Deadline By Chris Crutcher

December 12, 2008
By Nama Rosas, Portland, OR

Deadline, written by Chris Crutcher, is a shocking and hard hitting realistic fiction that doesn't pull any punches and conveys a message that ensnares your heart and speaks to the inner sorrow of your soul. This novel tells the tale of a young 18-year-old, high school senior, Benjamin Wolf, who is grimly diagnosed with a terminal illness. Knowing this, Ben must live this year as his last. As the story progresses more colorful pictures are painted of the other characters' equally challenging lives and their intimate relations with Ben Wolf.

Benjamin Wolf wholeheartedly attempts to fulfill every long awaited desire and second hand dream that he ever had before his time is up; from joining the ominous high school football team with his super-star quarter back brother, to challenging racism in the small backwards town of Trout, Idaho, a mere population of 943, to going out with the girl of his dreams, Dallas Suzuki, and helping the town drunk, Rudy, get back into God's good graces. Benjamin Wolf lived every moment to its fullest.

Chris Crutcher successfully pieces together numerous moral dilemmas and dark secrets faced by each of the characters. He does so with an enticing storyline that will have your heart aching and tears flooding … You can clearly see the author's realistic and dismally shocking style of writing as he weaves his apparently previous cases as a therapist with the saddening story of Ben Wolf.
This story not only entrances the reader but teaches powerful and moving life lessons that not even adults can reckon. “ When Doc gave me the news I thought it was about me, but I was wrong. It's about me and everyone I touch.” In Ben's conversations with God or perhaps his inner self “Hey-Soos” he debates the complexity of the repercussions of his death and the withholding of this tragic truth “death” from those who love him. “ I thought if I told the truth, things would get clearer.”
God replies, “ They are clear. They just aren't easy.”
The author successfully shifts between Ben's everyday life as a student, 123 pound football super-star, and his conversations with “Hey-Soos” as he faces his mortality and hard reality at such a young aspiring age with a future just out of reach. Ben Wolf was “ Mr. Ambitious” no longer.

Deadline appeals to all readers that enjoy staying up nights comprehending the simplicity yet bitter reality of life and looking for a new source of inspiration in the darkest of times. I can, myself, feel my heart aching for his family as I too experienced the loss that my dear friend Kieren endured as his father died at age 42 of cancer. I witnessed my friend weave through the deep torment and agony of loosing one so dear to him, his beloved Dad. Deadline is not for the faint of heart. Its deep disturbing realities of the various characters' lives throughout the story as well as the main character, Benjamin Wolf, are almost too much for any reader to endure, particularly a young reader. It's a deeply moving book with life lessons to be learned. Do any of us really know how much time we have to live? Chris Crutcher's, Deadline, inspired me to live every moment to the fullest, as if it were my last. What more can you want, and what more can you want from an amazing book like Deadline.

Stars: *****
Genre: Realistic Fiction
Book Review: Deadline

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This article has 1 comment.

sees*it*all said...
on Nov. 17 2010 at 8:10 am
WOW this book was not what i had thought it was going to be. It hit home with a resent loss of a friend to a terrminal illness. This is honestly the first book i have read that actualy made me cry. it was well worth it. great job Chris!


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