Give a Boy a Gun and Can’t Get There From Here: Reading Todd Strasser

I’ve ended up reading a lot of Todd Strasser through Tweens Read Too and RealityLapse. These were two books that came highly recommended from him, so I decided to try them. I was really excited when I first heard about both GIVE A BOY A GUN and CAN’T GET THERE FROM HERE.

GIVE A BOY A GUN is about two boys named Brendan and Gary. This book is NOT FICTION. This isn’t even a story. It’s a collection of comments, stories from others, emails, texts and things that happened leading up to the incident at Middleton High School. Years of tormenting turns out to be enough and the two of them just decide to let go. But they do so by holding their fellow classmates hostage at a school dance by opening fire on them with a small collection of guns stolen from a neighbor.

CAN’T GET THERE FROM HERE is mostly about two girls named Tears and Maybe. Both of them live on the streets with a small tribe of homeless kids. As people begin disappearing off the streets, dying from exposure, violence and addiction, Maybe makes a plan to get Tears off of the streets.

I don’t know if this is just me, but for some reason, CAN’T GET THERE FROM HERE hit me a lot harder than GIVE A BOY A GUN. The reason for that, I think, is it was written in a fiction format. If GIVE A BOY A GUN had been a fiction story, told in a way that I could completely sympathize with the main characters, I think it would’ve made a deeper impact on me.

I’m not saying the book didn’t make me feel anything, I’m simply saying that it would’ve had more effect had it been written a certain way.

As for CAN’T GET THERE FROM HERE, I thought this was a really great story that was both heartbreaking and heartwarming, but I wished for a little bit more in the end. I was glad at how everything turned out, and I found that I really liked both Tears and Maybe. I also felt for a lot of the other characters, which deepened the book’s impact on me. All in all, two good stories–but CAN’T GET THERE FROM HERE was the better one in my opinion this time.

Descriptions taken from Goodreads.

pg count for CAN’T GET THERE FROM HERE (p):208

pg count for GIVE A BOY A GUN (p): 208

 

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