A Bridge to Wiseman’s Cove Summary A Novel for Young Adults by James Moloney Winner

A Bridge to Wiseman’s Cove Summary

A Novel for Young Adults by James Moloney
Winner, CBCA Book of the Year: Older Reader 1997

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Carl Matt is an awkward, lumpy fifteen year-old who just wants to be loved. Sarah, Carl and Harley’s fathers all walked out on the family and their mother, Kerry often finds them too hard to cope with. When his mother walks out on the family, apparently for good, nineteen year-old Sarah, terrified of the responsibility of raising the two boys, heads toEurope, packing the boys off to stay with their Aunt Beryl in Wattle Beach.

Beryl is less than delighted at the idea of taking in the boys, until she realizes that she can keep their social services payments. However, far from filling the role of their mother, she shows the boys no love and even attempts to keep Harley chained to the house to prevent him stealing and misbehaving.

Carl is miserable in Wattle Beach . His size and awkwardness make him feel self-conscious and unable to make friends at school. Even the townspeople of Wattle Beach regard the boys with suspicion, believing all the Matt clan to be useless no-hopers. All Carl wants is a family and the security of knowing that he is loved.

When, at sixteen, Carl stops receiving any social security benefits, Beryl forces him to leave school. He finds work with Skip and Joy Duncan who run a rusty run-down barge from Wattle Bay to the nearby island. When Carl first starts to work for them the business is losing money, largely because of competition from a rival barge company. Before long however, Carl, reveling in finally belonging to something, shows initiative and helps to bring trade to the struggling business. He even begins to find the courage to stand up to his uncaring, manipulative Aunt Beryl.

But, just as Carl begins to experience happiness, family secrets come back to haunt him and again bring his world crashing down around him.

Finally the truth is revealed and Carl is forced to confront many of his demons. Gradually he begins to let down his defences and allow others in, finally accepting himself as a loved and valued member of the community.

A Bridge to Wiseman’s Cove Detailed Summary


A woman gets on board a bus…destination unknown… she waits out of sight and sneaks on when the driver is pre-occupied. She does not have a ticket and no-one knows she is on the bus.

Kerry. Chapter 1.

In this chapter we are introduced to the Matt family. 3 kids, Sarah 19, Carl 15 and Harley 9. Their mother is Kerry. She been married 3 times and each child has a different father.

Kerry did not handle things well and would disappear sometimes for days on end, the kids called it “Mums holiday”. Carl is described as very big and overweight He is self conscience about this.

Harley is out on his bike all the time. Kerry disappears again. Sarah looked after her 2 younger brothers and worked in a travel agency.

Sarah. Chapter 2.

Kerry has been gone for 2 months. Sarah is selling all the furniture in the house. Carl knows something is wrong when Sarah announces that she is going overseas for a holiday. Said she had it planned since before Kerry left. She said that they would be staying with “Aunt Beryl”. Beryl lives at the beach so Harley loves the idea.

Carl overhears Sarah on the Phone to Beryl that night at first begging her to take the boys and later insisting, she said it’s only for a few weeks. “I will put them on a bus whether your there to meet them or not.

Sarah packs their clothes and puts them on the bus. She gives Carl a large sum of money. Carl knew it was the boys share of what Sarah made when she sold everything she is quite upset after the bus leaves and keeps saying “I’m only 19.

Aunt Beryl Chapter 3.

The boys arrived at Wattle Beach but Aunt Beryl was not there to meet them. Carl knew where Beryl lived and managed to get their bags to the house. Harley took off to explore the beach. Beryl arrived later in the afternoon in a tow truck.

Driven by a man (Bruce) the truck had “Wattle beach 4 wheel drive recovery” printed on its side”. Beryl remarked about how many clothes they had brought. Carl hoped she would not suspect. She showed them their room. N


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