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We're wrestling with shingles and a biopsy at my house so this is an extra short column. Hopefully next week will be better.


Some books are easier to approach than others. There are some books that I can't wait to open the cover and dive in. But there are others that give me what you could call approach avoidance conflict. I want to read them but at the same time I really don't. Chris Lynch’s young adult novel Inexcusable falls into this category. It's told in first-person and it's the story of a high school senior athlete who is trying to explain that he is not a rapist. That it is impossible for him to have done something so terrible.

The story is intercut between present and past. In the present he is in a room with his victim, a childhood friend that he thinks he is in love with. He won't let her leave the room until she agrees with him about what happened. His argument is that he's a good person and good persons don't rape people so therefore he can't possibly be a rapist. Being seen in the best possible light and being like is extremely important to this character, whose name is Keir.

The story essentially covers Keir’s senior year, with him describing certain incidents in two ways; what actually happened and what he wishes happened. It takes a skillful writer to be able to carry out this dichotomy without making the characters sounds schizoid. Mr. Lynch does an excellent job showing us the Keir that us severely troubled and the Keir that wants to be a good person.

Inexcusable is quite readable. I finished it in about an hour and a half. I meant to only read the first chapter and then do something else but I ended up reading it all in one giant gulp with that same horrified fascination you might have when you're watching something terrible happen in front of your eyes. That feeling that you should be able to put a stop to whatever is going on, before someone is badly hurt, but being unable to alter the outcome.

You can read an excerpt here:

BTW, the dialogue at the beginning of the book is pretty stilted. Don't let that dissuade you from reading this book. It gets better.

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