Sunday, February 20, 2011

Review of The Big Crunch by Pete Hautman

crunchReading this book reminds me of why I love Pete Hautman (author of Godless, Rash, Sweetblood).  The writing is terrific: quirky, funny, believable.  The Big Crunch is divided into four sections, one for each season, and it follows the relationship of Wes and June.  June is the new girl at school, a role she knows all too well.  Her father is a workout specialist, which isn’t what you would think –he’s hired to come in and help companies that are in trouble get out of trouble.  So most of his jobs are temporary, and June’s mom and dad have a number of annoying phrases they use to try to get June on board with having to move all the time, things like, “There is no reverse gear in time machine.”  Wes spends the first part of the book running away from June, who he calls Aqua Girl because of the color of her eyes.  She tries to stay away from him, too, because her goal is to not get too attached to anyone.  In other words, find an ok, boring, but nice, boyfriend, who in this case is Wes’s best friend, Jerry.  Of course once Wes and June get together, it blows the friendship apart, and then June’s dad has to move for a new job, and she doesn’t even get to finish the year at her new high school.  Hautman gets the push/pull of Wes and June’s relationship just right.  One minute they’re doing crazy things so that they can be together, and the next minute they’re wondering what the heck they’re doing.  Even while you root for them to work everything out, you know how unlikely it is, given all the circumstances (including their age) conspiring against them.  Still, the ending is about as hopeful as you could ask for.  Review by Stacy Church