ishmael’s world.

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