Chinese Handcuffs

( 46 )

Overview

Dillon is living with the painful memory of his brother's suicide -- and the role he played in it. To keep his mind and body occupied, he trains intensely for the Ironman triathlon. But outside of practice, his life seems to be falling apart.

Then Dillon finds a confidante in Jennifer, a star high school basketball player who's hiding her own set of destructive secrets. Together, they must find the courage to confront their demons -- before ...

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Overview

Dillon is living with the painful memory of his brother's suicide -- and the role he played in it. To keep his mind and body occupied, he trains intensely for the Ironman triathlon. But outside of practice, his life seems to be falling apart.

Then Dillon finds a confidante in Jennifer, a star high school basketball player who's hiding her own set of destructive secrets. Together, they must find the courage to confront their demons -- before it's too late.

Still troubled by his older brother's violent suicide, eighteen-year-old Dillon becomes deeply involved in the terrible secret of his friend Jennifer, who feels she can tell no one what her stepfather is doing to her.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Dillon, 16, is a winning triathlete trying to live with the fact of his older brother Preston's suicide, which he witnessed. Preston left behind a girlfriend (and a baby) whom Dillon has always loved; he is also increasingly interested in Jennifer, the top girls' basketball player, a lifelong victim of sexual abuse by her father and later her stepfather. Carved out in straight narratives, flashbacks and letters to Preston recapping events, Crutcher, author of the well-received The Crazy Horse Electric Game , Running Loose and Stotan! , has written a weighty, introspective novel. Because of the book's complex structure, and because the issues are so gritty and realistic, parts of the resolution become melodramatic in contrast. Each characters' actions are undermined by the author's habit of introducing traits or quirks right before exploiting them for dramatic effect. Furthermore, pregnancy twice sets off suicide attempts. Nevertheless, the book is riveting despite those clumsy moments; like the triathlete who takes second or third place, the challenges and the dazzling effort displayed during the event more than compensate for a less-than-perfect finish. Ages 12-up. (Apr.)
Children's Literature
Dillon's brother Preston is dead. The ripples of his suicide still touch every aspect of Dillon's life. Dillon's writing, triathlon training, battles with the school administration, and confused relationship with his dead brother's girlfriend have all become tools with which he struggles to process his grief and guilt. Jennifer, a brilliant high school basketball star, struggles with issues of sexual abuse while trying to maintain a facade of normality. To survive, she cuts herself off from connecting with others. Dillon and Jennifer come together and through the revelation of their deepest wounds, begin the heal each other. Chris Crutcher paints a gripping and complex portrait of two young people that is impossible to put down. The story is written in alternating points of view. The subject matter, though intense and troubling, will speak on many levels to adolescent readers. 2004 (orig.1989), Greenwillow Books/HarperCollins, and Ages 13 to 18.
—Courtney Angermeier
School Library Journal
Gr 9-12-- There are enough plots here to fuel a soap opera for a year. Dillon Hemingway is a brilliant student and athlete whose older brother, Preston, gets involved with a motorcycle gang, loses his legs in a bike accident, and later blows his head away in full view of his younger brother. Dillon writes long letters to his dead brother to tell him about Stacy, who was Preston's girl and the mother of their child but who may secretly love Dillon, and Jennifer, star basketball player, whose father sexually abused her and whose stepfather, a madman, also abuses her. Dillon's mother walked out on his family some years before. So much for the beginning. Beyond the first chapters there are scenes in which Dillon sprinkles his brother's ashes into the gas tanks of the cyclists who corrupted Preston and in which Stacy uses the school public address system to announce that she is indeed the mother of Preston's child. Dogs are crushed by cars, the Vietnam War is rehashed. Characters keep asking ``can we talk'' and then prattle on with enormous presence and wisdom about the evils of society, their parents, all adults, their own sorry lot in life, and love (``There are so many crazy things, dangerous things sometimes, that we're taught to call love''). Jesus Christ is at one point called ``a heroic dude.'' Dillon is too much in control of himself and the other characters to be believable. The ending, in which Dillon single-handedly drives Jennifer's crazed step-father out of town, is contrived. There's a place in fiction for teenage problems, but surely not all in one novel. --Robert E. Unsworth, Scarsdale Junior High School, N.Y.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780060598396
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Publication date: 10/5/2004
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Pages: 304
  • Sales rank: 486,185
  • Age range: 14 years
  • Product dimensions: 5.00 (w) x 7.12 (h) x 0.60 (d)

