Peter

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Overview

Pressured by his peers and society to conform to the stereotyped macho image, fifteen-year-old Peter feels both confused and repelled. His confusion and his horror increase when he finds himself attracted to his brother's best friend, David, who is gay. Here is a daring, exceptionally honest novel about sexuality and the need to be true to oneself. Peter shares his every muddle and perception with us, and his candor just might help us find our own way.

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Peter

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Overview

Pressured by his peers and society to conform to the stereotyped macho image, fifteen-year-old Peter feels both confused and repelled. His confusion and his horror increase when he finds himself attracted to his brother's best friend, David, who is gay. Here is a daring, exceptionally honest novel about sexuality and the need to be true to oneself. Peter shares his every muddle and perception with us, and his candor just might help us find our own way.

An ordinary fifteen-year-old Australian kid, who enjoys riding his dirt bike and wants to be a photographer, becomes confused about his sexuality when he finds he is attracted to a gay friend of his older brother.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Reminiscent of Diana Wieler's Bad Boy , this initiation novel set in Australia convincingly describes a boy's confusion about sexuality and manhood. In order to be accepted by his peers--including a group of rough bikers--Peter, an honor student interested in photography, hides his sensitivity and his reluctance to have sex with a girl he does not love. The discomfort he feels playing the role of tough guy turns to panic when Peter finds himself drawn to David, a gay friend of his older brother. Matters become even more complicated when classmates start calling Peter a ``poof'' for refusing to break rules set by his mother. Many readers may be surprised by the chauvinistic attitude of Australian society as presented in this novel, and will have no trouble empathizing with Peter's emotional turmoil and ultimate victimization. Walker remains notably objective in her depiction of homosexuality, stressing that each person's attitudes and needs are different. At the end of this sensitively wrought book, Peter is still struggling with his identity; he has, however, learned to accept and respect himself as a growing individual. Ages 12-up. (Apr.)
KLIATT
It's no wonder that 15-year-old Peter can't get a handle on his sexual identity. Walker has populated this Australian novel with insecure, moronic males and grasping girls. Peter, a son of divorced parents who lives with his mother and older brother, is rattled by his attraction to his older brother's friend David. Given Peter's single-parent household, removed but bullying father, and the lowlife that make up his peer group, one can see this attraction may be more a matter of a need to be friends with a considerate and caring male than a question of sexual preferences. How to know? Young people are especially vulnerable to identity issues, and the current plethora of options for those choices can make it all the more confusing. Ultimately, Walker allows Peter the time to figure out the nature of his interest. Sometimes this is just what young persons need, to know that time can help to sift and sort out life's confusions and options. This may be a good choice for a classroom discussion. Talk, review, and debate could focus around the possible effects and repercussions of categorizing and making judgments based on ingrained attitudes and conditioned responses, as well as the possible additional complications created by single-parent households. KLIATT Codes: J—Recommended for junior high school students. 1991, Houghton Mifflin, 229p. 18cm. 92-18948., $5.95. Ages 13 to 15. Reviewer: Linda Piwowarczyk; Romeoville, IL , July 2001 (Vol. 35, No. 4)
School Library Journal
Gr 7 Up-- When readers first meet Peter Dawson, 15, his ambitions are simple: finish school, get a road license for his dirt bike, and find a job with cameras. But then he meets his older brother's friend David, and suddenly nothing is simple any longer. For David is gay and Peter gradually realizes that his strong attraction to the college student means that he, himself, might be gay. Set in Australia, Peter is a powerful and memorably universal novel of an adolescent's struggle to discover his sexual identity. In the land Down Under, as everywhere, it's an agonizing process. The society he inhabits defines sexuality only in terms of ignorant and mean-spirited stereotypes. If being gay is to be a ``poof'' (as his friends contemptuously put it) and a social outcast, being straight and socially acceptable means repeatedly engaging in dangerous feats of derring-do on your dirt bike and in urgent, impersonal sex with girls you hardly know. Fortunately for Peter, he finds, in David, not a stereotype, but a warm, caring individual. He also discovers that sexual identity is one of the most complexly ambiguous aspects of being human. Indeed, at the book's end Peter is still uncertain about his own sexuality, and at David's suggestion, he is prepared to give himself more time to make his own discoveries. In this first novel, Walker has created a wonderfully rich work of fiction filled with incidents that illuminate the difficult choices of her sympathetic and multidimensional characters. Not every troubled adolescent will have the good fortune of meeting a friend like David, but, with luck, many of them will find self-understanding and self-respect through reading wise and compassionate novels like this one. --Michael Cart, formerly at Beverly Hills Public Library
Hazel Rochman
Am I gay or aren't I? What's normal? Walker's frank YA novel, first published in Australia, offers no simplistic answers to 15-year-old Peter's confusion about his sexual identity. With humor and tenderness and a sharp sense of drama, Peter's first-person narrative confronts his conflicting roles. He proves his toughness with the dirt-bike gang, outdoing them in physical daring, even though he despises their definition of manhood. He quarrels with his macho, bigoted father and with his sensitive, broad-minded mother. Everywhere he feels pressured to become sexually active: his home is full of condoms, the boys are full of jeers and boasts. When a sexually blatant girl forces herself on him, he's repelled. Yet there is a girl he really likes, and he yearns for intimacy ("We'd get to know each other slowly. . . . This girl wouldn't get offended or think there was anything wrong with me just because I wasn't always groping for her tits"). At the same time, he feels some attraction for his older brother's gay friend, David, and when he's caught hugging David, he wonders if the kids are right. He must be gay David and Peter are a little too good to be true: cute, intelligent, sensitive, and tough. But the plot is full of surprises. In the tradition of Koertge's "The Arizona Kid" (1988), Walker tells a story that's sexy, funny, and complicated. In one great scene, Peter buys a gay magazine "for a friend," reads it in the public toilet, and hates the thought that the pictures turn him on: tolerance for others is one thing, but he doesn't want to be "a poofter joke." David has always known he's gay. Peter isn't sure. The didacticism is loud and clear ("We all do things differently" and "Don't rush into categorizing yourself"), but the messages are dramatized with wit and warmth. The acceptance of uncertainty is the best surprise of all.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780395647226
  • Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company
  • Publication date: 4/26/1993
  • Edition description: 1st American ed
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 176
  • Age range: 13 years
  • Product dimensions: 5.79 (w) x 8.52 (h) x 0.74 (d)

