The Sledding Hill [NOOK Book]

Overview

Billy Bartholomew has an audacious soul, and he knows it. Why? Because it's all he has left. He's dead.

Eddie Proffit has an equally audacious soul, but he doesn't know it. He's still alive.

These days, Billy and Eddie meet on the sledding hill, where they used to spend countless hours -- until Billy kicked a stack of Sheetrock over on himself, breaking his neck and effectively hitting tilt on his Earthgame. The two were inseparable friends. ...

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The Sledding Hill

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Overview

Billy Bartholomew has an audacious soul, and he knows it. Why? Because it's all he has left. He's dead.

Eddie Proffit has an equally audacious soul, but he doesn't know it. He's still alive.

These days, Billy and Eddie meet on the sledding hill, where they used to spend countless hours -- until Billy kicked a stack of Sheetrock over on himself, breaking his neck and effectively hitting tilt on his Earthgame. The two were inseparable friends. They still are. And Billy is not about to let a little thing like death stop him from hanging in there with Eddie in his epic struggle to get his life back on track.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Crutcher takes the fad in authorial intrusion one better, inserting himself as a character in this metafictional novel with a heavy-handed message, a schizophrenic presentation and a highly entertaining plot. Eddie Proffit is the very definition of a sympathetic character, losing his Dad and best friend to violent accidents in the opening pages. His story is narrated in Lovely Bones-esque fashion by the dead friend, Billy, who, if not in Heaven, is in a very good place-free of pain and full of neat tricks to employ during his ghostly mission to help Eddie overcome sadness so deep he has stopped speaking. The exploration of death and of being silenced by grief takes a hairpin turn when book banning-a very different type of silencing-becomes the focus of the novel's second half. Eddie's elective mutism has his mother's minister, the villainous Sanford Tarter, convinced he needs to be baptized. Tarter also teaches English at the high school, but Eddie is enrolled in a class called Really Modern Literature, run by a librarian who prefers "books by authors who are still alive." She requires everyone read Warren Peece by the "relatively obscure" author Chris Crutcher. Naturally, this "good book with bad words" exercises Tarter, who incites a crusade to rid the library of all Crutcher's "irrelevant and only marginally well written" books. Plausibility is pushed aside for entertainment and moralizing-Billy's father loses his job as school janitor for reading the book aloud to students in the boiler room, a student comes out as gay at the public hearing, another admits openly that she cuts herself-but Eddie's cause, and his decision to speak out, is so honorable, these lapses are easily overlooked. The title - an allusion to a favorite spot the two friends enjoyed when both were alive-doesn't work but, despite its flaws, the story does. Ages 12-up. (May) Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
KLIATT
Another dead narrator! Billy Bartholomew dies when he is crushed in an accident. After death, he lingers in familiar places because of his concern for his best friend Eddie, who also is grieving for his own father. Billy makes himself known to Eddie and tries to get him through an impossibly difficult time in his life. Eddie's mother, also devastated by the death of her husband, has retreated to the fundamentalist church led by the Reverend Tartar. Eddie has the support of Billy's father, who is the janitor in their high school. Everything comes to a head when the religious right tackles the choice of a novel an English teacher requires. Billy's father gets fired for being on the side of the teacher. At this point, the story becomes rather didactic about why teenagers should be free to read about lonely, distressed teenage characters. Chris Crutcher himself appears as a character in his own story. The way Eddie manipulates the situation, pretending to be ready for baptism in Rev. Tartar's church just as he is plotting to defy the church and defend the novel, is great fun, really, especially since he has the help of his dead friend Billy. Since most of us are caught up in the horrible cultural and political divisions in our country just now, as apparently Crutcher is as well, this is a satisfying catharsis. Librarians and English teachers will appreciate the defense of a student's right to read. However, there may be just one too many long speeches for YA readers to wade through—they can skim, however. And those in communities divided like Eddie's is will really understand the importance of the debate. KLIATT Codes: JS—Recommended for junior and senior high school students.2005, HarperCollins, Greenwillow, 230p., Ages 12 to 18.
—Claire Rosser
From The Critics
