“Life isn’t going terribly well for Derrick. He has become severely overweight, his only friend has turned on him, he is hopelessly in love with a girl way out of his league, and it’s all because of his sister. Her depression – its grips on his family – is tearing his life apart. When Derrick hears local news reports that a panther has been sighted roaming wild in his south London suburb, he resolves to capture the beast. Surely if he can find a way to trap this predator on his own turf, he can stop everything at home from spiralling towards disaster?”
Overview *Contains Spoilers*
At first I enjoyed this book; Derrick was a very well developed character and the eating problem that he faces is realistically portrayed. I found this was similar in Charlotte’s case; her depression was shown right from when she is first introduced. This makes the ending a shock for the reader.
The problem I had with the book was I found the panther a very predictable metaphor for the depression that surrounds his whole family, especially his dad and his sister, Charlotte. He blames everything on the ‘black cat’ and hopes that by finding and catching the panther, his sister will stop crying and he will no longer need to gorge himself on junk food. This was a different metaphor for depression than I was used to hearing. Normally, people refer to depression as a ‘black dog’ or a ‘black cloud’ that hangs over them. It was cleverly used, however, for me, it was predictable and I wasn’t surprised when the scratch marks on the wood started disappearing and there was no evidence of the panther ever existing.
Overall, I did enjoy the book and I think that the age group that I would suggest reading it, although it is an emotionally draining book, is younger teens. I also think that this age group would not find the plot line so predictable.
Buy on Amazon: Panther
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