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Inspired by J.D. Salinger’s The Catcher in the Rye, (and the fact that today’s younger readers aren’t as inspired by it), Sarah Collins Honenberger gives us a compelling book about Daniel Solstice Landon who wants to follow in Holden Caulfield’s footsteps. The heartrending thing about Daniel? He has cancer and doesn’t have long to live, particularly since his hippie parents don’t believe in standard cancer treatment. As the discussion questions at the end of the book highlight, what exactly is a minor’s right to receive treatment? Against his parents’ will? And while that might feel clear and justifiable, how far along that line of minors’ rights do we go? And how do your actions affect others, even if you’re dying? Fascinating issues, and all of them are raised here with snappy dialog and humor, as well as sobering seriousness. But I should let you hear from the author herself rather than me. --Kathryn Erskine
Erskine: Why did you write this book?
Honenberger: Headline stories about kids whose parents refuse to follow standard medical treatment fascinated me. It’s hard to contradict your parents, but the possibility of dying raises the stakes. Coupled with the typical immortality teenage boys feel. I wanted to explore that 16-year-old boy’s point of view in the face of a fatal illness, to see if I could find out what might change his mind about that automatic belief in his own invincibility.
Erskine: Who or what has been the greatest inspiration for your stories?
Honenberger: In my 30 years of family law practice, I saw lots of families in distress. The wide discrepancy between what each party in a crisis feels and sees is one of the biggest reasons for family conflicts. Writing out those crises can illuminate those divergent realities. Stories often help people"walk in someone else’s shoes."
Erskine: Why do you write for young people?
Honenberger: I didn’t set out to write for young people in Catcher, Caught, but when I heard that today’s teenagers weren’t connecting with Holden Caulfield from The Catcher in the Rye, I thought that was a tragic loss. Holden’s story, his sadness, was a crucial part of my youth, seeing how quickly someone could feel lost and disconnected. I hoped by letting Daniel tell his story that today’s teenagers might connect with Holden’s issues, his sense of fairness and generosity of spirit despite his being on the outside, and his failures. In the end, even with his confusion and depression, he defends a strong morality in his analysis of suicide, sex, relationships with his brothers and his sister, and in how he treats the other prep school boys.
Erskine: How do your ideas come to you?
Honenberger: Something I overhear or see on the side of the road. It’s a visual, usually, that starts me thinking, why was that woman yelling or why was that man wearing his wading boots.
Erskine: What’s an important "nugget" that you’d like readers to take away from your book?
Honenberger: Life is shorter than you think and you’ll get more out of every experience if you remember it’s about the experience, not about you.
This was a truly fabulous story, with clarity of characters and honesty of expression. I would recommend it to anyone: young, middle aged or old.Published 7 days ago by Dona Johnson
I purchased this book on my kindle because it was a kindle daily deal (only $1.99!) and sounded interesting enough. And, it was! I liked it. Read morePublished 3 months ago by Amy White
So I loved this book until the end! I was fully expecting to read one thing and then it just left me hanging! Read morePublished 5 months ago by shoponadime
I loved this. It is a novel that had me questioning my motives and selfishness as a parent ad well as a child. Read morePublished 7 months ago by Miriam Stolle
Its a brave thing to follow in the footsteps of an iconic novel. While the use of an "inner monologue" resembles J.D. Read morePublished 9 months ago by Kindle Newbie
This is a powerful book that explores the transition of a young man dying too young. It is a thoughtful exploration of a family dealing with the reality of the unacceptible and a... Read morePublished 9 months ago by Charlea Baker
Very touching and well written. I love the characterization and the inner monologue. Daniel is young and too old at once.Published 11 months ago by Hannah
This flowed extremely well, and I felt myself really caring about the characters. Wasn't a huge fan of the abrupt ending, but all in all, the writing was exceptional.Published 12 months ago by Shellie & Nestor Camarillo
I think this book might be an interesting read for teenagers. I couldn't really relate to the main character (probably because I'm female and a bit too old). It was a slow read.Published 12 months ago by Kate D