Young Adult Lit/Crit

February 28, 2008

Sarah Byrnes – the fun and the fanatic

Filed under: Chris Crutcher/Author Study — allison @ 7:53 am

Hi everyone,

As a co-facilitator for Staying Fat for Sarah Byrnes, I’d like to start as we usually do for our book discussions some personal response and some critical discussion.

Personally, I loved this book. It’s my favorite Crutcher book so far, and I think thats because the characters are so interesting and the relationships are so complex. My favorite part of this book was the idea of heroes. It made me think about the everyday heroes in everyday life. I think it would be a great exercise for students to write a story in which they show (as Crutcher does) how someone in their own life has been an everyday hero.

What did everyone think of Lermy’s CAT class? I think it could serve as a model for all of us. Crutcher writes in a blog  on his website

Educators are put into further difficulty, being asked to up the anxiety all the way around by testing kids into comas.  Good stories are one of few resources we have left to make connections with kids.  They provide a level playing field for adults to talk about real life with kids, while allowing both to keep their personal safety.”

I liked this quote  because it captures one of the problems that we face as teachers- having to teach to a test. Crutcher notes how books can make learning more relevant. More relevant than say, practicing reading passages for the state exams.

I called this post “the fun and the fanatic” because I want to bring up some of the controversy surrounding this book. Due to the issues of abortion and christianity that arise, there has been an uproar against some (hence the ‘fanatic’ part). What does everyone think? I think it could be a great book to include in the classroom as part of a larger discussion of how these issues can arise in school, how and why people get worked up about them,  and whether talking about these issues is a good or a bad thing.  What else would you discuss with your class? Would anyone choose not to include this book in their classroom curriculum?



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