Historical Context

(Novels for Students)

The War on Drugs Campaign in the 1980s
When The Crazy Horse Electric Game was published, President Ronald Reagan and...

(The entire section is 725 words.)

Form and Content

(Survey of Young Adult Fiction)

Using a seventeen-year-old golden boy athlete, Chris Crutcher weaves a realistic story about how fate rules life in The Crazy Horse Electric Game. The novel follows Willie Weaver from the height of his popularity as a baseball hero, which ends in a tragic boating accident, through the rebuilding of his life in Oakland, California, at the One More Last Chance High School. Crutcher uses short chapters, an easy-to-follow plot, strong characterization, and foreshadowing to hook and maintain the reader’s interest. The third-person narration allows the reader to see inside the minds of the characters, feeling their emotions and drawing the reader into the nightmare that has become reality for Willie.

The game is a watershed event in Willie Weaver’s life. His controlled pitching and awesome final catch take the championship away from the three-time winning team, Crazy Horse Electric. He becomes the star player for Sampson Floral and the town hero. In the blink of an eye, however, Willie’s life and the lives of his friends and family change forever. A water skiing accident leaves the left side of Willie’s body paralyzed, impairing his speech and movement.

Lost in a world that he no longer knows, in a body that he no longer controls, Willie struggles to overcome his confusion and frustration by trying to play racquetball, managing the girls’ basketball team, talking to a psychologist, participating in speech therapy, and going out with friends. The decisions that he makes are based on his emotions and have...

(The entire section is 632 words.)


(Beacham's Guide to Literature for Young Adults)

The Crazy Horse Electric Game begins and ends in the small town of Coho, Montana— another fictional representation of Crutcher's...

(The entire section is 470 words.)

Literary Style

(Novels for Students)

The novel’s two settings serve to greatly differentiate between Willie’s life before the accident and after the...

(The entire section is 711 words.)

Literary Qualities

(Beacham's Guide to Literature for Young Adults)

The Crazy Horse Electric Game is told in a unique way. Rather than utilizing first person as he had in Running Loose and...

(The entire section is 398 words.)

Social Sensitivity

(Beacham's Guide to Literature for Young Adults)

There are many social issues raised in The Crazy Horse Electric Game. Too many according to reviewer Todd Morning who notes Crutcher...

(The entire section is 468 words.)

Topics for Discussion

(Beacham's Guide to Literature for Young Adults)

1. Do you think Willie should have left home? Does he leave home or does he run away?

2. Is what happened to Willie really an...

(The entire section is 222 words.)

Ideas for Reports and Papers

(Beacham's Guide to Literature for Young Adults)

1. Willie Weaver's sister dies of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome. Research the causes of SIDS and what advances are being made to combat this...

(The entire section is 282 words.)

Topics for Further Study

(Novels for Students)

Chris Crutcher has often been criticized, and sometimes censored, for tackling serious and controversial subject matter. Is it wrong for...

(The entire section is 140 words.)

Related Titles / Adaptations

(Beacham's Guide to Literature for Young Adults)

For more about the tough streets of Oakland the works of Jess Mowry are instructive and entertaining, in particular Babylon Boyz, Ghost...

(The entire section is 235 words.)

What Do I Read Next?

(Novels for Students)

The Ironman: A Novel, by Chris Crutcher, is an intense look into the life of a seventeen-year-old athlete whose strained...

(The entire section is 131 words.)

For Further Reference

(Beacham's Guide to Literature for Young Adults)

Brown, Jennifer. "PW Talks with Chris Crutcher." Publishers Weekly (March 12, 2001): 92. This is an interview focusing on the novel...

(The entire section is 510 words.)

Bibliography and Further Reading

(Novels for Students)

Bosc, Michael, “Street Gangs No Longer Just a Big-City Problem,” in U.S. News & World Report, p. 108....

(The entire section is 189 words.)