Reader reviews for Whale Talk

I'll admit, the only reasons I wanted to read this is because some parents want to ban this from a high school class. After reading this book and seeing some of their comments I can guarantee that not one of them read this book.

Some of their gripes have to do with the profanity used. I'll admit, some of the profanity could have been held back. But most were essential to the telling of the story and more importantly to the telling of the characters.

I think I read this through different eyes because of all of this. I tried to read this as an educator in order to see if I felt if there was any educational value to this. This book touched upon so many important and relevant topics. Bullying, racial tension, and mental and physical abuse to name some of the big ones. This is absolutely a book I would have any high school student read.P
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TJ, an adopted multiracial teen, is athletic and smart. He avoids organized sports until he decides to form a swimming team made up of the school misfits.
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I would have this book in class to talk about racism in a small community. School is a small community and would be a good place to tackle racism in the classroom. How it affects everyone involved and can cut deeper than anyone suspects at the time.
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There were plenty of places where I had to wipe away a tear after reading sections of this book, particularly in the strength and kindness characters' showed each other after facing cruelty at the hands of other characters and life. The story centers around TJ, a gifted athlete who doesn't buy into the school caste system which places varsity athletes at the center of the universe regardless of the content of their characters. TJ puts together a swim team of those who don't quite fit. Although he does it initially as a way to stick it to the jocks, it turns out that this group forms meaningful bonds. TJ's own family is pretty amazing, his adopted parents open their home to an abused girl just as they did for TJ when he was a toddler. TJ's parents, coaches, and counselor, are pretty amazing role models. Over and over again the adults remind TJ that when people behave badly, even evilly, it points to a cycle of abuse. Crutcher's work as a child and family therapist is a clear influence throughout the book. It's a layered narrative that woven together makes a complex, emotional story.
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Tired of prejudice and football jocks, main character puts a swim team together.
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I really like Chris Crutcher books. I like that he usually has strong male characters and some sport aspect. The books also have a respect for the reader that sometimes is missing from young adult books. Whale Talk is no exception. It has all the elements. Excellent book. I would recommend it to boys and girls and to anyone who feels like an outsider. And honestly, who doesn't?
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Although Chris Crutcher does not speak in the current idiom of boys, he still speaks to boys in this story about a multicultural kid living in a small town in rural Washington state. T.J., a multicultural kid who's blessed with intelligence and athletic ability is nevertheless a victim of racism. He decides to start a swim team for kids who are misfits in one way or another, after seeing a disabled kid bullied out of wearing his dead brother's varsity letter jacket because the boy is not himself an athlete. T.J.'s main conflict is between him and the small-town, white-supremacist types who rule the sports' world in town. There are both triumphs and tragedies in this story. Strangely, when the tragedy finally occurs, T.J.'s response to it is understated, after he has spent the whole book in barely restrained anger against the bullies.
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Whale talk was pretty boring up until the third chapter, but once I got into it I couldn’t put it down. The book kept you asking why and kept you wondering. It kind of gave you a lot of things at once and made it all come together and understand everything in the end. The way Chris Crutcher describes things makes you feel like you were there living the moment with T.J. and everyone. The letter jacket was used as symbol in Whale Talk; it represented how the school was all about sports and T.J.’s main goal was to get one for all the misfits and to make them fell like they belonged to something. In the beginning they swim team was quiet and everybody was weary of eachother but at the end of the book they were a happy family and were bestfriends. Overall this book was great, definatly worth reading at least once.
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Good book dealing with racism, outcasts and swimming.T.J (The Tao) Jones is part black, Japanese and white, which makes him stand out in his suburban Washington town. Naturally athletic, the coaches at his high school constantly try to get T.J. to try out for sports, to no avail. That is, until, T.J.'s favorite English teacher convinces him to start a swim team to save his job.T.J. recruits a motley group of fellow students including one without a leg and one who is very overweight. Their stories intertwine and make for an interesting read.My one complaint about the story was how stereotypical the bullies were. I felt they were one-note and not as fully developed as the other characters. However, it doesn't take away from the story as may be expected.Highly recommended to those who like to fight for the underdog.
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Yet another outstanding novel by Chris Crutcher, but yet again it is another of his novels that has been banned in some areas and come under heavy controversy. This time many people have been offended by the author’s use of racial slang. Though the slang is very off-putting, I don’t think it is any reason for it to be banned, if anything the slang is reason for the book to be taught. This is because embodies, oddly enough, the idea of multicultural education. It does this by showing the harmful effects that racism has on people. The slang that many find offensive only magnifies these effects and by no means shows racism in a positive light. Additionally, the story gives the readers the perspective of the racist and shows how harmful it is to them and their families as well. I feel that the critics of the book have not read the book critically enough to see this, because if they had they may have seen the benefits of teaching rather than just focusing on the slang, which was meant to show the ways that racism hurts everyone involved.
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