Eddie Proffit suffers "a hurricane of calamity" (p. 19) when he first finds his father dead at the family gas station and only two months later finds his best friend, Billy, dead in the school gymnasium. In that moment, Eddie stops speaking. Speaking is the only piece of his life that he can control. When he stops speaking, Eddie begins to listen, really listen, to those around him: Billy reaching out from the dead, Reverend Tarter trying to control his students and censor their experiences, and newfound friends confessing to being alone and afraid. When Eddie begins speaking again at a church service, he has a great deal to say, much to the chagrin of Reverend Tarter. In his first novel for a middle-grades audience, Crutcher masterfully captures the pain of adolescence: surviving death, strained family relationships, and questioning your faith. 2005, Greenwillow Books, 230 pp., Ages young adult.
—Faith H. Wallace
KLIATT - Claire Rosser
To quote the review of the hardcover in KLIATT, May 2005: Another dead narrator! Billy Bartholomew dies when he is crushed in an accident. After death, he lingers in familiar places because of his concern for his best friend Eddie, who also is grieving for his own father. Billy makes himself known to Eddie and tries to get him through an impossibly difficult time in his life. Eddie's mother, also devastated by the death of her husband, has retreated to the fundamentalist church led by the Reverend Tartar. Eddie has the support of Billy's father, who is the janitor in their high school. Everything comes to a head when the religious right tackles the choice of a novel an English teacher requires. Billy's father gets fired for being on the side of the teacher. At this point, the story becomes rather didactic about why teenagers should be free to read about lonely, distressed teenage characters. Chris Crutcher himself appears as a character in his own story. The way Eddie manipulates the situation, pretending to be ready for baptism in Rev. Tartar's church just as he is plotting to defy the church and defend the novel, is great fun, really, especially since he has the help of his dead friend Billy. Since most of us are caught up in the horrible cultural and political divisions in our country just now, as apparently Crutcher is as well, this is a satisfying catharsis. Librarians and English teachers will appreciate the defense of a student's right to read. However, there may be just one too many long speeches for YA readers to wade through—they can skim, however. And those in communities divided like Eddie's is will really understand the importance of the debate.
School Library Journal
Gr 7 Up-This clever, spirited post-modern meta-narrative is a quick read that is bound to be controversial. It has no profanity, sexual acts, drug or alcohol use, or bloody violence but takes dead aim at censors who can't get past counting swear words or the notion of a gay character who is still alive at the end of a book. Eddie Proffit, 14, is a prototypical Crutcher protagonist, a misunderstood teen who in quick succession has lost his father and best friend, Billy, in accidents. And he must deal with Mr. Tartar, who is both a feared English teacher at school and the minister to a flock of Protestant fundamentalists at the Red Brick Church. However, the author's approach to these familiar themes is fresh and fun, beginning when Billy, recently deceased, opts to keep his newly omniscient eye on Eddie, taking advantage of opportune "windows" to communicate, initially scaring Eddie into voluntary mutism but eventually working with him to bring about-the climax of the book. This centers around the use of Crutcher's faux novel, Warren Peece, in class and the community-wide uproar over it. The author's obvious delight in writing himself into the story (complete with e-mail address) does not diminish its effectiveness, though he occasionally gets his religious icons confused. Crutcherisms such as "When something seems mysterious and magical, it's because we don't have enough information" meld neatly with upbeat metaphysical speculation to give teen readers an involving story and plenty to think about.-Joel Shoemaker, Southeast Junior High School, Iowa City, IA Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
Eddie's "high-speed randomness" and habit of blurting outlandish questions at school and church are unappreciated. Within three months, Eddie discovers the bodies of the two most reassuring people in his life: his dad and his best friend Billie. Traumatized, lonely and scared, Eddie elects the safety of mutism. In death, Billie continues to watch over Eddie. Unnerved by this haunting, Eddie turns to the refuge of conservative religion. When his fundamentalist minister tries to enlist Eddie in a crusade to ban a novel from the school, Eddie emails the author requesting a letter to be read at the school board hearing. Enter Crutcher as the author of the banned book . . . a character in his own story. This sly conceit works for Crutcher who disarmingly pokes fun at himself. Weaving together Eddie's personal survival and his losing battle against censorship, this succeeds by limning its polemics with artful humor. This oft-censored author entertains, inspires, invites intellectual inquiry and concedes well-meaning motives to both sides . . . a lot to pack into a novel, but when did Crutcher ever pack light? (Fiction. 12-16)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780061968495
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Publication date: 9/22/2009
  • Sold by: HARPERCOLLINS
  • Format: eBook
  • Pages: 256
  • Sales rank: 574,765
  • Age range: 13 years
  • File size: 419 KB

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 protection 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

The Sledding Hill


By Chris Crutcher

HarperCollins Publishers, Inc.

