One of the ways Ishmael refers to Year Nine is ‘the toughest year of his life’. Ishmael is bullied by his fellow student and tormentor Barry Bagsley, which affects him greatly throughout the year. Ishmael has to deal with the flow of insults and trouble Barry produces and has his limits tested at many times throughout the year. “I lay awake for hours after that, staring at the ceiling. I couldn’t get Barry Bagsley out of my mind. I thought about my life since I had met him. I relived over and over every insult, every push and shove, every taunt, every sneer, every arrogant laugh, every spiteful trick, every put-down, and every lost battle” (Bauer, pg.249,2006). This example indicates as to why Ishmael refers to Year Nine as ‘the toughest year of his life’.
Another way Ishmael refers to Year Nine is ‘the most embarrassing year of his life”. This is because when Ishmael participates as a speaker in his first debate he makes a complete fool of himself. After a last minute call from Scobie, Ishmael has to rush to the first debate he has ever spoken in. Showing up at the scene as a nervous wreck, Ishmael discovers that not only must he speak, but against the team which the love of his life is on. Whilst speaking Ishmael stutters, stumbles, has a peg with the features of Beatles star ‘Ringo” fall out of his pants, and faints, groping the love of his life Kelly Faulkner on the way down. “The next thing I knew, Prue’s peg person was being swallowed by darkness