Monday, November 06, 2006

Whale Talk by Chris Crutcher

Welcome to the first of our blog discussions! The first book up for discussion is Chris Crutcher's Whale Talk. Many of you beat me to the comments! Sorry I was slow in getting the first/starter post going...we had some folks who joined in late and just got copies of the book and I wanted to make sure everyone had a chance to catch up before we got started. looks like we are good to go.

I thought I would start off by sharing with you why I selected this book to start. Chris Crutcher is one of my favorite authors and I think he "speaks" to young people in a very real voice. His characters are like so many of the kids that walk our halls- so many teens can identify with them. His insight into young people's lives comes from his experiences as a director of an alternative school and from his 20 years as a counselor to troubled he has a lot to draw from! Also, when I selected this title it was "Banned Book Week" and all of Chris Crutcher's books have been censored or challenged at one time. I thought this was a timely choice!

I loved reading everyone's comments- and agree with many of them. Chris K. hit onto one of the topics that really bothered me...why the football jocks were so against Chris wearing his brother's jacket??!! I first read the book years ago and I remember that bothered me long after I finished the book...and it bothered me again when I read it the second time through. Glad I wasn't the only one.

I thought Rebecca's comment about Crutcher perhaps tackling too much in just one book was on target. There were time when it was tough to keep track of who had what issue. But I agree (and several people made this comment) that the book did give an accurate account of cliques in schools. I loved TJ for bucking the system. Nothing like a good underdog to get me cheering. And again, I agree that this is something students need to see more of- perhaps to provide inspiration. But on the positive side to a lot going on in one novel...there was a variety of characters for students to identify with.

I think TJ learns a lot about himself and his leadership abilities during this experience. I think Amanda's comments about what we can control in our lives is also very telling..."there is so much we can't control, there is power in knowing that you can control your own thoughts, actions, and conceptions of others." I think TJ really learns this "life lesson."

I know there are a few more folks out there who have to "blog in" and if you've already commented feel free to respond to others comments.