Friday, April 19, 2013

Crash and Burn by Michael Hassan

Crash and Burn
Good reads Summary
Crash and Burn by Michael Hassan

On April 21, 2008, Steven "Crash" Crashinsky saved more than a thousand people when he stopped his classmate David Burnett from taking their high school hostage armed with assault weapons and high-powered explosives. You likely already know what came after for Crash: the nationwide notoriety, the college recruitment, and, of course, the book deal. What you might not know is what came before: a story of two teens whose lives have been inextricably linked since grade school, who were destined, some say, to meet that day in the teachers' lounge of Meadows High. And what you definitely don't know are the words that Burn whispered to Crash right as the siege was ending, a secret that Crash has never revealed.

Until now.

Michael Hassan's shattering novel is a tale of first love and first hate, the story of two high school seniors and the morning that changed their lives forever. It's a portrait of the modern American teenage male, in all his brash, disillusioned, oversexed, schizophrenic, drunk, nihilistic, hopeful, ADHD-diagnosed glory. And it's a powerful meditation on how normal it is to be screwed up, and how screwed up it is to be normal.(l

My Thoughts
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

It’s day three post Crash and Burn and the words still elude me. What aspect of this held me? It certainly wasn’t any of the characters as they were all worlds away from perfect. Crash particular was a douche.. no doubt about it. Hero status notwithstanding,  all the cruising and the boozing, the cussing and name dropping with his boys and the girls, the hooking up and the what not… made this almost too dark but with a a lack of depth. There seemed no reason for all of it, save to shock. Oh, look at that, young kids all doped up. Oh, look at that heedless treatment of another! There’s a lack of reason for the way they all behaved save the young being reckless. And reckless they indeed all were. But the worst thing - and most accurate thing - here lay in how Roxanne summed him up: his mediocrity and failing to be more is related to his fall back position. He feels himself go nowhere, lead nowhere because he isn’t as smart as others and couldn’t possibly be as ‘good’ as others… so why bother? It irked me… this thinking, because a lot of it led to detailed description of reckless behavior.

He’s not alone as the lot surrounding him was terrible (some more than others…) from his father, to Burn, to Roxanne… disappointment and heartbreak followed.  It’s to his father that I thought reason might follow. That his being a douche was some sick twisted version of tough love; that in fact, there was love somewhere buried deep, deeeepppp down. I was wrong. While Crash himself could act atrociously time and again, in acting thus, I at least knew more of him. I confess to not liking him but at least I knew him and his reasons (no matter how self serving/ a bit lazy feeling I felt they were.) His father though? Why such douche behavior, douche? The man’s actions and words made zero sense to me. Perhaps he’s one of those characters? You know, the one written simply to be hated? If so, it worked. I loathed the ass.

Another thing that had me going was the switch back and forth FROM CRASH’s past of not quite popular boy (but getting there) TO his present version floating on his hero status (aka the douchey dude I wanted to punch). The past reveals him to be less the douche experiencing first loves and one disappointment after another while it’s the present that reveals him to be  more often than not as self-serving, this despite heroic acts. In fact it’s the aftermath of the heroic act in question that propels him further into douchedom. But if anything it’s this aspect that allows for some of their reasons to seep through. Reasons for someone’s seemingly selfish act or for another’s self-destructive behavior… it doesn’t all make complete sense… except maybe they do kind of make sense a little. It’s difficult but we see the connections they make with another and how one may be deeply affected the same thing barely touches another. These connections they made to each other AND THEN the things that these connections had them doing, the consequences ranged from heartbreaking, frustrating, disappointing, to terrifying

But it’s BURN’S part in this that has me split. At first, I was feeling things a tad simplistic; that tragedy begetting tragedy became his theme, but the longer things are considered, the clearer it is that there’s truth in it, no? That one sad thing then another sad thing, then  another… then what follows at his hand makes sense, in a tragic sort of way. Maybe it’s a bit simple to say that one sad thing (more than one sad things) leads to the same… but maybe that just isn’t the case. The point I’m trying to get at is... he isn’t just the broken guy doing this terrible thing, but he is just as much a victim as the rest.

DARK then darker with each page so that it’s the ending that leaves me slightly disappointed. It felt almost to HEA considering everything else in it.


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