Saturday, January 9, 2010

ANGRY MANAGEMENT by Chris Crutcher

If you enjoy Chris Crutcher, we'll want to check out ANGRY MANAGEMENT.  In it he revisits a number of characters from his previous books.  Montana West, Sarah Brynes, Angus Bethune, John Simet, and Matt Miller reappear in three novelettes.  A group therapist named Mr. Nak is the connection that draws these previous characters together.

Anger is the common factor in the lives of Sarah, Montana, and Matt.  In novelette number one, Sarah, who suffered disfiguring facial burns as a child, faces the anger she's lived with for years.  In the second story, Montana West continues to rebel against her controlling father, Maxwell West.  Once again the issue of freedom of speech comes before the school board of which Maxwell West is the ultra-conservative president.  Finally, in story number three, Matt Miller attempts to deal with the conflict he feels between his anger over the senseless death of an innocent, young, gay, black student and his own deep religious convictions.

Each story could stand on its own, but together they speak to the power of anger to control our lives.  The three young people have every reason to remain hostile given their back stories told so well in Crutcher's novels, STAYING FAT FOR SARAH BRYNES, WHALE TALK, DEADLINE, and THE SLEDDING HILL, but they are facing their anger and attempting to rise above it.  Even if you haven't read the above books, ANGRY MANAGEMENT is well worth your reading time.

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