Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Review: Athletic Shorts by Chris Crutcher

Title: Athletic Shorts: Six Short Stories
Author: Chris Crutcher
Year Published: 1989

Genre: Young Adult fiction (sports)
Pages: 194
Rating: 4.5 out of 5

Challenges: Chris Crutcher
Geography Connection (my Google Reading map): USA (no specific location)


FTC Disclosure: I borrowed this book from my school library

Summary (from the inside flap of the book): In six tense, exciting short stories athletes face up to more than sports in tales of love and death, of bigotry and heroism, of real people doing the best that they can, even when that best is not enough. These stories feature new voices as well as characters from Chris Crutcher's acclaimed popular novels, including STOTAN!, Running Loose, and The Crazy Horse Electric Game.

Review: I ram a Chris Crutcher fan (duh, that's why I am doing the Chris Crutcher Reading Challenge) and was in the mood for some short stories that I knew I would enjoy. This was the perfect book for it. Crutcher has a no-nonsense style about him that puts it all out there for the reader, not holding back in situation or language and I really appreciate that.

There is a forward to this book that explains why the author wrote them and what he was hoping to accomplish and for each story there is a preface, giving the reader a little background of the character or story. There are six stories in this book and I have three that I liked best:
  • A Brief Moment in the Life of Angus Bethune--I laughed out loud at the start of this story (the first one in the book) and knew I was in for a good ride. Angus is a great character who is honest about himself and his situation (4 parents, all gay) and he is large. I loved that the girl in this story was a good person and that Angus stood up for himself.
  • The Other Pin--high school wrestling and the issue of keeping face while a boy wrestles a girl. Our school has had girl wrestlers (and a girl on the boys baseball team) so this seems pretty normal to me, but in 1986 I'll be it was a wild idea. In this one the boy and the girl manage to both come out on top while working together and that's great.
  • Goin' Fishin'--Tragedy can strike at any moment and this story illustrates that so well. And, with tragedy comes anger and the inability to forgive and hence to move on. While that sounds like a downer, this story isn't, rather it is poignant and revealing.

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