Meet the Author

Chris Crutcher has written nine critically acclaimed novels, an autobiography, and two collections of short stories. Drawing on his experience as a family therapist and child protec-tion specialist, Crutcher writes honestly about real issues facing teenagers today: making it through school, competing in sports, handling rejection and failure, and dealing with parents. He has won three lifetime achievement awards for the body of his work: the Margaret A. Edwards Award, the ALAN Award, and the NCTE National Intellectual Freedom Award. Chris Crutcher lives in Spokane, Washington.

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Read an Excerpt

Chapter One

Dear Preston,

Gotta tell you this feels weird. I got the idea from a book called The Color Purple, by a lady named Alice Walker. It's a good book -- a really good book -- but that's not the point. The main character didn't have anyone in the real world to talk to, no one she could trust, so she started writing letters to God, because It (that's the pronoun she used for God because she wasn't all that sure of His or Her gender) was about the only thing left she believed in. Since you've been gone, I've been running around so full of that day and everything that probably led up to it that if I don't tell somebody about it, I might just explode. Only there's no one to tell. I can't burden Dad with it; he certainly has enough other things to worry about, what with Mom and Christy having left and working his ass off like he's always done. And Stacy's got her own stuff to deal with about you. Anyway, as you probably know, I have a pretty splotchy history with God, so that leaves you. And why not? You're about the only thing I can think of that I believe in. I mean, man, you are real to me now. I can let down with you now because I know I won't have to take any shit back like I did all the time when you were alive.

When people ask, I tell them that you escaped back into the universe by your own hand. Pretty poetic characterization for blasting your brains out, don't you think? Hey, I always was a man of letters. I've decided I want to be a writer someday, and Coach says (she's still the best teacher I ever had) that to pull that off, I have to write. That is the ulterior motive for writing you, considering thechances of your actually ever reading any of this.

I think everyone thought I'd come back to school after your funeral all quiet and humble and keep my smart mouth shut and just graduate. People treat death funny, like they think after someone's had a close brush with it, all the humor is supposed to go out of their lives and they're supposed to get real serious about things. That's not what happened to me, though. In some ways I felt even more alive after you were gone, and whatever it is in me that doesn't like to get pushed around or take things for granted just because adults say them got bigger.

Anyway, at the end of this year, when I graduate summa cum desperate from this jive time educational wasteland, there'll be some major backslapping and cap throwing by Mr. Caldwell and some faculty members, who -- looking back -- would just as soon have seen me graduate the same day I walked in. Caldwell is the vice-principal in charge of discipline now -- worked his way up from coach, through counselor, and he claims his position was created the day you and I enrolled. Man's got no better manners than to speak ill of the dead. It's flattering, but I know it's not true. I haven't had it any tougher academically than I ever had -- hell, since I've been here, I've pulled down more As than an aardvark in an Appalachian avalanche -- it's just that they've had to spend so many would-be educational man-hours trying to keep me under control. I have to say I sympathize to some extent; I have a pretty hard time keeping myself under control sometimes. But boy, they haven't made it easy. I might say that your having preceded me by two years as a drug-crazed biker hasn't exactly made my road any easier. But that was your choice.

I haven't turned into a jerk or anything, at least not by my standards, but it's been real hard getting the powers around here -- especially Caldwell -- to understand my meaning, which has become important to me. There isn't much time. You taught me that. He's been so busy finding different ways to tell me what is and isn't good for me he never hears me. The message is pretty simple actually: Everything I am doing isn't good for me and everything I'm not doing is. Caldwell could certainly have saved a lot of energy by saying it only once. Hell, I've always heard him; I just never agreed.