Copyright © 2006 Chris Crutcher
All right reserved.

ISBN: 0060502436

Chapter One

Death Does Not Take a Holiday

When we were in grade school most kids thought Eddie Proffit was stupid because he would ask questions no one else would think of. It's human nature to think if you weren't the person to think of something, it must be dumb. But Eddie knows things.

I was Billy Bartholomew, smartest kid in class; arguably smartest in school, which was supposed to be a minor miracle because my father is the school janitor. It is also human nature to define a person by his or her job, which is a mistake when it comes to my dad. He doesn't have a huge drive to get rich, so he's considered ordinary. At any rate, I was supposed to grow up and rattle the world, and Eddie was supposed to grow up and run his father's gas station. Everyone thought our friendship was odd; what was a smart kid like me doing hanging out with a kid with an IQ short of triple digits? Truth is, Eddie's IQ turned out to be off the charts. His mind bounces from one thing to the other pretty much however it wants, though, and long before he should be finishing up one thought, he's on to something else. Eddie doesn't come to very many conclusions.

In fifth grade, when my dad discovered Eddie scored sixty-five on his IQ test, he asked Eddie what happened, becauseDad knew that couldn't be right.

"I was answering the questions," Eddie said, "and then I started seeing what a neat pattern I was making filling in those little ovals, and before I knew it I was making neater and neater patterns."

"You weren't even reading the questions?"

"I wasn't even keeping it to one answer per row," Eddie told him. "Did you see my answer sheet? It looks way cool."

So my dad went to the principal, who was about to put Eddie in special ed for every class but PE, and told her she can't do that. "He scored a sixty-five," my dad said, "without reading the questions."

The principal was all into protocol and all out of taking advice from the school janitor and wouldn't let Eddie retake the test. But Dad had a key to every room and file drawer in school, so he found a test, took Eddie to the furnace room, and had him answer the questions five at a time. Eddie added almost a hundred points to his IQ that afternoon. When the principal told Dad he was out of line, Dad took the test over to the Chevron station to bring Eddie's dad up to speed.

Eddie didn't attend any special ed classes.

The principal went ahead and recorded the sixty-five IQ on his permanent record anyway and no one knew the story of the second test, so it was generally thought I did Eddie's homework for him when he started to get good grades. I didn't do one of his assignments. He would go to the furnace room for an hour and a half after school every day, and my dad would break up his homework with little jobs to keep him focused, and Eddie did great. But he continued to ask strange questions and challenge teachers when they said something he thought couldn't be true, and he was pretty much considered a pain in the neck.

Eddie and I used to run everywhere. We'd been winning the annual Fourth of July races as long as we could remember and had decided when we got into high school we'd be the heart of a stellar cross-country team. We were both too skinny to play football, and in a high school this small it is not considered cool to go sportless, so cross-country was it.

So it's early summer, five days after Eddie's fourteenth birthday, and he's getting ready to bike out to the hot springs with me to spend the afternoon swimming and rolling in the warm mud. Eddie's been working four hours a day, eight to noon, at his dad's service station, the last full-service gas station in the solar system, to hear Mr. Proffit tell it. It may not be the last one in the solar system, but it's definitely the last in Bear Creek, population 3,065, situated high in the Idaho panhandle, a few miles from the Canadian border. Anyway, Eddie has been helping his dad fix truck tires all morning and is ready to hit the warm water.

