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Saturday, July 17, 2010

In Honor Of...Chris Crutcher's Birthday!

I have been busy reading, reading, READING for Best Fiction (BFYA).  Don't get me wrong, it is always exciting to read titles that are "hot off the presses" and I have found some true gems.  However, sometimes I just want to read something for pleasure, not because I have to read it critically (which can sometimes take the fun out of it and make it feel like homework--ick!). 

So, as I logged into my Facebook account this morning I discovered that today was Chris Crutcher's birthday.  A little background...most of you know that I never pick "favorite books," mainly because it constantly changes.  However, if forced to, I could pick "Whale Talk" by Crutcher as one of my all-time top 5!  And if I had to pick a list of favorite authors, who's books I read over and over, Crutcher would be at or near the top. 

I have heard Crutcher speak a number of times and what he has to say always resonates with me, which is probably why I am so drawn to his books.  Crutcher's background is in social work and I think that his characters grow out of the situations and problems that real teens find themselves in.  There are so many of Crutcher's characters that I feel like I have a connection to: Sarah Byrnes, TJ Jones, Angus Bethune, Ben Wolf, Bo Brewster... And of course, Crutcher is a local author (hey, anyone in Washington, we'll take credit for), usually basing his books in the Spokane, WA area. 

So, today I decided to re-read a favorite, just because!  And as much as I would normally choose "Whale Talk," it appears that someone has "borrowed" my autographed copy as it no longer lives on my bookshelves.  (If you are the person that did borrow it, I hope that you have enjoyed it)!  Instead, since I have been wrapped up in (read: addicted to) the Tour de France, and all the talk is about how Lance Armstrong will be competing in the Hawaiian Ironman next year, I decided to pick up "Ironman."

Bo Brewster is training for the Yukon Jack triathlon, not your typical Ironman.  But he also has some major anger management issues.  He quit the football team, and after calling his teacher a name you should never call a teacher, he is close to being expelled from school. Bo is sent to Mr. Nak's Anger Management Group, which he is pretty sure is a group of future serial killers and freeway snipers.  It is in anger management that Bo meets a hard-edged group of survivors with issues and defenses rivaling his own, and where he must come to terms with why he is so angry.

It is so nice to reconnect with a favorite character...and a favorite book.  Perfect for summer reading!

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