"Comedy is tragedy standing on its head with its pants down." Remember that? Somebody famous said it first, but I think you and I heard it from Dad, back when I was too young to know what it meant. I know what it means now though because I gotta say, Preston, I've seen about enough tragedy in my life to last me the rest of it, and sometimes when I can't find the humor anywhere, well, that's when I get pretty close to the edge. I guess that's where you were.

I got your note. Real creative. "That time with the cat. Don't ever forget." You really went out of your way with the details. I guess you were talking about Charlie, right? I got it. When I showed the note to Dad, I didn't tell all, only "It's just about this cat we killed when we were little." I couldn't stand for him to know more. I tell you, Preston, even eight years after the fact, Charlie's memory still brings me to my knees. I've never been able to write him off as merely the victim of a vicious, senseless childhood prank. I guess you couldn't either.

Chinese Handcuffs. Copyright © by Chris Crutcher. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.
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First Chapter

Chinese Handcuffs

Chapter One

Dear Preston,

Gotta tell you this feels weird. I got the idea from a book called The Color Purple, by a lady named Alice Walker. It's a good book -- a really good book -- but that's not the point. The main character didn't have anyone in the real world to talk to, no one she could trust, so she started writing letters to God, because It (that's the pronoun she used for God because she wasn't all that sure of His or Her gender) was about the only thing left she believed in. Since you've been gone, I've been running around so full of that day and everything that probably led up to it that if I don't tell somebody about it, I might just explode. Only there's no one to tell. I can't burden Dad with it; he certainly has enough other things to worry about, what with Mom and Christy having left and working his ass off like he's always done. And Stacy's got her own stuff to deal with about you. Anyway, as you probably know, I have a pretty splotchy history with God, so that leaves you. And why not? You're about the only thing I can think of that I believe in. I mean, man, you are real to me now. I can let down with you now because I know I won't have to take any shit back like I did all the time when you were alive.

When people ask, I tell them that you escaped back into the universe by your own hand. Pretty poetic characterization for blasting your brains out, don't you think? Hey, I always was a man of letters. I've decided I want to be a writer someday, and Coach says (she's still the best teacher I ever had) that to pull that off, I have to write. That is the ulterior motive for writing you, considering the chances of your actually ever reading any of this.

I think everyone thought I'd come back to school after your funeral all quiet and humble and keep my smart mouth shut and just graduate. People treat death funny, like they think after someone's had a close brush with it, all the humor is supposed to go out of their lives and they're supposed to get real serious about things. That's not what happened to me, though. In some ways I felt even more alive after you were gone, and whatever it is in me that doesn't like to get pushed around or take things for granted just because adults say them got bigger.

Anyway, at the end of this year, when I graduate summa cum desperate from this jive time educational wasteland, there'll be some major backslapping and cap throwing by Mr. Caldwell and some faculty members, who -- looking back -- would just as soon have seen me graduate the same day I walked in. Caldwell is the vice-principal in charge of discipline now -- worked his way up from coach, through counselor, and he claims his position was created the day you and I enrolled. Man's got no better manners than to speak ill of the dead. It's flattering, but I know it's not true. I haven't had it any tougher academically than I ever had -- hell, since I've been here, I've pulled down more As than an aardvark in an Appalachian avalanche -- it's just that they've had to spend so many would-be educational man-hours trying to keep me under control. I have to say I sympathize to some extent; I have a pretty hard time keeping myself under control sometimes. But boy, they haven't made it easy. I might say that your having preceded me by two years as a drug-crazed biker hasn't exactly made my road any easier. But that was your choice.

I haven't turned into a jerk or anything, at least not by my standards, but it's been real hard getting the powers around here -- especially Caldwell -- to understand my meaning, which has become important to me. There isn't much time. You taught me that. He's been so busy finding different ways to tell me what is and isn't good for me he never hears me. The message is pretty simple actually: Everything I am doing isn't good for me and everything I'm not doing is. Caldwell could certainly have saved a lot of energy by saying it only once. Hell, I've always heard him; I just never agreed.

