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The Sledding Hill Paperback – September 19, 2006

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Greenwillow Books; Reprint edition (September 19, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0060502452
  • ISBN-13: 978-0060502454
  • Product Dimensions: 5 x 0.5 x 7.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (29 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #189,634 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Crutcher takes the fad in authorial intrusion one better, inserting himself as a character in this metafictional novel with a heavy-handed message, a schizophrenic presentation and a highly entertaining plot. Eddie Proffit is the very definition of a sympathetic character, losing his Dad and best friend to violent accidents in the opening pages. His story is narrated in Lovely Bones-esque fashion by the dead friend, Billy, who, if not in Heaven, is in a very good place—free of pain and full of neat tricks to employ during his ghostly mission to help Eddie overcome sadness so deep he has stopped speaking. The exploration of death and of being silenced by grief takes a hairpin turn when book banning—a very different type of silencing—becomes the focus of the novel's second half. Eddie's elective mutism has his mother's minister, the villainous Sanford Tarter, convinced he needs to be baptized. Tarter also teaches English at the high school, but Eddie is enrolled in a class called Really Modern Literature, run by a librarian who prefers "books by authors who are still alive." She requires everyone read Warren Peece by the "relatively obscure" author Chris Crutcher. Naturally, this "good book with bad words" exercises Tarter, who incites a crusade to rid the library of all Crutcher's "irrelevant and only marginally well written" books. Plausibility is pushed aside for entertainment and moralizing—Billy's father loses his job as school janitor for reading the book aloud to students in the boiler room, a student comes out as gay at the public hearing, another admits openly that she cuts herself—but Eddie's cause, and his decision to speak out, is so honorable, these lapses are easily overlooked. The title – an allusion to a favorite spot the two friends enjoyed when both were alive—doesn't work but, despite its flaws, the story does. Ages 12-up. (May)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From School Library Journal

Starred Review. Grade 7 Up–This clever, spirited post-modern meta-narrative is a quick read that is bound to be controversial. It has no profanity, sexual acts, drug or alcohol use, or bloody violence but takes dead aim at censors who can't get past counting swear words or the notion of a gay character who is still alive at the end of a book. Eddie Proffit, 14, is a prototypical Crutcher protagonist, a misunderstood teen who in quick succession has lost his father and best friend, Billy, in accidents. And he must deal with Mr. Tartar, who is both a feared English teacher at school and the minister to a flock of Protestant fundamentalists at the Red Brick Church. However, the author's approach to these familiar themes is fresh and fun, beginning when Billy, recently deceased, opts to keep his newly omniscient eye on Eddie, taking advantage of opportune "windows" to communicate, initially scaring Eddie into voluntary mutism but eventually working with him to bring about…the climax of the book. This centers around the use of Crutcher's faux novel, Warren Peece, in class and the community-wide uproar over it. The author's obvious delight in writing himself into the story (complete with e-mail address) does not diminish its effectiveness, though he occasionally gets his religious icons confused. Crutcherisms such as "When something seems mysterious and magical, it's because we don't have enough information" meld neatly with upbeat metaphysical speculation to give teen readers an involving story and plenty to think about.–Joel Shoemaker, Southeast Junior High School, Iowa City, IA
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

More About the Author

Chris Crutcher grew up in Cascade, Idaho, and now lives in Spokane, Washington. He is the critically acclaimed author of six novels and a collection of short stories for teenagers, all chosen as ALA Best Books. In 2000, he was awarded the American Library Association's Margaret A. Edwards Award, honoring his lifetime contribution in writing for teens. Drawing on his experience as an athlete, teacher, family therapist, and child protection specialist, he unflinchingly writes about real and often-ignored issues that face teenagers today.

