Saturday, September 23, 2006

Book Review: The Sledding Hill

Eddie is having a rough time dealing with the deaths of his father and his best friend. He copes by acting mute and this helps a bit. He thinks he is being haunted by his friend Billy and he gets involved in a censorship dispute at his school. The only person he could have turned to is dead ...isn't he?

Billy is dead but stays around as a spirit to help Eddie. He narrates an interesting story about loss, and friendship, and censorship.

The Sledding Hill by Chris Crutcher is a Young Adult (YA) novel aimed at middle-school students but enjoyable by anyone. At the core of the novel is the dispute about a novel that a church group wants banned from the school because it deals with "controversial" issues.

One of the reasons Chris Crutcher wrote the book was to focus on the issue of censorship in schools. His own books have been banned. He feels that teens should have access to ideas and issues written in the language they use - whether it is considered polite or not. He purposely kept this book "clean" so that would not be an issue with censors. He wanted to see if they would fight the ideas presented in the book.

The book is easy to read and compelling. The characters are interesting too. The author does a good job of weaving the message with the characters and setting to create something believable. Check it out.

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