Chris Crutcher has written nine critically acclaimed novels, an autobiography, and two collections of short stories. Drawing on his experience as a family therapist and child protection specialist, Crutcher writes honestly about real issues facing teenagers today: making it through school, competing in sports, handling rejection and failure, and dealing with parents. He has won three lifetime achievement awards for the body of his work: the Margaret A. Edwards Award, the ALAN Award, and the NCTE National Intellectual Freedom Award. Chris Crutcher lives in Spokane, Washington.
Gr 9 Up A fine coming-of-age novel. Walker Dupree, the captain of Frost (Spokane, Wash.) High School's swim team, chronicles the senior year of the tight fraternity of young men who make up the team. Lionel, orphaned at 14, faces a sometimes hostile world alone; Nortie lives with an abusive father whom he loves but can never please; Jeff, a brash youth with everything to live for is terminally ill. Swim coach Max Il Song tests these four young men unmercifully during Stotan Week, but he gives them a reservoir of strength they more than need before their season is over. The boys are typical of many teenagers; they think a lot about sex; their language isn't always clean. They face difficult, adult situationsviolence, racial prejudice, Jeff's impending death. Crutcher's novel more than moves and entertains; it teaches. It teaches young people about responsibility, about courage and heroism, and ultimately about life itself. Stotan! is very, very, good. Jerry Flack, University of Colorado, Colorado Springs
To be a Stotan (a cross between a Stoic and a Spartan) is to push one's physical and emotional capabilities beyond the limit, as four high school swimmers find out when they accept the challenge of a week-long endurance test devised by their coach. Though it is swim team captain Walker Dupree who narrates, this is every bit as much an ensemble novel as it is four individual stories. Each young man pursues a personal goal, but together the team pursues demons outside the group, ranging from an ``anonymous'' neo-Nazi association distributing offensive newspapers to the abusive father of one of the boys, who drives his son to suicide. But a demon bigger than any individual or group effort comes along when illness strikes one of these Stotan young men. Then the team finds out that you can't always make sense of everything, you can only go after it with your best shot. Crutcher has written an involving, realistic novel; though it deals with tough, unsolvable issues it is often leavened with humor. (12-up)