"Comedy is tragedy standing on its head with its pants down." Remember that? Somebody famous said it first, but I think you and I heard it from Dad, back when I was too young to know what it meant. I know what it means now though because I gotta say, Preston, I've seen about enough tragedy in my life to last me the rest of it, and sometimes when I can't find the humor anywhere, well, that's when I get pretty close to the edge. I guess that's where you were.

I got your note. Real creative. "That time with the cat. Don't ever forget." You really went out of your way with the details. I guess you were talking about Charlie, right? I got it. When I showed the note to Dad, I didn't tell all, only "It's just about this cat we killed when we were little." I couldn't stand for him to know more. I tell you, Preston, even eight years after the fact, Charlie's memory still brings me to my knees. I've never been able to write him off as merely the victim of a vicious, senseless childhood prank. I guess you couldn't either.

Chinese Handcuffs. Copyright © by Chris Crutcher. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.
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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 46 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(18)

4 Star

(19)

3 Star

(3)

2 Star

(4)

1 Star

(2)

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 47 Customer Reviews
  • Posted December 4, 2011

    This book is great, definately worth reading!

    I truly enjoyed this book; it kept me reading for hours. I did not want to put it down. Honestly at first I didn't want to read this book, but like I said it turned out to be great. This book really opens up a lot of feelings about how telling your secrets can be helpful and how they can also hurt you. Chinese Handcuffs is about two kids who attend Chief Joseph High and both go or have gone through struggles. First of all there is Dillon Hemmingway whose brother shot himself in front of him and partially blamed it on Dillon. Dillon's family then crumpled apart; due to all the emotional and physical stress of Dillon's brother, and Dillon's mother and sister left. Leaving Dillon and his dad alone to the house where it seemed that they never really talked to him. It actually seemed that Dillon went to Coach Sherman for advice rather than his father. Dillon also tries to help a girl named Jen. Jen experienced and during the story experiences some serious events that completely changed their life. I can't tell you the events that take place because it would easily spoil the story, but Jen is the star of the basketball team and has a "thing" with the team manager, Dillon. Jen actually does tell her secrets to Dillon who really wants to help, but has trouble because he doesn't want to lose Jen's trust. That's all I can tell you without spoiling the story, sorry. On the plus side I'd like to say that Chris Crutcher wrote this story very well and I look forward to reading his other stories. Also on the plus side I would recommend this story to anybody over the age of 12 or 13; due to the content of Chinese Handcuffs. I'd like to thank my English teacher for making this book available to me!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 21, 2010

    Chinese handcuffs

    Chinese Handcuffs is a tremendously good book especially for teenagers in high school. Dillion Hemingway, a typical high school student with a talent of running marathons. Everything is going well until his drug-attict brother desides to commit suicide. As Dillion watches in horror, his brother takes his life before he even gets to really live. On top of this tragedy, the girl Dillion is crazy about is still in love with his dead brother and only sees him as a friend or "brotherly" figure. Dillion doesn't have much of a home life since his parents are divoriced and his dad is always working. Dillion has only one person to turn to. His best friend Jennifer. Jen is the star of the varsity basketball team, smart, and pretty, but Dillion still doesn't quite want to see Jen as anything more than a friend. As perfect as jen seems she also has problems of her own. I would recommend this book to all of my friends and even some adults looking for a great book. This story made me realize how real life could be. I learned how i should take situations more seriously and treat people the way they trully deserve to be treated. This book is powerful and could also be life-changing to some individuals.I am looking forward to reading other books by Chris Crutcher.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted February 5, 2012

    Review

    Chinese Handcuffs was a book that I probably wouldn’t have picked up own my own, because of the overall unhappy story. It dealt with issues like drugs, rape, and suicide. Dillon, the main character, witnessed his brother kill himself, and is living with that guilt as well as the memories of the events to follow. Jennifer, his friend, has a big secret of her own, but is afraid to tell anyone because it will put her family and the people she loves at risk. Overall, Chinese Handcuffs was a book that I might recommend. The plot kept you guessing, but the ending still left some unanswered questions.

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  • Posted February 5, 2012

    Absolutely Recommended!

