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Freewill Paperback – April 19, 2004

2.8 out of 5 stars 18 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

Chris Lynch has long been one of the most stylistically daring of teen novelists, and in Freewill, his innovative use of language redefines the possibilities of the genre. Strikingly, the story is told in second person. The voice is in the mind of Will, a boy who is moving in stunned bewilderment through a life leeched of meaning by the death of his father and stepmother in what may have been a suicide and murder. This speaker (who is not Will) constantly admonishes, challenges, and questions reality in clipped, enigmatic sentence fragments, and Will only occasionally answers back. The events of the story are dimly seen through this distorting haze of interior dialogue (as the events of Lynch's Gold Dust were seen through the protagonist's obsession with baseball).

Will, in a therapeutic woodworking class at "Hopeless High," has moved beyond furniture and garden gnomes to strange pole sculptures. There he is disconnected from reality and other people, except for occasional brief encounters with a tall black runner named Angela, who remains sarcastic and deliberately distant. When a girl from the school drowns in what is perhaps a suicide, a floral tribute accumulates around the death spot, with one of Will's sculptures as the centerpiece. A second possible suicide, and then two more are all marked with the strange poles, and a cult begins to grow around Will as the "carrier pigeon of death." A reporter forces him to see the connection between the sculptures and his father's ambivalent end, and Will begins to sink into total oblivion, saved, finally, when Angela and his grandparents reach out in "freewill," in this very dark, very odd, but riveting novel. (Ages 14 and older) --Patty Campbell --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Publishers Weekly

Despite the redemptive themes suggested by its title and its division into three sections expansively entitled "Faith," "Hope" and "Charity," Lynch's (Whitechurch) latest novel focuses on the dark and murky corners of its main character's psyche. Unraveling as an interior monologue in which 17-year-old Will refers to himself as "you," the narrative cryptically sets forth this teen's plight. Against his will, the tellingly named protagonist has been enrolled in a woodworking program at some kind of vocational high school populated with lost souls. He lives with his grandparents because, as the boy discloses midway through the story, "My dad drove off the road.... Into the water. With my stepmother." Water plays a chilling role in the morbid goings-on, which include the mysterious drownings or suicides of several teens; with each death, one of Will's wood sculptures is found near the site. Will says he is responsible, but is he indeed a murderer or even a "carrier pigeon of death"? Clarification comes slowly and obtrusively via advice from Will's grandfather and encounters with two of Will's troubled classmates, all of whom fit familiar stereotypes. Filled with such self-addressed comments as "She doesn't understand you. Nobody understands you," this airless novel does not reward the effort required to penetrate it. Ages 12-up.

Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information, Inc.

--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 160 pages
  • Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing PLC (April 19, 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0747562660
  • ISBN-13: 978-0747562665
  • Product Dimensions: 5.3 x 0.5 x 7.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 6.4 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 2.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (18 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #7,008,569 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
This book is confusing. You may shake your head more than once throughout as you wonder what you may have missed. But, unlike the only other review that is currently posted, I intend to say positive things about the book.
1. Will's descriptions of what it feels like to be an outcast are wonderful. I speak to you as someone who was formerly known as invisiblegirl, so I know what Will was saying. And the way he said it, it was beyond merely true. True isn't a strong enough word. I felt what Will was saying when he said, "People are nearby, in front of your face or working shoulder to shoulder or whatever it is, but they are never ever really with you, are they? Nearby, that's the best they can ever be."
2. The book moves quickly which may feed to the confusion, but the story has a slow feel to it. You are inside Will's mind, the mind of a disturbed young man. There is a certain slowness that comes across in Will's thoughts that counteracts the fast pace of the book. The result is that the reader is able to get to know Will through the inner dialogue, his voices if you will. I feel that this "experiment" of the second person was well done. It accomplished what it set out to do, in my mind anyway.
3. This isn't your standard book, but it is worth the read if you choose not to be put off by the fact that the events of the novel are not really all that important. It may sound like they are when you're describing to book: 'a series of teen suicides leaves a young man wondering if he caused their deaths unknowingly.' Sounds like some kinds of a psychological thriller, doesn't it? It isn't. It is psychological all right, but not a thriller by any means. This book is an opportunity to really get inside a characters head, in a way that few other books allow.
I suggest you read it and decide how well you know yourself.
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A Kid's Review on October 31, 2002
Format: Paperback
Brianna October 31, 2002
Freewill By: Chris Lynch ISBN: 0-06-028117-4
"Are you listening? No, LISTEN. Down at the pond last night. Sombody was killed." In this realistic fiction, Will wants to be a pilot, but ended up in wood shop. He makes beautiful things. All of a sudden, he starts making wooden carvings. When a bunch of teen deaths happen and he is blamed he starts to investigate uncovering secrets that nobody wants to know.

Freewill was a definite page-turner that you won't be able to put down. It touches on aspects in life that almost every teenager goes through. This type of book could almost be classified as a murder mystery. It definitly keeps you on the edge of your seat. I would recommend this book to anyone who likes murderous, scary stories and is above the age of 13. I say that because there are a lot of swearing in this book and the style of writing (second person) is a little bit difficult to understand. For example. "How does it feel? Is the job done? Did you kill it, him, us? It is gone, Will? Is it better? Is it worse? Is it finished, or is it the beginning?
Who did you hit? What did you hit? Did it hurt? Who did it hurt?" Now you might think that this is someone talking and just asking a lot of questions, but it's not. This is pretty much how the whole narration of the book is. I couldn't figure out if this was Will's inner thought's or maybe someone communicting telepathically with him or what because it uses the word 'you' when talking about Will. But other than that it is a great book. It did, like I said, keep you on the edge of your seat and left you hanging at the end. So if I controlled everybody's actions I would definitly say, "Go get a copy of Freewill and read it NOW!"
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Format: Paperback
Will has had some problems in his life. His parents are dead. Actually, his father drove off of a bridge with his stepmother in the car, and both of them were killed. Will isn't sure it was completely an accident. Will's grandparents take him in and try to help him cope with these deaths, which he doesn't do very well. He eventually is enrolled in a school program mainly consisting of wood shop classes. Instead of working toward his dream of becoming a pilot, Will spends hours making gnomes, furniture, and then, finally, wooden totems with no apparent purpose.

Then, when a student is found dead of what seems like a suicide, one of Will's wooden totems shows up at the scene. Then it happens a second time. Will is confused about who would place his totems at these places. Then a totem shows up before a person is found dead, and Will starts thinking that perhaps he in some strange way is causing these deaths.

Will is suddenly in the middle of turmoil. A newspaper interview in which he tries to explain his thoughts goes all wrong. Will's grandparents are growing increasingly worried about him. Some students at school are thinking Will is some sort of prophet and they want to be his followers--but they get angry when Will doesn't give them what they want. The girl Will likes may be in danger. Can he pull himself out of this mess and put his life back in order?

I liked the character of Angela. I thought she was interesting and mysterious. I also ended up liking the narration style, although at first it was difficult for me to get used to it. It took me awhile to learn when Will was just talking inside of his head and when he was having conversations with other people. Once I got used to it, though, the flow was pretty good.
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