Saturday, February 21, 2009

Inexcusable, Chris Lynch

I saw this book on the wonderful Mental Multivitamin blog and since she has unimpeachable good taste I requested it from the library. It is another young adult title which fits in with my recent reading theme of all things teenage and my subsequent imaginings of a new career as a youth services librarian or as one of the people who gets to write the blurby reviews for School Library Journal. It is also a book with a shiny award sticker on the cover to let you know it’s good (insert smiley emoticon here to illustrate my irony).

The sticker didn’t lie. It is a good book. It kept making me stop and want to throw up which I think was the author’s hope. This is one of those books that had me screaming, “homeschooling, homeschooling, homeschooling!” I think I am extra sensitive to books (or anything for that matter) that refer to mean teenagers, hazing, etc, etc. It makes me want to gouge out my eyes, throw up, and get violent all at once. Not a comfortable mix of emotions. I don’t even have kids but I just want to pick up my not even a glimmer in someone’s eye children and run far from the entire school system with its morally bankrupt inmates (I’m stopping my rant about the state of modern families, schools, and society here).

I think one of the worst parts along these lines was the soccer party being crashed by the football players. I can’t even type the dehumanizing things that Keir and his friends inflicted on the soccer players because it makes me want to cry. The details in the book are what got me so upset again and again. Chris Lynch refers to “each of the little tidy mounds of the soccer players’ dressing-up, going-out clothes. That they’d worn. For their big dinner.” That was when I started to cry when I read it the first time. I just could see excited kids getting dressed up to celebrate the end of the soccer season with no inkling of the turn for the ick their evening was about to take.

This book is so well written that I enjoyed reading it even with the disturbing subject matter. It was fascinating to see the rationalizations for his wretched behavior that Keir makes on almost every single page of the book. Not two paragraphs after telling us that someone who looks a lot like him is abusing the soccer players on the video he tells us that it couldn’t have been him because he’s a good guy. He keeps saying that over and over like a mantra until finally on the last page he realizes what the reader has known for quite sometime: Keir is not a good guy.


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