Monday, July 1, 2013

The Sledding Hill by Chris Crutcher

Eddie Proffit is having a bad month.  His father was killed in a tragic accident, and then his best friend was too.  Lucky for him (or maybe not), his friend is still with him - at least in his dreams.  And it's a good thing too, because he is in for the fight of his life when he decides to take on the local preacher about a book that a local religious group wants to have banned.  

My Impressions
Anyone who has ever read anything by Chris Crutcher probably knows that he is one of the most banned contemporary authors in America.  This is something that he has been fighting for much of his writing career.  With The Sledding Hill, Crutcher decided to do something out of the norm (and perhaps a little crazy).  He wrote a book that purposefully did NOT include any cuss words or situations that might alert the censors.  He wanted this book to stand on its merit alone.  No one was going to be able to use the same reasons for trying to ban this book, too.  His story is not so much about Eddie Proffit and his friend Billy.  It is about censorship.  It is about giving teens the right to choose what they want to read and the right to read about situations that are authentic.  

Another interesting tactic that Crutcher used in this book was putting himself in the book as a character.  He is a minor character, but the book that is under scrutiny is one written by Crutcher.  It's not a real book that Crutcher wrote, but it makes a statement nonetheless.  He made some bold choices with this decision.  I love it that he made it so that the kids were the voice of reason.  He made it so that the writing of this book within a book was something that spoke to kids' hearts and helped them deal with things that they couldn't before.  I think that all teachers hope a book will do that for each student - at least once in their lives.

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