Sunday, June 25, 2006

Inexcusable--Chris Lynch

Title: Inexcusable
Author: Chris Lynch
Pages: 165 p.
Publisher: Atheneum Books
ISBN: 0689847890

Keir Sarafian is a good guy. He's a football player, a soccer player, and liked by all. He has a great relationship with his father and his two older sisters who have gone away to college.

Or so he thinks.

Keir is a confused, messed-up kid, living in a dream world. His father is an alcoholic, and while not abusive or mean, he's not the best influence for Keir. Keir begins to follow in his father's footsteps abusing alcohol and other drugs. He has some violent tendencies--he tackled an opposing football player so hard the kid couldn't get up--earning him the nickname "Killer." He cannot accept responsibility for anything and when the "investigation" into the tackle determines that Keir did nothing "wrong" he refuses to acknowledge otherwise. He believes he is a good guy, and good guys don't do things like that.

They also don't rape their friends.

The story opens with Keir and his friend Gigi arguing over what Keir did to her. He claims he didn't do anything because he is a good guy and good guys know that "no means no." We see flashbacks of the events leading up to the fateful night between Keir and Gigi. And Keir eventually learns that the way things look in his head are not the way things really are.

The story is gripping, the pace keeps the reader interested, and I had a hard time putting this down. But I was slightly disappointed. All along I kept expecting something more to happen to show the truth and when the truth was finally revealed (to Keir), I thought there should have been more discussion. I *think* that his father is an alcoholic, but is he really? I was left with a lot of questions about Keir's family--why did he think they were perfect when they clearly weren't? Why did his sisters go so far away? And did his nickname "Killer" mean that he killed the other boy?? I really liked this book, I liked the way it was written, I liked the story. It left me with a lot of questions, but maybe that's a good thing? Maybe it's good that I didn't get a nice neat wrapped-up movie-ending with a clear denoument. Maybe it's good to be left with questions.

Added 6/30/06
I think I know why I felt "disappointed". I've been searching for some excuse, some justification, some reason that Keir could have done this. If there was a scene with his father abusing him that would somehow explain how he could do something like this. But it wouldn't really--Lynch got it right--this is inexcusable. I think if I'm disappointed in anything it's in humanity, and not the book.
On My Nightstand: Wizards at War--Diane Duane

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