    Chris Crutcher hit a home run with this book! It keeps you intrigued throughout the story! Although some parts were a-bit graphic and sad, it was still a really good book! Take it from me! My English teacher gave my class this book to read, and I wasn't too thrilled about reading it. After the first page I thought that the book was going to be stupid and only filled with letters. Turns out, it's better than what is on the first page! I definitely recommend this book to teenagers and adults!

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  • Posted February 5, 2012

    I would recommend this book

    I actually only read this book because my English teacher assigned it. At first I hated it, just because I usually hate every book that the school makes me read. Once I got into it though, I realized that this book was not quite as bad as I thought. It talks about issues that occur in the real world; issues that some people can relate to. Although in this case that's not really a good thing. I suggest that if you are looking for a good book to read on your time off, that you check out Chinese Handcuffs by Chris Crutcher.

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  • Posted February 5, 2012

    Loved it! I recommend this book to all teenagers!

    This book was an eye-opener! It showed struggles in life for everyday teenagers ,drugs, sucide and rape. The characters Dillion, Jen,and Stacy show how you can change your life around even if there is a no hope. This book illustrtes there's hope in life, and it can be changed.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 5, 2012

    Great Book - an enthralling story

    Chinese Handcuffs may not be the most well known book in existence, but it’s truly a great read. Keep in mind it’s only for mature readers. The story revolves around a boy who has to face difficult obstacles involving the people he loves. Real world problems like suicide, abuse, and pregnancy are addressed, and each character in the book handle their issue differently. The characters are highly relatable and realistic, and the plotline will cause smiles and tears. This isn’t a happy bedtime read, but it is an enthralling page-turner that is not easy to put down.

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  • Posted February 5, 2012

    Loved it! I recommend this book to all teenagers!

    Chinese Handcuffs, written by Chris Crutcher was an eye-opener! It showed struggles in life for everyday teenagers ,drugs, sucide and rape. The characters Dillion, Jen,and Stacy show how you can change your life around in life's troubles. This book illustrtes there's hope in life, and it can be changed.

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  • Posted February 5, 2012

    Truly a Good Read

    The novel Chinese Handcuffs, by Christopher Crutcher, is truly a good novel. The plot of this novel grabs your attention and creates intrigue, to the point where it is just impossible to put the book down. However, the plot does have a darker side. It includes many sensitive topics such as sexual abuse and suicide. Although this book is in fact very sensitive in nature, it is still able to make a very good book, even though it may not be a very ‘fun’ book. This is definitely a book aimed towards a more mature audience.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 5, 2012

    Highly Recommended

    This book was incredibly interesting. At first, it was hard to get attached to because it dealt with some sensitive topics that were explained in much detail, but once you learned the characters, you absolutely loved and felt them. These characters dealt with rape, suicide, and so much more. After reading this heart felt book,I was truly grateful that I do not live a life like these teenagers. It also made me realize that anyone around me could be living a live as bad a s going home to a rapists every night, or thinking that they were the one who drove their brother to his death. This book will make you laugh,cry,and make you realize that nobody has it as easy as it looks. I highly recommend reading this wonderful story!

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  • Posted February 5, 2012

    Chinese Handcuffs review

    Chinese Handcuffs was a story about a teenage boy who was forced to watch his

    brother commit suicide when he was younger. One of his friends had to go on with the

    rest of her life knowing she was unable to protect herself and her younger sister from

    her father. Her father would come into her room every night and rape her. The story is

    about how they are coping with the horrible situations. Overall, the book, Chinese

    Handcuffs was a page turner. Once you start reading a chapter or two, its hard to put

    the book down. The piece of writing was well written and interesting to read , although I

    would not recommend it for younger people. This is a book for young adults. Some of

    the events were inappropriate for younger kids and teens.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 5, 2012

    Highly recommended for the young adult!

    Overall, I loved the book Chinese Handcuffs. It does not seem like a kind of book I would read if it was not for an English assignment. It is a very realistic story that I could not put down. I would highly recommend it for a young adult, as it is mainly about relatable struggles that a teenager may face. One thing that disappointed me about the book was that the story line was so interesting, and the ending was not. I expected a surprising ending, but it did not occur and I thought that it did not provide enough closure. Besides this, I absolutely loved the book and how exciting the story line was!

