Tag Archives: Chris Crutcher

Deadline by Chris Crutcher (with bonus list)

Deadline

“Love, in the universal sense, is unconditional acceptance. In the individual sense, the one-on-one sense, try this: we can say we love each other if my life is better because you’re in it and your life is better because I’m in it. The intensity of the love is weighed by how much better.”
-Hey-Soos

When Ben Wolf discovers he has a terminal disease and has only a year left to live, he decides to make his last year worth it. He decides against telling anyone, even his family, and against getting treatment, so he won’t have to spend his last year weak and bed-ridden. He also decides to spend this last year doing anything and everything he’s always wanted to do (or anything he can do within his small town).

I don’t think I could’ve saved a better book for last. It was unbelievably difficult to even find a quote for this post– there were way too many. Not only from the spiritual Hey-Soos (and no, I did not spell that wrong), but from countless others as well. You could literally flip to any page in this book and find a great quote.

There were so many things going on in this book, I don’t know where to begin. The last sentence of the description on the back cover says, “But living with a secret isn’t easy… What will Ben do when he realizes he’s isn’t the only person who’s keeping one?” And that sentence alone pretty much sums up the entire book. Almost every character Ben comes into contact with has a huge secret, or at least a big problem. And it is fascinating.

Now I’m rambling, and I don’t want to keep going in fear of giving anything else away, so I’ll end it on this note: Deadline is easily one of the greatest books I’ve ever read.

And, finally, since I promised you a bonus list in the title of this post, and since I’ve finished all of my Christmas books, here’s

J’s List of Top 12 Best Books Reviewed So Far
*No particular order*

  • The Boy in the Striped Pajamas by John Boyne — read it in a day, bawled, then watched the movie, bawled
  • The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky — I want to be friends with Patrick. Badly.
  • Saving June by Hannah Harrington — just all-around awesome, and I could only dream of going on a road trip as cool as this.
  • Deadline by Chris Crutcher — see above review 🙂
  • Going Bovine by Libba Bray — very weird, but very cool.
  • The Burn Journals by Brent Runyon — one of my favorite nonfictions.
  • Luna by Julie Anne Peters — a great portrayal of struggling with becoming transgender/dealing with BIID
  • Right Behind You by Gail Giles — Gail Giles is just perfect anyway, but this was my favorite of hers.
  • Staying Fat for Sarah Byrnes by Chris Crutcher — after reading only one of his books, he became one of my favorite authors.
  • A Child Called “It” by Dave Pelzer — an incredible story of torture, determination, and survival.
  • Such a Pretty Girl by Laura Wiess — an unpredictable ending that makes the whole book ten times better.
  • One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest by Ken Kesey — technically a classic, but still amazing. (Also, the movie was nearly just as good.)
I couldn’t bear to leave out two of these marvelous books, so I made it a top 12 instead of the usual top 10. Anyway, it took me quite a while to separate my favorites from the ones I just liked, so hopefully you all enjoy this list. Below is a much smaller list of the books I didn’t like as much. (Let the whining begin.)
J’s List of Top 5 Worst Books Reviewed So Far
*No particular order*
  • The Dream Where the Losers Go by Beth Goobie — stupid, stupid, stupid.
  • Candy by Kevin Brooks — didn’t live up to expectations at all.
  • Parrotfish by Ellen Wittlinger — could have been so much better than it was, plus the Christmas scene was dreadful.
  • Beastly by Alex Flinn — if you really want to know, read my review, but prepare yourself for some serious complaining.
  • The Morgue and Me by John C. Ford — so terrible, I didn’t even finish it. That’s why you didn’t see a review for it on here.

-J

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Staying Fat for Sarah Byrnes by Chris Crutcher

Staying Fat for Sarah Byrnes

My god, what a wonderful book. This is my first time reading anything by Chris Crutcher, and I have to say I’ve been missing out. His writing style is absolutely amazing, and I will definitely be looking into more of his work in the future (once I’ve finished the rest of these 39 books I got for Christmas– one of which is another Chris Crutcher book that I can’t wait to read). I’ll try not to spend this entire post gushing about him, though, and get into the review.

I can’t be positive, but I believe Staying Fat for Sarah Byrnes may have become my favorite of the books I’ve received for Christmas (so far, at least). The story revolves around Eric “Moby” Calhoune and his best friend Sarah Byrnes, two of the biggest outcasts at their school due to their appearance. Eric is easily the most obese kid in their junior high school, and Sarah Byrnes has burn marks across her face and hands after pulling a pot of boiling spaghetti onto herself when she was three. Since then, she’s insisted everyone call her Sarah Byrnes instead of Sarah, so nobody will be tempted to make a pun out of her name.

The first quarter of the novel shifts back and forth between Eric’s junior high memories of his friendship with Sarah Byrnes and present time. Now, Eric has lost a lot of weight from joining the swim team and Sarah Byrnes has been put into a hospital after refusing to talk for a prolonged period of time. Eric visits Sarah Byrnes every day, hoping to bring her out of the state she’s in, but when she finally starts to talk again, nothing is the same.

Reading this book has been the best decision I’ve made in the new year. The story deals with so many topics– abortion, abuse, suicide, religion– that it’s pretty much for anyone. Although I’m really not a religious person, my favorite character was Ellerby. I spent the bulk of this book wishing he was a real person and that I could know him. I don’t know how else to describe why, other than that he’s just awesome in every way. I would absolutely love to have this kid at my high school.

All in all, Staying Fat for Sarah Byrnes is a truly thought-provoking and suspenseful read, and I would definitely recommend it, no matter what your preference is.

-J

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