Deadline by Chris Crutcher
Page by Seth Barger

Author Background

Chris Crutcher was born in Dayton, Ohio on July 17, 1946, but later moved to Cascade, Iowa where he lived most of his child hood. He received a BA degree in psychology and sociology from Eastern Washington State College. He became a teacher in California and Washington before he became an author. After teaching he decided to become a writer for Young American Literature. In 1983 he published his first book called Running Loose, which was about a high school student going through hardships and many difficulties. Crutcher’s books usually involve teenagers in high school or young adults facing adversities whether it is family, health, racial tension, or other misfortunes. Crutcher’s books include explicit content and is intended for mature audiences. Many of his writings make you think about how valuable your life is and how fast it can be taken from you. He has written a total of 13 books and 6 short stories. Crutcher has produced several books and short stories that have made the ALA's top 100 list of most frequently challenged books for 1990-2000. The American Library Association (ALA) has named eight of his books, "Best Books for Young Adults". Crutcher is a very successful author, and he is becoming nationally known for his writings.

Book Characters

Ben Wolf-(Main Character) High School senior, diagnosed with a rare blood disease that has one year to live. He wants to become the star of the football team, win the girl of his dreams, and live a normal last year of his life.

Cody Wolf-Ben’s brother, star of the football team, great athlete, but not very smart. He wouldn’t be near as good if he didn’t have his brother telling him all of his reads for defense.

Dallas Suzuki-Girl of Ben’s dreams, big reason of why Ben wants to live. She has a big secret that only a few know. She’s a very talented volleyball player. All she cares about in life is volleyball, and her little brother Joe Henry.

Hey-Soos-Ben’s imagination, appears when he sleeps, and gives him advice. Ben keeps calling him “Jesus” but claims that he isn’t.

Rudy McCoy-The town drunk. No one cares about him except Ben who has taking a big liking to him. He shares interest of Malcolm X with Ben.

Mr. Lambeer-He is a stubborn U.S. government/current events teacher. Thinks he is right all the time, very bigot person. Claims that he tells the truth about history, but Ben proves him wrong several times by the book he is reading. Lambeer threatens to fail Ben because of his Malcolm X project

Coach Banks-Head Coach of the football team. He’s basically a dad to Ben and Cody. Helps Ben a lot because he reminds him of himself when he was young. Gave Ben his truck because Ben's family can't afford things.

Sooner Cowans-Star running back of the football team. He's abused badly by his dad, so he has a rough home life. Known as the tough guy around school that everyone is afraid of.

Mr. Wolf-Ben and Cody's dad. Lives a miserable life because all he does is take care of his wife that has a alcohol and drug problem.

Mrs. Wolf-Ben and Cody's mother. Has a major alcohol and drug problem. She's never been a true mother to her sons. She is always having a "crash" where she has mental breakdowns.

Brief Summary

What would you do if you knew that you only had one year left to live, and you were only a senior in high school? That is the way that Ben Wolf lives. Ben Wolf is an average high school student; he doesn’t have the perfect life. He is not very good looking, skinny, not very athletic except for running, but one thing that he has going for him is that he is very smart. His brother is the exact opposite, he is the star quarterback of the football team, strong, good looking, but he does not have the brains in the family. The brothers are best friends. Ironically, they pretty much can’t live without each other. These two have had to grow up by themselves because of their home-life is not the best due to their mothers’ bad alcohol and drug problem since as long as they remember. As soon as you get into the story you find out that Ben is diagnosed with a terminal blood disease and has one year to live. Unlike most teenagers that receive news like this, Ben decides to not tell anyone because he wants to live a “normal” life. Soon to realize, this task is going to be harder than expected. While Ben sleeps, he dreams about a guy named “Hey-Soos”, who gives him advice about his situation, but Ben never knows what to do even with the advice because he sees the good and bad results of it. Ben has two things that he wants to accomplish in the short amount of time he is left on this Earth: Get the girl of his dreams, Dallas Suzuki, and become the star of the football team, which he has never played in his life. Ben is starting to finally live his life, he’s starting to become more outspoken, stand up for himself, and become a man. He decides that he is going to try out for the football team because he doesn’t have anything to lose. He knows that he more than likely won’t ever play; he just wants to see what it’s like to be in the limelight. In the middle of the season, Ben gets his opportunity to play in the game, and he definitely takes advantage of it. By the end of the game, he is the hero, and he has earned his spot to start on the team. He is the brains behind the defense and the offense because his brother wouldn’t be half the player he is if it wasn’t for Ben helping him on his reads. Ben being the star of the football team now gets his chance with Dallas Suzuki, his dream girl. He has become so close to her that she trusts him with everything. She even tells Ben her big secret that only her mom knows, so he feels the need to tell her his secret, but he can’t. So he’s taking the risk in hurting her instead of telling her immediately. They fall in love with each other and he still hasn’t told her about his disease, nothing good will come of this. Ben has made a new friend named Rudy McCoy, the town drunk, and Ben is the only one that sees good in him. So he lends a helping hand and tries to get him healthy. While they are spending time together they realize they share the love of Malcolm X. As long as Ben continues to help him, Rudy continues to teach him about Malcolm X. Over time Ben uses his knowledge on Malcolm X to anger his teacher, Mr. Lambeer, that he believes is a liar. Ben decides to do a project on Malcolm X knowing the consequences of it. His teacher threatens to fail him if the project isn’t successful. In the last few months of his life he decides to tell the people that he cares about. He understands that this will result in badly, but he’d rather do it now then them finding out after the fact. When he tells Dallas, she becomes furious because she trusted him with everything, and she ends their relationship basically. He tells his brother and he doesn’t know what to say, it’s like him losing the other half of his body, but he understands and wants to “live it up” while he’s still here. He also tells his coach, who has been through a tough loss, when he lost his high school sweetheart. At Ben’s graduation, he is able to make it, but he’s there in spirit. He wrote a letter that he was going to read if he was there, but he had to get his brother read it. Ben may have waited too long to start living his life, but he made sure that he would be remembered for numerous reasons. I guess you could say that he died a happy young man.

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People in this world, including me, do not realize how valuable life is. You never know how quickly and easily life can be taken from you. This book is a prime example of that, you can be living a normal life, then the next day you find out it might be too late to live your life to the fullest. Even though there is a slim chance of losing your life at a young age, the book teaches you that you should not ever take advantage of your life. I have never learned so much about life through a book; it shows you the highs and the lows. I hope that I would never receive news like this for me or anyone I know, but if I ever did I hope that I would be able to say that I’m happy with my life as it is and I wouldn’t have to make any drastic changes. I’ve learned in life to live as much as you can with as little regrets as possible. As a football player, my favorite part in the story was when Ben became the hero as he leaped for the game winning catch from his brother. I loved reading about the joy in his life after that. The thing about Ben is that he was happy for himself, but ecstatic for his team because they got the win in the end. He didn’t get a big head like most people would, even after he was deemed the starting free safety on the team, he was just happy that he got the opportunity to play the game of football. Many people are afraid to get hurt playing the game, but Ben is willing to risk his own life to play it. This book has really taught me many things about life. It showed me what the important things are, and who really matter in your life and no matter what, they will be the ones always by your side. If you are a person that does not know the true meaning of life, I highly recommend this book to young or adult reader!