STAYING FAT FOR SARAH BYRNES by Chris Crutcher

STAYING FAT FOR SARAH BYRNES

Age Range: 14 & up

KIRKUS REVIEW

 Once again, Crutcher assembles a crew of misfits to tackle the Big Issues. Sarah Byrnes, her face hideously scarred from what she calls a childhood accident, sits silent and withdrawn in the psychiatric ward; her friend Eric (``Moby''), who has admired her since grade school as the toughest person he knows, wonders what could have finally pushed her over the edge. Between trenchant classroom confrontations over abortion and other religious controversies, exhausting swim team workouts, and a sudden relationship with a classmate, Eric loyally finds time to visit Sarah. Enter Virgil, her psychotic father, who speaks only in threats; in a terrifying passage, he stalks and stabs Eric in order to learn where Sarah (who has escaped) is hiding. Though Crutcher doesn't always play fair in developing his themes--all the conservative Christians here are humorless dupes or hypocrites, and one tries to commit suicide after it comes out that his girlfriend had an abortion--his language, characters, and situations are vivid and often hilarious. In the end, he deals out just deserts all around: Eric gets a stepfather he can respect; Virgil, a vicious mauling plus 20 years in stir; Sarah, a new and loving set of parents. Readers may find the storybook ending a welcome relief, though it does seem forced after the pain that precedes it. Pulse-pounding, on both visceral and intellectual levels--a wild, brutal ride. (Fiction. YA)

Pub Date: April 1st, 1993
ISBN: 0-688-11552-7
Page count: 224pp
Publisher: Greenwillow/HarperCollins
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15th, 1993




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