Bear Creek is a mess. Duffy Reed Construction has been hired to widen Main Street. They've got the pavement dug out from city limit to city limit along with another two feet of dirt below that, so if you step off the sidewalk without looking you could take a serious header. Proffit's Chevron, which Eddie's dad used to call Non-Proffit's Chevron, is the only place in town that fixes truck and heavy-equipment tires, and Mr. Proffit has been doing just that twelve hours a day -- four hours with Eddie's help and eight by himself -- to keep up with Duffy Reed's sharp-rock punctures.

He's got it down to a science. Air up four tires at a time to find the leaks, let the air out, break them down, remove the tubes if they have them, patch them, throw them back together, air them up, and roll them to the rack out back so the next driver with a flat can replace it with a repaired one and roar out in under six minutes. Four at a time. John Proffit's a tire-fixin' fool.

That day Eddie's dad stops only once to have lunch with Eddie's mom -- her name is Evelyn -- and he's back to fixing tires, somewhat disgruntled and distracted because he got chicken salad instead of tuna, and he forgets to let the air out of one of the tires before breaking it down.

Eddie's mom catches Eddie and me just as we're about to head out to the hot springs, and she gives Eddie a monster hunk of chocolate cake and some milk in a thermos to take to his dad.

Continues...


Excerpted from The Sledding Hill by Chris Crutcher Copyright © 2006 by Chris Crutcher. Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 12 )
Rating Distribution

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(8)

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Sort by: Showing 1 – 11 of 12 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 10, 2013

    Realistic and Honest Exactly what kids need...

    Realistic and Honest
    Exactly what kids need...

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 17, 2013

    To blacktail

    Goto next res

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 20, 2011

    The Sledding Hill

    If you liked Deadline by Chris Crutcher then you'll love The Sledding Hill. This is of the most amazing books I have ever read. This book is about a kid named Bill Bartholomew who died and how it affects his best friend Eddie profit. Billy unfortunately dies when going down the sledding hill. This is one of the most jaw dropping books I have ever read. The book tells Eddie Profits life through Billy Bartholomew. I got drawn to this book because Chris Crutcher wrote it. When I grabbed this book at the top it asked a question "If Billy Bartholomew is dead, what is he doing on the sledding hill? I wanted to know what was happening. Chris Crutcher is one of the best authors. He uses many surprising moments. I never expected for a story where a dead character is the narratot. This is one of the best books I have ever read.

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  • Posted May 16, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    Chris Crutcher

    I have to say this book made me laugh. Not because it was funny, but because I had to give props to the author. I mean this book was just a giant promotion for Chris's work. Having yourself as a character in a non-autobiographical novel and then bashing your character? Bold indeed. Anyway, for a novel about censorship and a dead narrator, I thought it lacked depth. It read too quickly, and the reader never really connected with the characters. I expected concepts that I never heard of and that made me think, but instead it was the same old, same old. Overall, it was an okay read. After all, wasn't the whole point of the novel that any book that keeps kids interested worth reading?

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 26, 2009

    the sledding hill review

    The book "the sledding hill "is written by Chris Crutcher. The genre of this book is fiction. The plot of the story is that Eddies loved ones are dying and he can't deal with it. Eddies mom enrolls him in Sunday school at the church. Eddie gets in trouble at Sunday school because he asks questions about the story the teacher tells. In Eddies English class they start reading a book called Warren Peece. Eddie likes and finds hope in the book, but one of the teachers doesn't like it so the book is removed from the school. Eddie testifies the books removal at the church, but the church misinterprets Eddie and sends him to a mental hospital because they think that Eddie thinks he is Jesus. The main theme in this book is that Eddie needs to get his life back on track after his dad and best friend die. Eddies dad dies by a truck tire pops on his head when he is filling it up. The main characters are Billy Bartholomew and Eddie Profitt. Billy is Eddie's best friend and he is also the narrator. Billy dies by kicking sheetrock onto himself accidentally. Eddie is the troubled kid who can't do things right. Eddie is going through a hard time in life because his dad and friend died. The major conflict is that loved ones are dying and that Eddie had ADD, Attention defuses disorder. Eddie can not pay attention to any thing for long so he gets in trouble at school and everyone thinks he is dumb. Before Billy and Eddie's dad died he was getting help to do better in school. Eddies dad would work with Eddie every day to help him pay attention better and it was working. Eddie started doing well in school, but when he died Eddie started doing bad again. Writer style is to tell the story by a dead character that narrates the story as a ghost. The view point in this story is first person. Billy is telling the story in his point of view. I think the first person point of view is important because Billy know Eddie so he is able to tell the reader certain thing that couldn't be told with out it. If the view point was changed there probably wouldn't be as much information. The author didn't do a very good job on telling you that Billy was dead and in the life with Eddie. The book said that Billy died so it was weird when it said that when Eddie started asking dumb questions in class that Billy put his hand over his mouth to stop Eddie from continuing. Also it was hard to under stand the religious stories because I don't know them. This was an ok story, not the best I've read. I wouldn't recommend this book because it didn't have my interests. There wasn't very much action or surprise in the story and I like story with that kind of stuff.

