Kristin's Reviews > Deadline

Deadline by Chris Crutcher
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Feb 14, 11

Read from February 08 to 13, 2011

I must admit that I had to force myself to finish this book. I was lost in a quagmire of incomprehension when reading the passages that described football games. (So, I guess that's a valuable experience - I can relate to students who read something and report that they have no idea what they just read). When I learned more about Rudy and Dallas, my response was "you have got to be kidding me." How could this one kid from a small town end up acquainted with two people who have such seriously disturbing histories? I guess I should leave it to Hey-Soos to sort that out. I think that having multiple characters who have deep problems diminishes the believeability of this book. And the part about Marla - her bailing out of therapy because he asked her if she ever felt connected to someone - ridiculous. I don't think that question is profound enough to cause a professional to have an existential crisis. As for Ben Wolf, I was so irritated by his selfish decision to keep his diagnosis to himself, and by his arrogant, self-righteous show-boating, I couldn't bring myself to feel sympathetic for him, which is kind of sad since he was dying and all.
I would not use this book in a classroom. I suppose it could generate a good discussion about the right to end one's life if one so chooses, but there's got to be other literature out there to spark that debate. I can see why it's popular with young adults, though, so I would mask my inner disdain and recommend it to students if I thought it would make a good match.
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Mark You're hitting on some of the criticism that exists out there about Crutcher's books, Kristin. He draws heavily on sports, which is part of the reason, perhaps, why his books are so incredibly popular with teen boys. And, he also draws a lot on his experience as a family therapist (I think he's still practicing). And while it may make for a lot of issues to pack into one book, Crutcher's characters are often based on people with whom he's worked.

I think the question of whether Ben is selfish or not is a great one - I hope it'll come up tomorrow during our discussion. Similar to last week, when we spent some time debating whether Frankie Landau-Banks was a feminist, or just a nut case. :)


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