Athletic Shorts, a collection of six short stories.
I do not read short stories very often, but I always love exploring genres that I don't typically read. The title caught me from the start because I loved the play on words. It did not take me long to realize that yes, the writing was very captivating. The author has excellent word choice and voice. There are certain lines/scenes that have stuck with me. It is also easy to see why they are considered controversial to different degrees depending on the story. However, every story had a very strong, positive message, which in the end is what is most important.
One of my favorite parts about the book was that Crutcher wrote a preface to each short story giving us glimpses into what influenced him to write each of the short stories and other background information. In some cases, reading the background before hand gave me motivation to continue reading the story. For example, had I not read his ideas prior to reading "Telephone Man" it would have been difficult to read because the main character is so racist. Yet, it made perfect sense as to why it was an important story to tell by the time I got to the end, an ending I might not have gotten to if I had not realized the rationale behind writing the story to write stories that are relevant to teens' everyday lives. Crutcher isn't writing about the topic because he himself is racist, but to teach a message of tolerance and standing up for the dignity and worth of each individual, a common thread that I saw through many of his stories in the collection.
I was also excited to see that Crutcher is from the Pacific Northwest. I always love reading from local authors or authors from the region. Whale Talk is the other book that I have, and I look forward to reading it in the near future.