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  • Posted November 15, 2008

    more from this reviewer

    Reviewed by Long Nguyen for TeensReadToo.com

    Washington State native and young adult literature veteran Chris Crutcher is no stranger to censorship. Many of his critically acclaimed novels have been persecuted for their content and use of "inappropriate language," as well as the thematically taboo nature of the stories themselves. THE SLEDDING HILL, Crutcher's latest novel, deals with the issue of censorship, and the struggle students, as well as pro-literature advocates, must undergo to ensure the right to read contemporary works. <BR/><BR/>Narrated by the "spirit" of the recently deceased Billy Bartholomew, Billy tells the tale of his best friend Eddie Proffit, who in the course of three months was the first to discover the dead bodies of both his father as well as Billy. Dealing with the trauma of what happened, Eddie decides to stop speaking altogether, sheltering himself from communication with the people around him. With both his father and Billy gone, Eddie is soon pressured by a local church figure to take the plunge into 'salvation' and join the church. But alas! Billy isn't going to let something as trivial as death come between him and his best friend. With the help of Billy (or rather, his spirit?), Eddie is able to cope and come to terms with, in his eyes, what the right thing to do is. <BR/><BR/>In each of Crutcher's novels, it is nearly guaranteed that at least some kind of issue is directly put into discussion and, indeed, THE SLEDDING HILL is a story of the censorship of books read by students in schools. Cleverly written, Crutcher manages to poke fun with his writing by instilling himself as the author of the controversial pseudo-novel Warren Peece (pun very much intended). Full to the absolute brim with important questions and thought-provoking answers, what else would one expect from a Chris Crutcher novel? <BR/><BR/>I personally find any and all of Chris Crutcher's novels incredibly well-written, and very entertaining for the likes of a teenage attention span. The issues tackled are strongly influenced and make good discussion topics as well as a progressive voice for young ears to hear. Anyone who found the heated debates between the uber-conservative Christians and the liberal-minded protagonists from STAYING FAT FOR SARAH BYRNES (an American Library Association Best Book for Young Adults, and highly recommended by yours truly) is sure to appreciate Crutcher's whole-hearted commitment towards all human being's rights to certain freedoms, including the right to read contemporary literature containing modern ideas, no matter how verboten they may sound.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 21, 2008

    Fantasico!!

    I loved this book. I had it as a athour projest in my 8th grade honors english class. It taught me about the theme such as the lessons that books can teach you, that strange people even dead people know more then they let on. I reomed this book to a lot of people these days.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 27, 2006

    Censorship

    I thought that The Sledding Hill was a very interesting book. It talked about censhorship as well as how books can help teens through their struggles. I really enjoyed this book because it reminded me that how you think and what you read should be your choice, not the school's or church's.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 22, 2005

    Crutcher's done better

    This book who's theme is book banning could have gone deeper. The companion theme that deals with death and despair would have evoked more emotion had the author allowed it. I initially was intrigued by the narration of a dead boy, but it soon became non-dramatic. Crutcher uses himself in this book to drive home an almost autobiographical message. The reader would be better served if he used another author in order not to confuse the issues. Crutcher claims in tis book through this method he is not one for revision. In the case of The Sledding Hill it could have stood for some. There are novel issues here, but they needed more meat!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 14, 2010

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted June 26, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

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