Chris Crutcher Biography

Chris Crutcher Biography

Readers often disagree about Chris Crutcher's work. Although his youth-oriented novels have received numerous plaudits from the literary community, several of his titles have also been removed from libraries and banned from schools’ curricula. For some critics, Crutcher offers an unflinchingly honest portrayal of the many complexities and struggles of being a young person. Others find his content questionable and his blunt discussions of abuse, addiction, and sexuality to be troubling for young audiences. Despite the controversy, Crutcher has established a reputation for being an insightful writer about the pains, heartaches, and successes faced by young adults in America today.

Facts and Trivia

  • Along with literature, Crutcher studied psychology and sociology. Many critics have credited these studies with influencing his unique perspective as a writer.
  • Another part of Crutcher’s insight into the minds of young people can be attributed to his teaching at an alternative school for nearly ten years.
  • In addition to writing books and short stories, Crutcher has also worked as a columnist.
  • Crutcher is a life-long sports enthusiast, and many of his passions, particularly swimming, figure prominently in his novels.
  • One of Crutcher’s short stories was adapted into the 1995 feature film Angus, which starred James Van Der Beek, George C. Scott, and Kathy Bates.

Biography

(Novels for Students)

Chris Crutcher, born in the small and isolated logging town of Cascade, Idaho, on July 17, 1946, graduated from the Eastern Washington State University in 1968 and, despite what he calls his unremarkable performance as a student, later excelled as a teacher for at-risk teens at the Kennewick Dropout School in Washington State. After spending the next ten years working with troubled youth, specifically as a mental-health therapist, Crutcher became reacquainted with old college friend and writer Terry Davis. After working with Davis on his novel Vision Quest, Crutcher embarked on a writing career of his own, publishing his first book, Running Loose, in 1983. The novel was named an ALA Best Book and led to a string of successful young adult novels, which earned Crutcher a reputation for telling stories that honestly portray the life struggles of adolescents and tackle tough issues.

Despite his lack of formal training in the art of writing, Crutcher would go on to pen six novels for young adults, as well as one adult novel, over the course of his career. While his writing eventually took precedence over his work as a therapist, Crutcher still works with the Child Protection Team in Spokane, which is an organization of mentalhealth professionals who handle the most difficult cases. Continuing his work with disadvantaged youth gives Crutcher material for his novels, and he draws upon real-life experiences for inspiration. In fact, his mother was...

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Biography

(Beacham's Guide to Literature for Young Adults)

Chris Crutcher was born on July 17, 1946, in Cascade, Idaho. He has a B. A. from Eastern Washington State College. He has worked in mental health care, frequently with abused children, with family problems, and with at-risk teenagers. Currently he works on contract with Community Mental Health in Spokane, Washington, but his main occupation is writing fiction. His literary works reflect his interest in young people, in mental health, and in sports. All his books have been recognized by the American Library Association as Best Books for Young Adults. Crutcher has developed Running Loose into a screenplay and looks forward to its production. Another of his books, The Deep End (1991), a suspense story dealing with mental health issues and aimed at adults, has been bought for film release.

Some of the characters who appear in the novels also appear in Crutcher's collection of short stories called Athletic Shorts. The title of the collection typifies the author's sense of humor and enjoyment of words.

Crutcher has completed a book, Ironman, about a triathlete who has difficulty controlling his anger, or so the adults in his life think.

Like many successful young adult authors, Crutcher does not write intentionally/ or teenagers. He writes about teenagers, and the resulting books are thus appealing to high school-aged readers.

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Biography

(Beacham's Guide to Literature for Young Adults)

Christopher C. Crutcher was born on July 17, 1946 in the logging and lumber camp of Cascade, Idaho, which he transformed into Trout, Idaho in Running Loose. Because he attended a small high school, he participated in most major sports, including football, basketball, and track. Like Louie Banks of Running Loose, Crutcher's father was also the chairman of the school committee.

Crutcher attended Washington State College, majoring in sociology and psychology. While in college, he swam competitively, experiencing a week of endurance training like the swimmers in Stotan! After graduating in 1968, Crutcher became a teacher and the director at an alternative school in Oakland, California, a setting which he used in The Crazy Horse Electric Game (1987). While in California, he took a writing workshop to provide himself with a creative outlet. At the suggestion of a writer friend, he expanded a short story into Running Loose, his first published novel. In 1976, he moved back to Spokane, where he still works as a child and family therapist in a mental health center.

Crutcher's background in sports is obvious in his young adult novels, each of which uses athletics to explore human nature. Crutcher's first novel, Running Loose (1983), which features a high school senior, Louis Bradley, who runs track to keep his sanity in the face of his girlfriend's death, was named an American Library Association Best Book for...

(The entire section is 267 words.)