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  • Posted February 4, 2012

    Great Story - it's a page turner!

    I would give the Chinese Handcuffs by Chris Crutcher a nine out of ten. It had great suspense and was a page turner, especially towards the last few chapters. Dillon is a marvelous character and it was great to see his life and way of thinking change throughout the story.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 3, 2012

    Highly Recommended Book!

    Chinese Handcuffs has to be one of the most thrilling books I have read in a long time. Dillon Hemmingway is not your average 16 year old. He's smart, caring, and athletic. But he refuses to use any part of his athleticism towards his school teams. Instead he participates in triathlons. As smart as Dillon is he has a hard time making out why his brother committed suicide. And why Jennifer Lawless is having such a hard time accepting him as more than a friend. To help him cope with the emotional details, Dillon turns to a journal where he writes letters to a brother that is dead and gone. In time, he comes to understand that he and Jennifer have more than sports in common. By the end of the book Stacy, Preston's girlfriend and Jennifer become the best of friends. Chinese Handcuffs tells the story of fear, isolation, and hopelessness. But with one brave step at a time, you will never want to put this book down.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 3, 2012

    Check it out!

    The Book, Chinese Handcuffs, by Chris Crutcher is a very good book. The way that Crutcher writes keeps your attention throughout the entire story. His style is easy to read and interesting. One of the main reasons I liked this book is because I feel like I was able to get to know the characters by the way that Crutcher explained them and the events that occurred. I also liked this book because he went back and forth between two different stories, but they were related in a way. It was about a boy, named Dillon, and a girl named Jennifer, who both attends high school. Dillon is going through a really tough time. A tragic event occurred in his life and he does not know exactly how to cope with it. His best friend Jennifer is also going through a hard time. Jen tells Dillon her biggest secret and after hearing that, Dillon knows that he has to help her. He finds out a little later that he has stronger feelings for Jen, but given her secret, it is hard for him to act on them. The book was constantly flipping from Dillon’s story and Jen’s Story. It was disturbing at times and very sad, but in the end it all paid off. I highly recommend this book to anyone, especially high school students. I really enjoyed reading it!

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  • Posted February 2, 2012

    One of the best books I have ever read!!!!!!

    Dillon Hemmingway, a training triathlete, has to deal with the loss of his brother, the pain of a friend, the lonliness of his father and himself, and every other issue a normal teenager experiences. Ever since Dillon's odler brother, Preston, died Dillion has been confused, lost, and causing trouble. Almost every month he gets suspended, skips school, and almost every day pushes the principal's buttons. Jen, a very close friend of Dillon and star basketball player, has to deal with her step father who hurts and abuses her constantly, her mother who is afraid of her own husband, and on top of that take care of her younger sister. Dillon and Jen stick together most of the time and can open up around one another. However, the two friends hide their issues and deepest secrets from the rest of the world and one another. If you did not truly know these two characters you would think they are some of the happiest people alive, considering they are very good at hiding their pain and secrets, especially Jen. Eventually Dillon and Jen crack and reveal their personal problems to one another. Dillon thinks he has it bad, but compared to what Jen is going through it does not seem all that bad anymore. Dillon tries to help Jen without her knowing to stop her step father from hurting her. Will Jen and Dillon ever have peace and be freed from harm? I really enjoyed reading this book, which always kept me guessing and held my interest. Once I picked up the book, I could never put it down. I would definitely recommend this book to anyone and everyone who is willing to read it! =)

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  • Posted February 2, 2012

    Great Read!

    I’ll have to admit, Chinese Handcuffs is a book I would never have read if it weren’t for my English teacher. So I owe her a thank you because Chinese Handcuffs was one of my favorites to read! It may be extremely detailed in scenes you’re not used to talking or hearing about, but it’s suspenseful and will keep you turning the pages rapidly until the end. The main characters are forced into situations that aren’t the prettiest, but it’s realistic and that’s the best part, no matter how sad or heartbreaking the situations may be. I highly recommend this book to anyone, but especially high school students!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 5, 2011

    Wow!Simply Wow!

