Sunday, April 28, 2013

Cracked by K.M. Walton

K.M. Walton has your emotions flowing  from page one and on in her novel Cracked. The story follows two sixteen year old boys and their seemingly different, and yet in many cases similar family and social lives. Victor lives in the rich part of town in a huge house with parents who wish that he had never been born. They are never slow  to tell him that he was not planned and that their lives would be so much better without him. He doesn't have any friends at school or in the neighborhood. The only love he receives is from the family's eighteen year old tea cup poodle, Jasmine, but he calls her Jazzer because it makes his mom mad. He believes that if he didn't have Jazzer then he would have no reason to live. Life without Jazzer means life without any love or attention.
Bull lives in a two bedroom apartment in the poor part of town with his mom and grandfather; both of which are just about always drunk. Ever since he was little he has been the school bully and has made Victor's, or in Bull's words Victoria's, life a living hell. He doesn't have any friends because just about every one is afraid of him. In order to avoid a beating from his grandpa or his mom telling him that he ruined her life he rides his bike to the cemetery for some peace and quiet so he can read. No one knows that Bull loves to read though, it's his way of feeling some sort of connection with others, whether they're fictional or not, that no one else knows about. Bull cannot stand living with his grandpa and mom. He knows that if he could some how get rid of his grandpa then his life would be a lot better. He finds his solution in a gun he finds hidden in the closet. 
The story becomes very interesting when both Bull and Victor find themselves in a psychiatric ward together. After Victor received SAT scores that did not satisfy his parents and embarrassed his mother (they were some of the highest scores in the school) they decided that instead of joining them on a family trip to Europe he should stay home as punishment, so they left without him. They didn't even say goodbye. It was not long after they left that Jazzer died and Victor swallowed a bottle of his mom's pills. He woke up in the hospital the next day after his grandma found him. 
One night Bull came home to a drunk grandpa as usual. They got especially heated though and Bull raised the gun to his grandpa's head. There was a struggle and Bull got shot in the leg. His grandpa told the police that he had tried to commit suicide so that they would not put him in juvee. This was the only nice thing that his grandpa had ever done for him. He wasn't very happy though that he woke up the next day in the psychiatric ward in a room that he shared with "Victoria". 
Over the course of four long days in the hospital Bull and Victor begin to understand that they are not all that different from each other. They by no means become friends by the end of their experience, but they have a mutual understanding that results in the end of any interactions between them upon their return to school. Cracked is very emotional and extremely heart warming. Walton does a great job in making her reader understand and truly feel a connection with her two main characters. While the story is about the struggle that two boys have and the very unhappy lives that they live, Walton's sarcastic tone had me laughing at every page. Cracked is a very entertaining and would be great for reluctant readers. While it is about 300 pages long, the language is easy to understand and the flow of the story is very smooth. It also helps that each chapter is only about five pages long. This story shows that there is a lot more to a person than what they present to the world around them. Although a person might seem completely the opposite from you on the outside, their inner struggles may make you more alike than you would ever think. 
In this video below K.M Walton shares a few words about her novel. 

1 comment:

Zia Nathan said...

I think this sounds like a great book for young adults to read. I like the message of the story that just because someone comes from a different place than you doesn't mean that they can't understand what you're going through or don't have any problems of their own. From an outside perspectives Victor and Bull have nothing in common, but behind the scenes they actually are going through the same things at home.