Ruby's Reviews > Whale Talk

Whale Talk by Chris Crutcher
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's review
Sep 22, 2011

really liked it

PERSONAL REACTION: I found Whale Talk engaging, funny, and heartbreaking. The characters have depth and substance. The main character, T. J., narrates the story. He brings together a group of misfits, including a sociopath, a boy with a prosthetic leg, and a very brainy why-use-a-nickel-word-when-you-can-use-a-fifty-cent-word, to form the Cutter High School swim team. Oh, and the high school has no pool, but T.J. has very good reasons for making the team work. He ends up getting so much more from his efforts than he ever expected.

I really enjoyed the book, although I got a little concerned when the seriously damaged psyche of the characters kept surfacing and the tone of the book took a distinct turn toward the preachy. I am usually put-off by an author’s preachiness, but because I liked all the characters so much, I overlooked it easily.

As I was reading, I couldn’t imagine what whale talk had to do with anything, but I love the way it was tied into the plot and theme of the book. It’s one of those ideas that I know will stay with me for a long time and pop up on those occasions when whale talk is truly the best form of communication.

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