Comfort Food

Sometimes you need comfort food, something you are familiar with and you know you like.  As should be obvious by my few posts I was in need of a comfort read.

When I was working on my teaching credential a teacher assigned an annotated bibliography of books students at the level we were planning on teaching would read.  She read aloud from a book called Chinese Handcuffs to introduce the assignment.  I went out and scoured the bookstores for it the next day.  Dillon, the narrator, was sarcastic, funny, and likable.  the book was loaded with issues, as they say, but I was hooked.  I have read everything (except Running  Loose – interestingly enough since the main character from that makes an appearance in Deadline which this post will be about eventually).  Along about Whale Talk Chris Crutcher lost his luster.  There is just so much jammed in one book, I think that it was just too much too deal with the little girl scrubbing her skin (I know it is based on an actual event), and then Dad’s story about running over the 2 year old.  It is like the all the pain in the world concentrated into one story.  And he can get preachy.

All of this is to say I wasn’t paying all that close of attention to the publishing date of Deadline.  But I noticed it in the store so I picked it up, and since I needed some comfort food (reading) I sat down with it yesterday.  I have to say it was vintage Crutcher, with a couple of differences.  Yes it was loaded – dying narrator, sexual abuse, physical abuse, a child molester. But most of those things didn’t overwhelm the story, or me as a reader. Yes the character had that “Crutcher voice” – sarcastic, smart, challenging, but I like that voice.  There was the close minded ass of an adult, and the gentle good mentor adult.  There were preachy parts – book burning, and God.  But it felt simpler than some of the others – like there was a purer focus.  Right up until the surprise which I choose not to tell you.   However, Ben is not an athlete bucking the system (TJ, Moby, Diilon, Bo), instead he joins the football team.  He participates in the community that is his, and I like this about him.   Perhaps more because he knows he is dying, a fact he has chosen not to share.  And he is trying to cram as much living into his life as he can.

Bottom line:  Sometimes I felt that flash of annoyance but generally I enjoyed this, thought it was one of his better ones (like Ironman).   I cried, I felt manipulated, I laughed, I adored the Hey Soos even if was a set up for some soap boxing, and now I’m back!  Bring on the next book.