Tuesday, August 9, 2011
Deadline by Chris Crutcher
OhMiGod I just read the most amazingly insightful book! And that’s saying a LOT since I’ve devoured the likes of Dostoevsky’s Crime and Punishment and Dante’s Inferno (the most uplifting of Alighieri’s Divine Comedy if we’re being sarcastic).
So Borders aka-the greatest bookstore excluding online mega-reatiler Amazon.com only because I can physically touch the inventory- is closing. Like, for good. Naturally, I grazed their dwindling stock several times this past week. About $200 and 40 books later, I have enough reading to last me through the month. You think I jest, but I made my way through 4 books in 5 days and one of those days ways Sunday in which I was busy with a nasty little stomach bug (thanks a lot Daniel) that left me mildly dizzy and wholly cranky. I ventured away from my normal YA fantasy selections because at 40% off, why not try something new? In addition to some great business books, I picked up Chris Crutcher’s Deadline.
This book is a life changer. Eighteen year old Ben Wolf just found out he has less than one year to live. He decides to live his senior year to its fullest, but as normal as possible, which means keeping the truth of his illness to himself. But life is never that easy. Although some of the situations are fantastical and sensationalized, it’s more a reminder of the situations we face in life. Irony abounds and Ben learns the truth about people in his small town while hiding his own truths.
Above all, Deadline is MORBIDLY HYSTERICAL. I laughed until it was time to cry. Notably, Ben is a smart-ass and his impending fate only gives him strength to unleash all his thoughts with no consequences. I mean, if you didn’t have to worry about a diploma and life after graduation, wouldn’t you be tempted to torment your teachers? Although his motives aren’t entirely pure, Ben is fueled by the need to educate himself with as much truth as possible, despite his big lie. It’s inherently sad and hugely thought-provoking material.
The best dialogue, by far, that make me rate this book as TOP-NOTCH are the many interactions Ben has with Hey-Soos. The philosophical Hey-Soos (who will neither confirm nor deny if he’s Jesus or just a representation of Ben’s inner conscience, though we have our suspicions) visits Ben in his dreams and grants pearls of wisdom in a comical self-evaluating way. Hey-Soos offers heavy guidance in a perfect blend of spiritual reverence and religious mockery. For example, an excerpt of a particularly poignant conversation between Hey-Soos and Ben::
“So,” (Hey-Soos) says, “you rang?”
“You meant to.”
“You mean because of what Dallas said?”
“‘Duh?’ That’s not exactly otherworldly.”
“‘Duh’ is universal. do you know how many people she’s told?”
I say I don’t.
“Well,” he says, “as she might put it, if she tells on more that will be two.”
“Are you sure that’s the way you want to talk to the likes of me?”
“No shit,” Hey-Soos says.
Bottom line is I finished this book in less than a day but the emotions incited will last a lifetime. However long that will be.