“Crash” by Jerry Spinelli
Genre: Young Adult, Fiction
Source: Classroom bookshelf
Summary from inside flap of book:
Newbery medalist Jerry Spinelli tackles the tale of cocky seventh-grade super-jock Crash Coogan, who got his nickname the day he used his first football helmet to knock his cousin Bridget flat on her backside. And he has been running over people ever since, especially Penn Webb, the dweeby, vegetarian Quaker kid who lives down the block. Through the eyes of Crash, readers get a rare glimpse into the life of a bully in this unforgettable story about stereotypes and the surprises life can bring.
Can you believe this wasn’t a re-read book for me? For the longest time, I’ve had this idea in my mind that Jerry Spinelli is a quintessential young adult/children’s author. When I got to thinking more about it, I realized that I really actually had not read much by him. Sure, I read Stargirl for my Children’s Literature class in college and Love, Stargirl after the class was over but that was it. So when my Young Adult Literature teacher told us we were having SSR daily, I immediately grabbed this off of the shelf.
Overall, I thought the book was pretty good. I was a bit shocked by the fact that I liked it because I went into reading it knowing nothing about it (my copy had a summary that gave no information) and I guessed it had something to do with football based on the cover. I’m a “typical” girl and am really not into sports and don’t really want to read about sports. Thankfully, football was only a feature of the story and not the huge focus of the story.
Never having been an adolescent boy myself, I thought Spinelli did a good job of depicting the struggles of a young man and coming to terms with personal problems. I definitely appreciated the fact that the story was told from the “cool” guy’s perspective and emphasized the fact that even “cool” kids struggle with problems even though as an outsider might not see it. [Forgive me if I sound way too deep with certain aspects. The class I’m taking is for educators so I’m reading and thinking about how a teacher would use the book in a classroom.]
My biggest complaint about the book was the fact that I wasn’t sure exactly what the whole overall plot of the story was. There were so many little storylines (Webb, the drama between his sister/mom, Scooter) but I didn’t personally see the “big picture” so to speak. I wasn’t able to give the person sitting next to me in class a quick synopsis which is a bit of a problem in my opinion.
I also felt the “conflict” was resolved way too quickly and didn’t actually discuss the resolution. Spinellli did a great job of presenting the problems of a 7th grade boy and how he deals with his problems throughout most of the book. Then the book hits the climax and bam! 15 pages or so later, everyone lives happily ever. The end. No inner monologue about how Crash would change, if he would change. No story about how the “problems” ended. Nothing. It just seemed odd to me.
It was a good read and has encouraged me to read more of his books.