From School Library Journal
Grade 8 Up-For those who want to know the real poop behind this popular author's characters (and, to some extent, his character), this is the book you've been waiting for. The cover photo tells it all: a white picket fence in the background, for all the world as straight and orderly and stereotypically 1950s proper as the author's maddeningly rational father, "Crutch," wanted things to appear. But looming in the foreground is toothy, smiling Chris, the short-fused emotional time bomb who regularly exploded into anger and tears. Protective of his alcoholic mom and at almost constant odds with his strict and demanding dad, Crutcher describes incidents and telling episodes from his formative years. His signature wit was sharpened in response to both his feelings of inadequacy and his competitive nature, honed by participation in high school and college sports. He addresses issues about his use of profanity in his writing for teens. Tough and tender reminiscences focus primarily on family, social, and school conflicts, but lessons derived from his career as a teacher, therapist, and writer are also described. Hyperbole lightens the mood as the author portrays himself as a young crybaby, academic misfit, and athletic klutz, utterly without self-aggrandizement. Abrupt transitions, some convoluted sentences, and nonlinear progression may challenge some readers, but the narrative holds undeniable appeal for the author's fans and demonstrates the power of writing to help both reader and writer heal emotional/psychic wounds.Joel Shoemaker, Southeast Junior High School, Iowa City, IA
Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc.
*Starred Review* Gr. 8-12. Like his novels, Crutcher's autobiography is full of heartbreak, poignancy, and hilarity. Candid and casual, Crutcher shares stories from his childhood and adolescence in Cascade, Idaho. Reminiscences of some of his youthful rites of passage are laugh-out-loud funny, such as his humiliating initiation into his high-school athletic club. On a more serious note, he discusses his occasionally rocky relationships with his parents and siblings. He talks openly about his struggles with a bad temper that constantly got him into trouble, how he came to terms with questions about God, how he confronted intolerance, and how he found his own place in the world. He also shares several painful glimpses into his work as a child and family therapist trying to help people heal some very broken lives. This honest, insightful, revealing autobiography is a joy to read. Crutcher's fans will relish this intimate glimpse of the author, and the book may win some new readers for his fiction. Ed SullivanCopyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved