Friday, February 17, 2012

Terry Trueman Week - Day 3

Hi Readers,

Sarah is back again guest blogging today! On Wednesday, we heard her thoughts on “Stuck in Neutral.” Today, she’s hear to share her thoughts on “Cruise Control.” (Teachers and teachers-to-be, take note of Sarah’s final thoughts!) 
So without further ado …

“Cruise Control” by Terry Trueman is a very touching story about a character that appears to have it all. Paul McDaniel is blessed with brains, popularity, and athletic skill, but in reality, he is suffering tremendously on the inside and tries to conceal his hurt from everyone. Paul is a star athlete on his school’s basketball team with big dreams of leaving home to attend college by earning an athletic scholarship. However, his brother, Shawn, is severely disabled and cannot communicate or control his body. When their dad abandoned the family, Paul felt obligated as “the man of the house” to care for not only his brother, but his mother and sister as well. Paul resents his father for putting him in this situation and feels trapped. Paul must control his anger and break free of his own feelings of guilt in order to control his own life. Trueman does an excellent job of creating a believable character that readers can relate to.

Having read “Cruise Control” prior to reading “Stuck in Neutral” my perspective of this story is somewhat different than most. If I had read “Stuck in Neutral” beforehand, I think my opinions about the characters and the overall story would be somewhat different. I believe Paul embodies many of the characteristics that many teens demonstrate. As a reader, I was able to get into his head and identify with him. In many ways he is the average teenager who feels as though no one understands him and believes that the world is against him. This story took me back to my own teenage years. It is easy to relate to the feelings and emotions that Paul demonstrates as he completes high school.

I believe this story will appeal to teens. I think Trueman has created a character that embodies many of the problems and situations that teens deal with daily. The character is very relatable. The book also contains quite a bit of humor which, makes it appealing.

In the classroom, this book can be used to discuss a multitude of sensitive topics that correspond to issues people deal with on a daily basis and that teens need to be aware of. Disability is a huge theme in this story. Teachers can discuss the stereotypes associated with disability, or raise awareness about the treatment of these people. It is also necessary to challenge the perceptions we all have about people with disabilities. Another topic to be discussed is separation and divorce. Many families are broken in today’s society and many children have difficulty dealing with the separation of their parents. Thirdly, bullying is addressed in this novel. It is critical that teachers discuss this in their classrooms, because it has become a major issue in schools today. I would absolutely use this book in my classroom.

Sarah, thanks so much for guest blogging not just once, but twice!

1 comment:

  1. Great reviews and great insight into using the book in the classroom. I have used them in the past with overwhelming success. Thank you Sarah