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Sunday, July 17, 2016

Matching up on life experiences

“When you're watching somebody read your material and they smile and nod, you know you've found that place where your experience and their experience match, even though they aren't the same exact experience.”  Chris Crutcher

Born on this date in 1946, Crutcher has combined a successful career as a family therapist with an equally successful career as a writer for teens.  In the process he has been honored with a lifetime achievement award – the coveted Margaret Edwards Award (recognition for writing for teens) – from the American Library Association.

Many of his novels concern teenaged athletes (especially swimmers) who face major problems and get the help and support they need from wise, caring adults – usually either a teacher or a coach.   Unafraid to tackle such issues as abusive parents, racial and religious prejudice, mental and physical disability, or crushing poverty, Crutcher’s books have won the praise of millions despite being censored by those who think they are too graphic.   Despite this controversy, he has earned dozens of awards.       One of his most honored books is 2007’s Deadline
the story of a high school senior dying from a rare blood disease and who has kept that fact a secret so that he can pack a lifetime of full living into his last year of life.

“What I hope my writing reflects... is a sense of the connections between all human beings... and a different perspective on the true nature of courage,” Crutcher said.   “For me, those are things worth exploring and writing about.”

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