May 8

‘Don’t call me Ishmael’ by Michael Gerard Bauer

I don’t really like to read much. If I get asked to read I moan and try to get out of it. But I have never enjoyed a book as much as Don’t call me Ishmael by Michael Gerard Bauer. It is a good book and it is a good book to read.

 The book is about a boy that had the same name as his disability and he got bullied at school. The bully’s name was Barry Bagsley. Barry had friends that help him bully  Ishmael Leseur. They would call him names like ‘fish tail’, ‘le sewer’ and ‘le spewer’. I found this book sad and a bit funny.

I highly recommend this book for boys and girls aged between 10-14, because the book is really good and I think it teaches us not to bully and to accept people for who they are. This book is also tempting to keep reading because you don’t know what will happen next. I really liked this book and I hope if you read it you will like it as much as I did .

By Ben F, Year 8


“The ‘thing’ slid lower down my thigh. It was hard and cigar-shaped. I twisted my leg further around till I was balancing on one foot. Whatever was down there was dropping…….dropping……              

At the last moment I made a desperate lunge and clamped my hands on my shorts.
But it was too late. A blurred object shot from my pants, bounced off the toe of my shoe and skidded across the tiles.
I held my breath. My heart stopped.
I abandoned what I was about to say.
One of the Beatles had just fallen from my pants.
I was pretty sure it was Ringo.”

Hmmmm…. Feeling interested yet? Cause I sure was! If you read this book you will travel through many of Ishmael’s crazy experiences with him. You can really relate to Ishmael’s problems, and Ishmael certainly has a lot.

This book is targeted at young teenagers, and has possibly some of the most important lessons to learn at that age.
Ishmael is just going into his second year at high school and doesn’t really have much confidence. As you read this book you learn about Ishmael’s life and how he hates it. As the book travels on Ishmael finds new friends and maybe even the confidence he’s missing!
Don’t Call Me Ishmael by Michael Gerard Bauer is certainly a great book and if you are looking for a quick read and a few laughs this is the book you should read.

By Octavia G., Year 8


I’m not usually one for books, as I don’t like reading, and “Don’t call me Ishmael” by Michael Gerard Bauer wasn’t an exception. I felt the book didn’t relate to girls, so that is why it didn’t appeal to me.

Although Michael Gerard Bauer’s writing skills are exceptional, the book in my opinion was not exciting.

The book follows Ishmael Leseur, a boy in year 9 who has Ishmael Leseur’s Syndrome. The novel takes place in St. Daniel’s All Boys High School. He is trying to fit in but is finding it hard to as his personality is very shy. He also get picked on for his name. Then Ishmael fears the new boy James Scobie, as he looks like a target to the school bullies. Barry realizes that “Scobie” has no fear so he doesn’t mess with him. To get Ishmael’s confidence boosted James decided to sign Ishmael up for debating and that’s how he meets Kelly. Ishmael realized that his life isn’t as bad now as it once was.

The book covers such topics as bullying, friendship, love and fitting in. So the book’s general audience would be boys around the age of 12-14, as the writing of the novel is complex.

As a group we read the book, and the majority of my group enjoyed the book as the topics were relevant. We rated the book ★★★ (Three Stars). The book was quite funny in places and those were the bits that we enjoyed the most.

My overall opinion was the book would have been better if read by a  12-14, but all in all it was a nice book with a good story line, but it just wasn’t enjoyable to read.

Gemma T, Year 8.


This book is a great book and a fabulous story about a fourteen-year-old boy who doesn’t have the best school life. I love the language in this book. It made me laugh quite a few times and also it was very clever.
I think the best part of this book was that it focuses on one of the main problems in schools today: bullying. In this book it explains how Barry Bagsley and his mates like to pick on other student but mostly Ishmael Leseur. This name comes from Herman Melville’s Moby Dick, a book about a whale. Their teacher at school (Miss Tarango) points this story out as she thought she was standing up for Ishmael but it only provided Barry with more names to call Ishmael, as he had a way with words. Ishmael became:




And not to mention his poor last name, Leseur, (actually pronounced Le-sir) became
Le sewer

Le spewer
Le pooer
& manure
So he didn’t have the best time at St Daniel’s all boys College.

He soon realised he had to avoid Barry but it was hard to do considering he had a lot of classes with him.
I would recommend this for older readers as it would be harder to read for young ones. Also it is more of a boys’ book than a girls’ because it would be more understandable for boys, behaviour and language wise.

Overall I would rate this book 3 stars as it was funny and a great story but personally I got a bit bored in parts, but other than that I liked this book.

Britney, Year 8

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Posted May 8, 2012 by marjk in category Guys Read, Realistic fiction, Student Reviews

About the Author

Teacher-librarian at Aquinas College, Southport, Gold Coast, Australia

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