Tuesday, September 13, 2005

Cruise Control ****

Trueman, Terry. Cruise Control. New York: Harper, 2004.

This is a companion novel to Trueman's Stuck in Neutral. In Stuck..., Shawn is a regular boy, stuck inside his body that won't cooperate with him. He is intelligent and is able to think, but he is unable to communicate in any way. He has frequent seizures. He becomes convinced his father is trying to kill him.

In this novel, we get the perspective of Paul, Shawn's older brother. Shawn is a straight-A student, but he has problems with anger. He beats people up at the drop of a hat. He also hates his father, a Pulitzer-prize winning poet that abandoned him, his mother, sister, and Shawn, leaving them all to deal with Shawn without him. Shawn can't resolve his anger with his father so he takes his anger out on others. Shawn's dream is to get a basketball scholarship, but he feels that even if he gets one, he won't be able to leave his family. Shawn stuggles through growing up and what to do with his future, while also strggling with his love/hate he feels for his father and the pure hate he has for his father.

It isn't necessary to read Stuck in Neutral to read this book as it stands all on its own. Reading both, however, would be a better experience, to see what Shawn and Paul are thinking and feeling. Both books are short and easy to read. Most readers will enjoy this book.

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