Uta Hagen--

"We must overcome the notion that we must be regular...it robs you of the chance to be extraordinary and leads you to the mediocre."

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Whale Talk by Chris Crutcher

Tuesday morning I finished my second book of 2010 (which I know isn't very impressive), Whale Talk by Chris Crutcher.  I meant to review it a few days ago, but have run out of time each time.  So here is my review of Whale Talk:

The book started out with some very funny lines in reference to politically correctness.  The main character, T.J. Jones (the J is redundant), has a sense of humor unlike any character I've ever read about and so he always had me laughing.  Although, it wasn't exactly a sense of humor per say, but he just wasn't afraid to tell it how it is and he knew no boundaries.  So reading him go through different things was very humorous and my family looked at me quite worriedly when I would suddenly burst out in laughter while reading.

The story is about T.J. trying to organize a swim team at Cutter High.  They've never had a swim team before--and although T.J. is an amazing athlete, he's never played on an organized team before because he doesn't like being told what to do and he doesn't like the way the players treat the other students at school.   But his close friend, his English teacher, Mr. Simet is in charge of the swim team and is begging T.J. for his help.  So T.J. posts flyers at the lake and gets some responces.  Their teams ends up being made up of a kid who has the mental copasity of a child, a fat guy, someone who doesn't talk, a body builder, a very studious student, a one-legged guy, and a swimmer (T.J.).  On the back of the book it says "There's bad news and good news for the Cutter High swim team.  The bad news is they don't have a pool.  The good news is only one of them can swim anyway."

T.J. and his team work hard to get ready for their meets and to meet their letter requirements.  They practice at the All Night Fitness Center, but the pool is way to small.  The athletic council is trying to deny the swim team's letter requirements because they didn't know that each person could meet their best times every time they swam.  While they're trying to pull everything off and make sure that each of the swimmers get their Letterman Jacket, T.J. is also struggling with Rich Marshall and Mike Barbour--two of a kind guys who are nothing but pure jerks.  Rich is racist toward his own step-daughter, and so T.J.'s family ends up taking in Heidi and Rich's wife and twin boys since Rich is so abusive.  Rich is very angry at T.J. (who he's already had problems with) and Mike gets even more angry at his already sworn enemy, T.J.

T.J. stays grounded and calm by his adopted dad, who has promised to do anything he can to help kids.  His dad teaches him a valuable lesson.  His dad loves to watch the video about whales and how they communicate.  T.J. learns through this metaphoric subject that even though the swim team looks like they have nothing in common, save for they're all miss-fits, they all speak the same language and understand each other.

"I wish we were whales." T.J. Jones

This book has some very crude language and some violence--not recommended for people under 13 years of age.  Please note, this book has been banned in several schools.  I do not support those bans. (*The Sledding Hill by Chris Crutcher is a book about Mr. Crutcher's books being banned.*)

I rate this book a 4/5 stars.

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