Monday, July 19, 2010

Review: Angry Management (Crutcher)

Title: Angry Management
Author: Chris Crutcher
Genre: YA
Pages: 246
Rating: 5 out of 5
Challenges: GLBT, YA, POC
FTC Disclosure: I borrowed this book from my school library
Summary (from the inside flap): Every kid in this group wants to fly. Every kid in this group has too much ballast. Mr. Nak's Angry Management group is a place for misfits. A place for stories. And, man, does this crew have stories. There's Angus Bethune and Sarah Byrnes, who can hide from everyone but each other. Together, they will embark on a road trip full of haunting endings and glimmering beginnings. And Montana West, who doesn't step down from a challenge. Not even when the challenge comes form her adoptive dad, who's leading the school board to censor the article she wrote for the school paper. And straight-laced Matt Miller, who had never been friends with outspoken genius Marcus James. Until one tragic week--a week they'd do anything to change--brings them closer than Matt could have ever imagined.

Review: Oh. My. Gosh. What an amazing book! How have I not read any Chris Crutcher before now?! Now I need to see what other Crutcher books we have in the library so I can read more of them.

Crutcher creates characters that are so good, so true. They are insecure, bigoted, scared, angry, and funny. Any reader will find someone to connect to in this book. And, it turns out, they have all made appearances in other books by Chris Crutcher. This novel has 3 main parts, each one dedicated to one pair that is in Mr. Nak's angry management group. We get to know them so well so quickly and really see why they are in the self-help group.

In addition to awesome characters this book deals with hot button issues, but not in an inflammatory, in-you-face way. The overarching theme is intolerance, but in each story it takes on a different form. For Sarah and Angus it's intolerance for the way people look (hugely overweight and badly scarred) and domestic violence. In Montana West's story the first amendment and free speech are central issues as well as the foster care system. In the final story Matt and Marcus deal with bigotry and hate, which move the story along in a way that involved recent politics and news stories.

If you have not read this book I highly recommend it. If you have read Chris Crutcher books, which is your favorite?

9 comments:

Aths said...

Oh wow ... this book sure sounds amazing! I need to add it to my TBR as well! Awesome review!

Stephanie said...

I have been wanting to read something by this author. Maybe I'll start with this one.

MissAttitude said...

Chris Crutcher is amazing. I say this after reading only one of his books. Whale Talk. My favorite book of all time (Catcheri n the Rye is a close second), that I will always take on a deserted island.

Angry Management had an interesting title so I always thought I would read this one next or Deadline. Your review has convinced me to read this one, I want to see which characters from Whale Talk pop up!

Seriously read Whale Talk next. I actually cried (which is huge for me), I was emotionally drained at the end :)

Happy birthday and happy book club birthday!

campbele said...

I really enjoy Chrutcher's Whale Talk.

Helen's Book Blog said...

Aths and Stephanie--Don't only add it to the TBR pile, but put it near the top!

MissAttitude and Campbele--Ok, two recommendations for Whale Talk in one day. I'll get it from my school library today. A good cry on one's Birthday sounds perfect! :-)

Shooting Stars Mag said...

I see him around a lot (the books/his name) but haven't read anything. I really want to now though. What a wonderful review.

Please check out the blog here: www.letsgetbeyondtolerance.blogspot.com

you might find a review for this book there at some point.

-Lauren

Helen's Book Blog said...

Shooting Stars--Thanks for directing me to your blog. I went out and borrowed Crutcher's Whale Talk so I can read it soon!

Jeanne said...

Whale Talk is my favorite too; partly because it seems to me one of those rare YA novels that can really speak to a teenage boy.

Helen's Book Blog said...

Jeanne--I have Whale Talk staring me in the face. I want to read it before the ones I'm already part way into.... Maybe I will.