Thursday, May 24, 2007

The Sledding Hill by Chris Crutcher

This is a book about grief and censorship. Crutcher draws from his own experiences (as always) to mold this story of a boy who lost his father and his best friend within a month of each other, and how books--his right to choose what he reads--helps him to remember and honor his father and his friend through his actions.

I particularly appreciate the way that the narrator points out this this story has no real "villain"--because everyone has good, honorable intentions--even though it's very clear who the antagonists are. No one is behaving badly just for the sake of behaving badly. As so many are, the conflicts in this book are about of ideas and ideals.

I was also amused that Crutcher wrote himself into the story--not just as a fraction of the characters, but as Chris Crutcher the Challenged/Banned Books Writer (in this case, the book Warren Peace).

As always, Crutcher writes to encourage teens to think for themselves, to not automatically buy into the beliefs of family and friends without their own examination of the implications of those beliefs. The book also serves as encouragement to read his other books, since he writes about the aspects of his books that are so often challenged, and as he points out, there's not really a better way to ensure that teens will read these books than to suggest or tell them that they're not allowed to.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I just read this book and did a review of it. (Read it here: Anyway. Very good; I'll be buying it as soon as I get my paycheck.