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Poor English Curriculum Selection
on October 18, 2014
This book was included in a high school curriculum, and this review is given with that purpose in mind - English curriculum selection.
I very much disliked this book. Other than offering a unique perspective through the main character, Christopher, there was nothing interesting about this story or the style in which it is written. Upon completion I felt disheartened, uncomfortable, and sad that any redeeming element (which I desperately hoped at some point would be revealed) did not appear. The story ended, and I gained nothing positive from the reading of this book.
Although living in challenging circumstances, none of the characters created empathy in me. While we see his commitment to his son, the character of the father is never fully explored to make the reader feel fully compassionate to his struggles. His love for Christopher doesn't counterbalance his weary approach toward his son's behaviours. As for Christopher, he is depicted as emotionless. Nothing of feeling seems to register. This is most probably the intention of the author, but when this is the character through which we experience the written word, it leaves the entire story lifeless. Most other relationships in this story are troubled. There are affairs, betrayals, apathy - all of which are not edifying.
The storyline itself was not engaging enough to support the writing style. The story is written from Christopher's perspective, which includes poorly written, paragraph length sentences that sometimes are relevant, and sometimes are not. The level of detail given to areas of Christopher's interest (mainly mathematics), detracts from the movement of the plot. Initially it adds a creative flair, but then becomes tedious.
Other cautions I have include an excessive amount of cursing, multiple fecal references, and the occasional sexual reference that I do not believe added anything to the story. If these inclusions do nothing to further define a character, why the inclusion?
As a component of a high school English class, I think it a poor inclusion. It does not stand alone as a strong piece of literature, and does not teach any redeeming values that youth (or adults) would benefit from. It is sad that other literary works were overlooked for this class.