Meet the Author

Kate Walker was born in Australia. Her work has been published in many anthologies and magazines, and she is also a prolific writer of guides to creative story writing. Peter, her first novel for teenagers, received a 1991 Australian Human Rights Award honor and was shortlisted for several top Australian awards, including the Children's Book of the Year Award.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 42 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(18)

4 Star

(13)

3 Star

(7)

2 Star

(1)

1 Star

(3)

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 42 Customer Reviews
  • Posted June 8, 2009

    Age?

    Ok when I firsted picked up this book and realized that it was written in GB English I was interested to read on more about it. I do however think that the book was not very likely to today's world. I wished it would have had a better ending, it seemed rushed in my opinion.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 14, 2008

    great story

    the story was very good, very caring, and very smooth. i really enjoyed peter's character very much. the story had surprises and a shocking ending to it. i could totally relate to peter's character because i went through the same thing he did, except riding a dirt bike. i recommend this book to any who enjoy this type of genre of book

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 10, 2007

    I couldn't stand the end.

    I absolutely loved this book, the characters were so real and likable in their own way, except for a few characters that you wanted to strangle, which was good. =) I loved it, that is, until the end. It completely made the book overall unenjoyable. God, a waste of six bucks.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 27, 2003

    Peter

    being gay,i was happy to see a book that didnt make all gay men seem like pedophiles or nymphomaiacs. this is a well written,fast paced book. it was very nice to see a 'relationship' that had true meaning behind it involving a gay teen. the book remined me of myself

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 4, 2013

    Issues...

    On page 146, there's a line where Tony is speaking and there's boxes. What's that supposed to mean, anyhow? By and by, I love the book. It's well written and the charsvters are hilarious. Dirty blokes!!!

