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Literature / Don't Call Me Ishmael!

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Poor Ringo.

"And you've never heard of Ishmael Leseur's Syndrome consider yourself lucky. It's been known to destroy the 'normal behaviour' gene and expose a person's innermost idiot to the world."
Ishmael Leseur (the world's one and only sufferer)
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Don't Call Me Ishmael! is a light-hearted trilogy of Young Adult novels written by Michael Gerard Bauer and centering around cheery loser Ishmael Leseur and his friends, in an Australian all-boys school. Notable largely for an infectious enthusiasm, which suggests that Bauer enjoyed the novel as much as his characters, and for being highly quotable, to the extent that the series named a trope before receiving its own page on the wiki.

Characters with major roles in all works of the series include:


Don't Call Me Ishmael! provides examples of the following tropes:

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  • Character Development: Ishmael's name barely earns a mention in the third book due to growing self-confidence.
  • Chekhov's Gun: Razz's cringeworthy Love Letter Lunacy poem for Ish to send to Kelly (which Ish doesn't send after their friends spend several pages telling Razz that it's crap) from the second book ends up being used for punk rock song lyrics in the third book.
  • Chekhov's Skill: Of all things, a character's habit of proffering an index finger whilst quibbling over itty bitty issues of semantics turns out to be useful in hitting a volleyball that's nearly out of reach.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Near everyone. A chapter in the first book is dedicated to allowing Scobie to mock the resident bully in the most deadpan tones imaginable.
  • Demoted to Extra: Deuteragonist Scobie is only a tetiary character after the first book.
  • Embarrassing First Name: Beyond Ishmael, we also have a chap Slobo and another named Emerson.
  • Gay Guy Seeks Popular Jock: Bill's relationship with Jimmy "The Main Event" Mainwaring takes place largely off-screen, but seems to be this, since Jimmy is – as his nickname implies – one of the popular jocks at St Daniel's.
  • Malaproper: Running joke fueled by Razz: "elephant of surprise", "male chauffeuring pigs". The first example is somewhat justified. All things being equal, an elephant would be more surprising than an element.
  • Platonic Declaration of Love: Razza and Ishmael towards the end of the third book:
    Razz: Love ya, man! You know, in a totally non-Hoop Boy sort of a way.
    Ishmael: Love you too, Razz. Same way.
  • Prom Is for Straight Kids: In the third book, Bill Kingsley initially doesn't want to bring a date to prom, because he doesn't want to make trouble for the school. However, Razz sets up a Win-Win-Win-Win-situation by suggesting that Bill and his date Jimmy officially go with two girls from Sally's school who were in the same situation and couldn't attend their own prom.
  • Put on a Bus: An odd case. After the second book, Barry Bagsley does not appear. He still attends the school, presumably, but is simply "not bothering us anymore".
  • Refuge in Audacity: Occasionally lampshaded. Bauer typically sets up as many over-the-top climaxes as possible.
  • Scandalgate: In the second book, an event at a pool-party later discussed as Piss-in-the-watergate. It was cordial.
  • Thanks for the Mammary: The first entry into the series. Having fainted due to nerves, Ishmael is mortified to discover to whom he had lunged.


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