Morrison & Mr Moore


Publication Date: 9 Sep. 2021
Format: Paperback / softback

ISBN 9780645128024

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    Morrison is 17. Smart, sarcastic, annoying, and very angry.

    Mr Moore, a school principal on the verge of retirement, has seen it all. Now coping with a wife who has Alzheimers, his plans for his life in retirement are in tatters. The last thing he needs is someone like Morrison.

    What happens when two unlikely people find strength in each other?

    This unique story is captivating and surprising, bringing tears and laugh-out-loud moments and brilliant insights into the nature of friendship and the problems of ageing at every age.

    A novel of strength, hope, humility, and acceptance... and that kid who wears petticoats...

    Information

    Book Type:
    Age Group: 14 years to Adult
    Traffic Lights:
    Class Novel: Yes
    Good Reads Rating: /5
    Literary Rating: /5

    Review

    Morrison first crossed paths with the school principal, Mr Moore, in Year 8, during the first of many teacher-ordered visits to the chairs outside his office, intended to bore him into obedience. It isn’t until he is in Year 11 that their unscheduled conversations quietly transform into a gently trusting friendship.

    When Mr Moore’s wife Jenny is diagnosed with rapid onset Alzheimer’s, Morrison is one of the few people Mr Moore mentions it to.

    Mr Moore’s quiet belief in Morrison leads the young man to want to live up to his example. While interviewing Mr Moore for a school project, Morrison sees firsthand the patience, kindness and love that Mr Moore gives to his wife Jenny, even when she is in the worst stages of her disease. He also recognises the increasing pain and weariness on Mr Moore’s face.

    Thankfully there are others who believe that Morrison is far more than his negative behaviour. The contrast between the teachers who are able to look past Morrison’s smart mouth and inappropriately expressed anger to see his brilliance and potential, versus those who consider him of little value is profound. It’s those who are willing to step past their own frustrations who ultimately, together with Mr Moore, contribute to the man he will become.

    Young Morrison is a bundle of contradictions. His mother, an addict, left him to be raised by his grandmother, and he considers Norman Healy—the father he barely remembers and hates beyond measure—to be little more than a sperm donor. Being called by his name is almost more than the teen can bear, while also creating a hot button that the kids at school just love to push. It isn’t until a teacher tells him he can actually choose to change his name, that the younger Norman Healy becomes Morrison (inspired by author John Morrison, whose writing the same teacher introduced him to). Nothing more, nothing less.

    Morrison loves words on the page far more than he trusts those that come out of people’s mouths. In fact, the opening chapter of this book is purportedly a piece of his writing, about a place that is special to him. Books were his escape when he was a little boy still living with his addict mother and a parade of different ‘stepfathers’, and that love for words and stories has never gone away. His own stories, and the stories others tell him, feature powerfully throughout the book.

    Morrison realises that Mr Moore has shown a lot of himself – his fears, his sadness, and his joys – to him over the three years they’ve been chatting. Despite the many troubles he has lived through in his life, Mr Moore has never used them as an excuse to make others miserable. If anything, those things have made him more understanding and sympathetic. Ultimately, Morrison will have to decide for himself whether that’s the kind of man he wants to be…

    Told in first person perspective by Morrison, this is a beautiful, masterfully-crafted story that powerfully demonstrates the difference the gentle kindness of a man who lives a life of commitment can make in the life of a broken boy. Make sure you have a box of tissues nearby!

    Themes

    broken families, friendship, addiction, mentors, multi-generational relationships, making a difference, love, kindness, commitment, self-sacrifice, Alzheimer’s, grief, loss, perspective, choices, writing, power of words, forgiveness, Diabetes

    Content Notes

    1. Language: dick/head x 8, piss/ed off x 4, bloody x 14, Christ x 5 (p6, 122, 130, 150, 162), bastard x 5, shit x 7, prick x 2, Jesus x 5 (p63, 74, 112, 122), ‘poofta’ x 2 (p95), bitch x 1, retarded x 1 (p10), bugger x 2. 2. The students’ nickname for Mr Wilson is ‘little willy’. 3. Morrison’s grandmother has recently been attending a Christian spiritualist church, the latest in a long line of churches she has tried (p112-3). 3. Morrison’s birth father ‘shagged’ his mum, got her pregnant and then ‘pissed off’ (p17). His mother became an addict. 4. The two teachers in charge of Media Camp (who are a married couple), have an unwritten rule that the students are welcome to smoke dope, drink, have sex or do pretty much anything else, as long as they do it quietly and out of sight (p61 – no actual descriptions). However when Mr Moore comes to camp and Morrison convinces him to stay so he can star in their short film, it kills off the other activities and the teachers lead the kids to quickly clean up before he can discover what has actually been going on. 5. When the team assignment is to film an interview with someone interesting, Petticoats suggests a guy who has been cross-dressing for most of his life. However, he isn’t available, as he has moved to Tasmania with his boyfriend, so they decide to ask Mr Moore. While in his house filming the interview, they get to experience firsthand just some of what it is like for him to take care of his wife, when no one knows how she will be from one moment to another. They can see the toll it is taking on him, but he never gives up and never complains, just keeps doing what he can to look after the woman he has spent his life with. 6. According to Morrison, Petticoat might be gay, or bisexual, or heterosexual with a penchant for petticoats, or he might just like pushing the envelope, shoving stereotypes in people’s faces (p94). Morrison figures that makes him not much different to himself or to Roxy, since they both like to get in other people’s faces one way or another to ‘piss them off’ (p95). 7. Roxy gives Morrison a passionate tongue kiss to pretend they are together in order to annoy some of the other students (p95). They later start dating, and there’s a genuine, passionate kiss (p134). 8. When school bully Chris picks on Petticoat, Morrison goes crazy. His hatred for Chris (who has caused him plenty of hassle in the past), and concern for his friend transforms into a torrent of rage and anguish from his childhood which drives his fists, over and over. Chris is lucky to still be walking by the time he is finished. Morrison gets suspended for two weeks, and the event is a pivotal one.

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