    Sixteen year old Dillon Hemmingway has a lot to deal with. His brother, Preston, killed himself last year right in front of Dillon. Not only that, but Pres blamed him for it too! Dillon¿s mother and little sister left, and now it¿s just him and his father who he hardly has what you¿d call an ideal relationship with. He¿s training for the Ironman triathlon, and to top it all off, he¿s walked his way right into the middle of a dirty secret.
    Jennifer Lawless. She¿s the star athlete on the basketball team and boy is she a hit! With both aggression and sensational skill, she¿s gotten her team to the finals. Her pregame state is always there and very focused, but sometimes it¿s even worse; she seems almost not there. But it isn¿t just because of the big game; you see, Jen has a secret too¿ a big one.
    They both have temporary fixes for their pain: Jen plays basketball and Dillon trains for the triathlon, but it always comes back. The entire story you¿ll be on the edge of your seat wondering ¿Will they be able to reach each other before it¿s too late?¿
    Chinese handcuffs is an exceptional novel that I suggest to anyone who¿s up for a good read!

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  • Posted December 4, 2011

    Excellent book- definitely one to read!

    This horribly eventful book starts off with a 16 year old boy, Dillon, who witnesses his brother, Preston, ¿leaving¿ without any warning and whose mother and sister left him as a child. Dillon later comes to learn that his brother had left something with its whole life ahead of it behind, along with a girl whom both brothers liked but one more than the other. Dillon also has an attraction towards Jennifer, the best basketball player on the school team whom Dillon was manager of, who has been sexually abused by her father and later step father and is afraid it may happen to her younger siblings as well if it hasn¿t already. Over time Jennifer¿s step father appears to be ¿untouchable¿ as both she and Dillon try to figure out ways to stop him as Jennifer has before but never succeeded for the consequences she could have suffered were severe to her and her family. On an important night something you may have expected to later happen does for an overpowering of thoughts had taken over. I believe the author¿s message may have been about helping your loved ones in the worst of times even when they think it may not be possible to find a loop hole or another way around the obstacle. This is definitely a valuable book for other people to read because if the events that happened to Dillon and Jennifer in the book happened to another person it may be easy to connect with and let them know that they¿re not the only ones out there that this has happened to. I will personally take away the fact that there are horrible events like this happening every day in the world and more people should help one another to try and solve another friends or family friend¿s situation in hopes that your help or understanding of the situation will help them too.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 2, 2011

    Highly Recommended- Amazing!

    Chinese Handcuffs by Chris Crutcher is an amazing story about healing and overcoming emotional trauma. Well written and easy to read, Chinese Handcuffs is the perfect book for high school students who think they have it tough. For anyone who does not enjoy reading, you will have a hard time putting this book down. Chris Crutcher uses real life situations to relate Chinese Handcuffs to the average teenage life. Crutcher uses remarkable word choice to show emotion throughout the book.
    Dillon Hemmingway was a typical high school kid; that was until his drug addicted brother, Preston, committed suicide in front of him. On top of that, Dillon is in love with his dead brother¿s girlfriend who will never see Dillon as anything more than a close friend. He turns to a friend he is extremely attracted to, Jennifer Lawless. Smart, pretty, and the star of their school¿s basketball team, Jen and Dillon have lots of chemistry together. But Jen is not as perfect as she seems to everyone; she has a big secret she has been hiding. For years Jen has been sexually abused by first her father and then her step father. At first she is not sure is she can trust Dillon, let alone have a relationship with him, but as the story progresses you see how perfect the two are for each other. Can Dillon help Jen with her step father? Will Jen and Dillon end up together? I guess you will have to keep reading to figure out.
    I would recommend Chinese Handcuffs to anyone who is ready for the emotional rollercoaster it will take you on. Once you have finished the book, you will walk away with a new, in sighting view. This book made realize how life could be and made me appreciate the life I have.

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