Katie's Reviews > We Can't All Be Rattlesnakes

We Can't All Be Rattlesnakes by Patrick Jennings
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Feb 26, 10


** spoiler alert ** Cute story about a gopher snake that gets captured by a kid, Gunnar. Crusher (the snake) is put in a tank and ends up communication telepathically to a tortoise, Speedy; a lizard, Rex; and a tarantula, Dracula. Throughout the story, as Crusher tries to understand "humans" and make sense of their world ("He pointed to a woman standing behind a slender metal pole that came up to her chin. Atop it was a black fuzzy ball. Apparently the pole's purpose was to hold this ball so the woman could speak into it. Somehos it amplified her voice. Leave it to humans to devise ways to make themselves even louder.") (p.74) and the crazy things they do, Crusher grows and changes into a completely different snake, one who is thoughtful and ironically cares about others' feelings. "I worried that my playacting was becoming real, that I was being desnaked." (p.65)Crusher couldn't understand why Gunnar spent the morning in front of the teevee, jabbing and cursing. He couldn't understand why he prefered that to going outside (most adults wonder the same thing). Crusher went on a hunger strike and wouldn't eat the mice Gunnar gave him, one being Breakfast, a mouse that ended up becoming Crusher's friend, who she took care of in a motherly way. "Breakfast grew more panicky as the car continued to accelerate. He ran about so madly, he cracked hi head against the glass and knocked himself out cold. His limp body was tossed about the cage. I wrapped him gently in my coils." (p. 72) Gunnar seemed to really need a friend in the story and his captured pets filled that companionship viod, his parents being too occupied in their own lives to pay attention to Gunnar. At the end, Gunnar ends up releasing Crusher after cathing a king snake and needing the tank. When being released, Crusher "pretends" to eat Breakfast, all to save his friend from being recaptured and fed to the new snake. Reflecting on his experience with Gunnar, Crusher forgave Gunnar his "human failings" and hoped he "would see the errors of his ways as he matured" as he slithered away from the "humans' strange, boxy world." He thought himself to be a "freak" due to the fact that he befriended creatures outside his species and even went so far as to save a mouse's life. "Yes, I'm a freak. And I'm proud of it." (p.120)
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