Review: The Big Crunch by Pete Hautman

(Or: The One Where Kubi Writes a Review After a Bajillion Years.)

I just finished The Big Crunch by Pete Hautman and absolutely love it. I’m still trying to figure out what exactly made me so attached to it. Bear with me as I sort through my thoughts with you.

Last night, I talked about how my woefully high expectations might have ruined the book for me. I felt as if something was missing somehow. Like I had dug a hole in my heart to make room for loving the book and then realizing that maybe the hole was too big. Hanna said that admitting this had freed me to truly enjoy it. Maybe she was right. By the time I finished reading, that hole had just about filled up without my even thinking about it.

Perhaps a lot of it also has to do with Pete Hautman’s style. It’s almost understated because he’s just describing everyday things. Walking home from school, cleaning out a garage, seeing a movie, or waiting for a text message. On the other hand, he’s also writing about people falling in love. Everything else is still ordinary but you aren’t. You look the same on the outside, but there’s a storm in your chest. Nothing is happening, then suddenly everything is happening all at once. You want the whole universe to celebrate with you, for it to freeze just so you can keep feeling that way forever. That’s what sucks, because obviously it doesn’t. The world will go on with or without you. Shit still happens, and you have to take it as it comes because that’s what real life is.

That’s what Wes and June’s story is like, most of the time. They are in love, but they have to deal with a lot of uncertainty. Hautman lets the teen romance norms fall away so what you end up with is a very real, and sometimes, very painful love story.

I don’t want to give too much away, but there are these parts in the book where Hautman plays with time and relativity and how the world slows down or speeds up depending on how you’re feeling. I’m sorry that I’m about to use a cliché to describe a book that makes it a point to break away from the clichés, but I truly felt like those paragraphs were written just for me.

Read this book.

This was a post by Kubi who is contemplating an afternoon nap.

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Review: The Big Crunch by Pete Hautman

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