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Invisible by Pete Hautman
Invisible is a fiction book characterized by subjects such as, friendship, best friends, railroads, schools, models and model making, and mental illness. Doug Hanson and Andy Morrow are the most unlikely best friends that could be found. Doug is basically a freak; he spends most of his time in his basement building elaborate train models his grandfather left him. Eventually, Doug develops a very precise, and detailed mini town with his trains, called Madham. Andy, on the other hand, is the star football player, involved in theatre, golf, and he is even a member of the student council. Doug and Andy have been best friends since they were very small children. They have lived next door to each other for their entire lives, and their birthdays are only seventeen days apart. But the only thing that seperates their friendship is Doug's imagination, and what happend at the old Tuttle place three years ago, which makes all the difference in the world.
Pete Hautman writes, " It doesn't matter to Andy that we live in completly different realities. I'm Andy's best friend. It doesn't matter to Andy that we never actually do anything together. Why should it? We are best friends, me and Andy. Best. Friends.", as expressed by Doug. Doug and Andy are really what you call best friends, in fact, they are more like brothers than friends.
Doug, then goes on to mention Madham. " I've been working on Madham for two years and eleven months now. I guess you could say that I'm not only disturbed, I'm obsessed." Doug started to develop the town shortly after the situation at the old Tuttle place. Doug indulges himself, and really gets into the creation of this town, even though it could of costed him everything in the end.
Doug thinks, " I shake my head, marveling at her stupidity." Regardless of what Doug is told to be "true", and what he thinks is true, it is very difficult for him to capture the real truth of it all. Which, in turn, is one of the major conflicts of the story.
Doug Hanson is a very strange individual. He wears stupid clothes, has crooked teeth, and is very troubled. In school, he goes after the girl of his dreams. In return he recieves the name, "worm'', and a good old fashioned beat down because he "stalked" her. Well Doug did technically stalk her, but not what a real stalking s ituation is. Doug is extremly involved in the creation of his train models, and has been working on it for a long time now, in a slow, step by step process. Doug is very well at constructing models, has very good focusing abilities, which many people lack, and he is very well at math.
Andy Morrow is just the exact opposite. He is involved in a vast number of extra-cirricular activities including football, golf, theatre, and he is a member of the student council. Andy is a very intelligent individual, like Doug, and he is a very good friend. He is always there for Doug, to just listen.
The book begins in Doug's bedroom at the wee hours of the night. Doug wakes up to the sound of Any's voice, walks to the window and they talk about how their day went, and what happened. This is a normal routine throughout the whole book.
Pete Hautman uses many flashbacks when Doug and Andy were younger. He described how they liked to build fires, and play out in the woods. These flashbacks contribute a significant amount of background information to the general story. With out this information the reader would not know why the old Tuttle place was so important, and why fire was a touchy subject for Doug.
Doug Hanson tries so desperately to keep the secrets of his past buried. But with each passing day, and every incident , the fight becomes harder and harder. With every word falling from the lips of Dr. Ahlstrom about what happened at the old Tuttle place three years ago. A higher dose of Proloftin, and his parents decision to send him to St. Stephen's Academy after Doug and Andy called a bomb threat, can never sever Doug and Andy's relationship. Or could it?
I would suggest this particular book to anyone who is fond of surpries. The words written on the pages contain a very, jaw dropping, almost disturbing surprise. Pete Hautman does an extremly well job at making the surprise catchable, and not catchable at the same time. Hautman uses extremly detailed language knitting this story together. The language is very intense at times, for example, when Doug's father yells, Hautman uses capital letters and exclamation points. This is very helpful at understanding the personalities of the characters.
John Marsdon's book, Letters From the Inside is semi similar to Invisible. Both pieces of writing contain a very close friendship that can never be severed. People on both lines of the friendship whose lives are starting to reveal painful secrets, that effect them in every aspect of their lives.
Jerry Spinelli's book, Crash, is about the meaning of friendship, like Invisible so stronly demonstrates. Both novels have themes about friendship can be very important and life changing some one. This particular book is very different from the other books I have recently read. This book has the jaw dropping, twisted surpise that is almost anger provoking. The friendship of Doug and Andy are so closely knit and nothing, and I mean, NOTHING can come between them. Most fiction books mention at least a smidgen or very detalied friendship, but nothing can compare to the intense friendship in Invisible.
I was very surprised at the general outcome of this book. It was nothing I expected in a million years. Hautman does a very good job at hiding the "reality", and giving small, almost un catchable clues throughout the pages.
This book kept my attention very well, for the most part. The incident at the old Tuttle place three years ago was mentioned, but the startling truth came out later in the book, which kept me reading. At times there is strong suspense, which also helped significantly to grasp my attention and make me even more interested than I already was.
Invisible aroused a various amount of emotions in me. I was very shocked when I found out the truth about the incident at the old Tuttle place, and I was angry when Andy didnt fess up for his part in the bomb threat. I was scared for Doug when he had a little run in with opening and trial of his mini train town.