Customer Reviews

3.8 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

14 of 15 people found the following review helpful A Kid's Review on May 17, 2005
Format: Hardcover
I was so happy when I heard there was a new Chris Crutcher book coming out. I loved Sarah Byrnes so much, and Whale Talk too. In this book, there are two friends named Eddie and Billy. Billy is like the one person who sees all the good in Eddie and knows how to talk to him. Eddie's father dies, and then Billy dies too, and Eddie stops talking. There is a Christian minister named Reverend Tartar who wants to baptize Eddie. The reverend is also against a Chris Crutcher book in one of the school classes. The best part of the book is Billy talking to Eddie after he is dead. He's very funny. What is not as good is how bad a guy the author made Tartar. He is so evil, and to have this evil guy be the person against the Crutcher book seemed kind of unfair. He is like the worst reverend ever and is a racist, too. There were also way too many speeches in this book, especially at the end. There were speeches in church and speeches at the school meeting and even a short speech by Chris Crutcher where he said he agreed with another speech. I thought all the speeches hurt the book. All in all, this is an okay book, but not nearly as good as Staying Fat for Sarah Byrnes.
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17 of 19 people found the following review helpful By Jarrod T Thompson VINE VOICE on June 16, 2005
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I began this book thinking Crutcher had finally lost it, writing about a dead person who hangs around to help out his grieving friend, but then Crutcher threw a curve and I discovered the book is about censorship.

Chris Crutcher is a hero to adults who believe that the only way to edify our childeren is allow them to be free-thinking beings who can make their own determination of what is "good" or "bad" in literature or in life. The important thing is that our kids read, and if that means they have to read books like Crutcher's where if you count bad words and taboo plot topics, you will be worn out after the first chapter, then, so be it.

Crutcher makes lots of good points in this novel, and I will respect the review readers out there enough to let you read the book to see what I mean.

My only disappointment is that Crutcher didn't give me some publicity on page 226 when listing authors who were banned from a library in the novel. No respect. Story of my life.

I recommend this book for teens who have been a part of some of the censorship battles that have been going on all over our nation, especially the last 4-5 years. I also recommend this book to teens who have no adult in their life who gives them the respect that a young adult deserves.

I recommend this book for adults who fight for the rights of our teens to read what they like to read.


This book is not for everyone. There is no profanity in this book.
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16 of 19 people found the following review helpful By Cynthia Thompson on June 8, 2005
Format: Hardcover
Chris Crutcher does some very good things in The Sledding Hill. His main point about the availability of literature to young people is exceptionally well taken, and for a good chunk of the novel he writes deftly, especially of the friendship between Billy and Eddie. Yet as I came to the conclusion, I found myself thinking more and more of what Cervantes has Sancho Panza say this in Don Quixote:

"Whether the pitcher hits the stone or the stone hits the pitcher, it bodes ill for the pitcher."'

That is, no matter how fiercely one might agree with Crutcher's politics, by book's end it feels as if the stone of polemic [According to Wordnet 2.0, not just an argument, but also a "writer who argues in opposition to others (especially in theology)"] had seriously cracked the vessel of the narrative.

To illustrate, I point straight to the first pair of teen reviews here at Amazon. What's especially great about these reviews is how fair they are. There is nothing in them that come close to criticizing the book as anti-Christian. Instead, the teens raise other, more legitimate reservations. Leave it to the kids to make the most astute observations about teen literature.

One young critic points out the novel's many speeches. He or she is absolutely right. In fact, over the last thirty-five pages or so, speeches dominate The Sledding Hill - Eddie's at church, various people at a critical school board meeting, even a short one by Chris Crutcher himself (via the Edmund Morris technique from the Reagan biography of making himself a character in his own story) at that same board meeting.

Any novelist who creates a plot that demands a lot of speechmaking does so at his or her own narrative risk.
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10 of 12 people found the following review helpful A Kid's Review on May 21, 2005
Format: Hardcover
Mr. Chris Crutcher is still one of my favorite writers, but The Sledding Hill is not one of my favorite books. I am in tenth grade and I mostly agree with the person who posted the very first review of the book. The story of The Sledding Hill is pretty simple, and the other reviews say it right so I will not repeat. I will only give my opinion on the book. It is better than a lot of books and that is why I give it three stars. I think the first part is four stars and the second part is two stars which is how I got to three stars. I thought that the first part was a lot about the friendship of Eddie and Billy and how hard it is for everyone to deal with tragedy like two people dying on you. But later, when the story got into the whole censorship thing about the book, I started to lose interest. It is not because I am not interested in the subject, either. I am totally into free speech. I just thought the book got less interesting, not like Stotan which got more interesting as it went on.
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