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  • Posted February 25, 2012

    A boy's coming of age story - a great read

    Growing up is painful, that is obvious enough. The teenage years is the point in our lives where we are looking for answers and there seemingly isn't one that is profound enough to give meaning to our existence. (At least for those special introspective people.) This book, I think, provides a lot of insight that is grounded in reality. It shows how boys relate to each other by one-upping, eager to be part of the group. How important approval is, even when you know what you're about to do is stupid just to get any form of approval. And in the bigger picture, how such conformity limits how much of our individuality we can show and exercise because of our fear of being rejected, physically hurt, abused, or hated. What I found most interesting is how Peter describes his observations about David. His quiet fascination of the thin, vulnerable young man really captures how I feel sometimes. David is a nuanced enough character not to be a caricature, and I appreciate that Peter has found someone whom he can find as a sort of model. Not all gays need to be screaming drag queens, chefs in the making, fashion designers or pre-occupied with cruising. The ending is what it is. I have no complaints about it. And I think it was the perfect ending to this particular story. Although I was disappointed at her heavy-handed way of dealing with the topic of relationships with minors at the end of the book. It was out of character with the rest of the book. All in all, I think this book is more about growing up and facing adulthood and all its vagueness, and less about Peter being gay. Each day we meet different kinds of people. It's easier to just bring them over to our side of thinking and evangelize them, or go with the flow and blend in, but that simply isn't how it works. We must navigate the rest of our lives finding which groups of people we give our time to, and which sort of people we can't live without. Some people call this outdated. But this isn't the case. It is still relevant in societies and neighborhoods where religion is held sacred. Where hang-ups about the types of clothes you wear are just the tip of the bigoted iceberg. Which makes me thankful that religion is not part of this story. That is a different story, with different characters and different circumstances. Peter's story is his story when he was 15 and he met David and he was just starting to find himself.

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  • Posted June 15, 2011

    I Also Recommend:

    A GREAT TEENAGE EXPERIENCE

    This is a book that I recommend reading. It shows how a boy, named Peter, questions his sexuality throughout the book when he meets his brothers' friend, David. He admires David, and develops a crush on him and doesn't exactly realize until later on. It's a good book about learning your sexuality and realizing who you are, no matter what society thinks.

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  • Posted May 26, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    A very nice read...Until the End!

    I was a story with a boy dealing with the fact he might like boys. A very cool story.

    The End just drove me crazy, liker there should soo be another book to continue the story.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 9, 2008

    i wish there was more!

    This book is so touching, except for the ending. its kind of sad, i really wish there was a sequel. it dissapointed me =( but i recommend you buy it dream the ending = ]

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 17, 2007

    great but a little slow

    the book was fabulouse but it was a little slow and the ending was kind of disapointing.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 19, 2006

    Absolutely amazing!

    This was a very amazing book. I loved every part of it, up until the end. It's so sad, and yet believable at the same time. The characters aren't all stereotyped--Peter, his best friend, his brother, and David all have realistic, 3-dimensional personalities.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 25, 2006

    Peter

    An excellent story that breaks down stereotypes within a stereotype.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 8, 2005

    An okay book.

    I liked this book up intill the end. i felt it was disappointing. but i fell in love with peter and i had a fun time reading it.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 20, 2005

    Good Book

    I thought it was pretty good. In the beginning it was kind of boring, which made it tough for me to get into, but then after I got past the a few chapters it became more interesting to me. It's not a bad book at all however, I wish it had a better beginning though.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 27, 2005

    Don't Even Bother!

    I really felt this book was boring. It was a real drag, it was almost like torment to make myself read it. I honestly wouldn't recommend thiis book to a single soul.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 13, 2005

    THIS BOOK WAS DISSAPOINTING

    I didnt like the story or the characters in this book.I thought they were all boring and didnt act like they knew what they were doing in this book.I read a similar book named ''LUCKY''and it was the same thing all the characters are boring and the story dosent know where its going.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 20, 2004

    IT GREAT

    ok i am only 16 but i love this book at first it kinda slow but i love it by the end i had mix emotions about while i read like anger, saddness, pain, and other i would recomend this book to anyone!!! Peter was also the first book i read of that type and i am glade i will check out other books this write has wrote also!!!! so slow begging good middle and great ending !! (be great if the author wrote a second book to peter

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 18, 2004

    Life experiences...Self-Discovery

    Peter is a beautiful book of self discovery and young love. Although it is shown through a fictional character it helps you come to terms with who you are and see some of the possible reactions from you¿re loved ones. From page one you will fall in love with this book that you will not want to end.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 27, 2004

    oh boyy..

    This book took me 3 hours to read because I was so into it. Good luck for any gay, or bi people.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 10, 2004

    Absolutely Beautiful

    I read 'Peter,' every year when I was in high school, and found it hard to put down each time. As a gay boi struggling to come to terms with himself, I found it gave me hope and the will to continue on. I recently read it again and it was just as wonderful then as it was in high school. Written in a way appealing and satisfying to adults and comprehensive to youth.

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