CARL ??“ A Bridge to Wiseman??™s Cove
Carl Matt starts off a child to be sorry for. He is huge, quiet, unconfident and an emotional punching bag for his family. He does not let out his anger like his family, or run away. He stays put, always accepting it when the responsibility falls to him. He takes all of this on and shows no ill effects, other than being isolated by his peers. He is a lonely child, but feels too awkward to try to make friends. He does not feel a part of society and no-one seems to want to encourage him to enjoy life. Carl is the only responsible guardian of his brother Harley, and is weighed down by that.
Wattle Beach is a strange place for Carl. The people are normal, happy, and have families that look after them and are worried about trivial issues compared to Carl??™s emotional baggage. Moving to this sunny place changes Carl in a big way. The locals are hostile because of an incident Carl was unaware of that happened many years ago. His grandfather, another Matt, accidently killed a young boy and crippled a man for life in a 4WD. The Wattle Beach community treats Carl as if it was his fault. For the first ? of the book, Carl is unaware of this and is unsure of why the name matt seems to irritate the locals so much. When he does find out, he is shocked and horrified to hear about this.
Carl meets a person so kind and caring it turns his life around. Joy Duncan, the mother of the boy who was killed by Carl??™s grandfather takes Harley in and gives him a job working on the barge run by her husband. Skip, the owner of the barge is reluctant, and extremely aggressive towards Carl in the beginning. After a while Carl proves his worth by starting a carwash on the barge and hugely increasing the number of customers the barge receives. He works a 7 day week, from dawn till dusk. All the money that he gets from this he has to give to Beryl or risk her evicting him from the house. Skip Duncan learns to respect Carl and in turn Harley because of the responsibility Carl takes.