Al Capsella wants to be cool, to fit in with the other teenagers in his neighbourhood. And part of fitting in is to be like all the others, -to be "normal". But despite his heroic efforts Al faces a crippling pair of obstacles, his PARENTS. Mr & Mrs Capsella are not just uncool, they are a complete embarrassment to their fourteen-year old son. First off, they christened him ALMERIC, not something fashionable, like Brett or Scott, and now they just won't conform to what Al and all his pals know are "normal" parents. Al wants parents who are: "Perfectly ordinary and unobtrusive, quiet and orderly, well-dressed and polite, hardworking and as wealthy as possible. They should be seen and not heard. And PREFERABLY NOT SEEN VERY MUCH AT ALL" Along with schoolmates like Louis, Al has his own plans for surviving the abnormal antics of parents, grandparents and teachers. But in the end Al discovers that being really normal is the weirdest thing of all.
Judith Clarke was born and educated in Sydney and now lives in Melbourne with her husband and son. She has worked as a teacher, librarian and lecturer, and has also published novels for younger readers and short stories and poetry in magazines. Her three Al Capsella novels and her collection of stories The Boy on the Lake were first published in Australia with great success, and later in America. The first book in the Al Capsella series, The Heroic Life of Al Capsella, was included in the American Library Association Best Books for Young Adults list (1990), and was shortlisted for the New South Wales Premier's Literary Awards (1988). Al Capsella and the Watchdogs was shortlisted for the same award in 1990, and won the Variety Club Young People's Talking Book of the Year Award (1990).