Wednesday, April 30, 2008


by Chris Crutcher

I was just trying to figure out which other books by C.C. I've read so I could tack them on to this entry. I know I read Athletic Shorts, but I can't figure out which other one. I know it was something to do with sports... Um, yeah, pretty much all his books are. In any case, it didn't make a huge impression, apparently, and neither did the short story collection, although I remember both being perfectly adequate examples of the high-school-athlete-overcomes-obstacle genre.

Anyway. I do remember thinking it was all too obviously an adult (and I don't even mean twenty- or thirty-something) trying to write in the voice of a teenager. But I didn't notice that in this new book, oddly enough. It was a fun, quick read — fun despite the plot revolving around the imminent death of the 18-year-old protagonist from a fast-acting, incurable disease that he hasn't told his family or friends about.

The character has a really engaging voice, and he does all the narrating, so there's no evidence of Crutcher's crotchetiness. There is the occasional odd turn of phrase, but I'd chalk that up to the rural Idaho setting and/or the "things my dad says" phenomenon. For example: "I'd swim through five hundred yards of molten turds to listen to her fart into a paper sack over the telephone" — which actually cracked me up.

And speaking of crack, this football-related quote gave me a different sort of thrill: "Thomas taps the lineman on the hole he's going through, twice on the butt."

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