Chinese Handcuffs is all about making mistakes then picking up the pieces. After Dillion’s brother Preston tragically commits suicide Dillion has to deal with all of his consequences and some of his own as well. Dillion first hand saw when his brother killed himself, so even two years later he still taunts himself with the “what if” questions. While Preston was still alive a girl named Stacy was completely head over heels for him, but while Stacy eyes were only for Preston, Dillion could never keep his eyes off Stacy. Now that Preston is gone Dillion falls hard for yet another girl, Jeniffer Lawless.
Jen is a hardcore basketball player, the best there is. But what no one knows is that she works so hard in basketball to escape the reality that awaits her at home. It comes late at night, when her mom is not home, and creeps into her bedroom. She realizes very soon that she can never tell anyone about these late night visits because in doing so will only make increase the problems for her and her family. She eventually ends up confesses her problem to Dillion, and without her knowing he fixes everything he can. What he will never be able to fix though, is her emotional scars from what happened.
With everyone still suffering from Preston’s death many problems arise, and it seems that the harder they try to fix them the worse the circumstances become. Thus, the title “Chinese Handcuffs.” I found this book to be extremely helpful and something I will commonly refer to in my life. It captures all of the horrific topics that teenagers, or really anyone could face. This includes drugs, revenge, sexual abuse, parental neglectance, and early parenting. All though through this book not all of the problems are completely solved, but they are confronted with personal strength and knowing when you need to ask for help. The big moral from this life changing story was that everyone makes mistakes, but what makes you a better person opposed to those who don’t is when you apologize. This is one of Chris Cruthcher’s best, and a novel that everyone should read.
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Chinese Handcuffs by Chris Crutcher is an intense book. The main character, Dillon Hemingway, has a pretty messed up life going on. First of all he has an older brother named Preston. Those two brothers had some crazy times. After one of the incidents he and his brother went through they totally regretted what they had done. Preston makes some dumb decisions of doing drugs and joining a gang. He ends up committing suicide by shooting himself in the head and his brother right there watching. Then there is Jennifer Lawless, the star girl basketball player of the school. She has gone through some pretty tough times. Jen has a huge secret that she won’t tell anyone because she is afraid of the results if people figured out. Also there is Stacy Ryder, the love of Dillon and Preston’s life. The day before Preston kills himself she tells him something and then she thinks its part her fault why he committed suicide. She is part of the twist in the story.
I really enjoyed this book because I love reading books when you want to keep reading to see what is next. For example, I liked the flashbacks of Jen’s past life and the figurative language. The similes helped express the characters emotions more to really see how they were feeling.
The message that I got from the novel is that anything that traumatizes you, you can eventually get over it with help if you need it. I think this message can really help people maybe if they are going through a time like Dillon or if there life is close to how his is; it could be good advice.
This book showed me that I should be grateful for what I have. Some people really do have a life where their parents don’t care or they have made some bad decisions like Preston.
“I’m still mad at you, Dillon. But at least I know why you did it.” I thought this quote was strong because it shows how she feels. She was so mad at him, but the quote to me shows that she is now relieved that he is gone. It really shows that Dillon did the right thing even though she did not want him to help. This is one of the powerful situations in the book so if you want to know more read it. It is an amazing book.
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tree_hugger123, September 15, 2009 (view all comments by tree_hugger123)
Chinese Handcuffs by Chris Crutcher is a truly amazing novel. The main character, Dillion Hemingway, goes through many life changing experiences and learns so much throughout the story. Starting off with an intense beginning, Dillion’s older brother, Preston Hemingway, lost his legs in a horrible motorcycle accident and got involved with the crowd and unfortunately ended up shooting himself in the head. Throughout the story, Dillion writes numerous letters to Preston explaining his life and people he encounters. He explains about Stacy, who Dillion was in love with even though she loved Preston, and Jen, who is the best basketball player in the state and gets molested by her stepfather. After learning about Jen’s dark secret with her stepdad, Dillion does everything he possible can help save her while saving himself too.
I really enjoyed reading this book and thought it had many strengths. For example, I loved the descriptions of the characters and how real the author made them seem. I also liked the figurative language the author used, such as similes explaining the character’s emotions. The letters and flashbacks added variety to the story and gave us different perspectives, which was very nice.
The message of this novel is that you need to overcome emotional trauma in your life and grow stronger from it. I believe this moral is very valuable for any reader and they should be able to relate to it also.
After reading this novel, I realized that my life isn’t that bad compared to others around me that I have known for a long time and that you shouldn’t take your life for granted. You should live life to the fullest and not make any stupid mistakes. Also, you should really listen to your friends and take their problems seriously and try to help them out the best you can.
“There’s a lot to consider. I have never loved and hated anyone at the same time and so ferociously as I do you for what you did. My emotions churn inside me like a hurricane, and when it’s at its worst, I can only lay back and let them take me away. I miss you, Pres. I don’t miss the drugs and the craziness of the end, but I miss the real you from back before,” is what Dillion wrote to Preston in one of his letters. This shows how powerful some of their situations are in the book, and it can only get worse before it gets better. Read the book to find out what happens.
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