July 17, 1946
Chris Crutcher “possesses a novelist's greatest asset: an ability to create people who are real and believable and about whom the reader can care deeply,” reviewer Nancy Vasilakis said.
Christopher C. Crutcher, the son of a county clerk, received a bachelor of arts degree from Eastern Washington State College (now University) in 1968. Crutcher has taught high school, directed a community mental health center, and worked as a mental health therapist. He also directed Lakeside, an alternative school in Oakland, California, an area that has a high crime rate.
Crutcher said his experiences with young people, many of them suffering from stress and emotional problems, prompted him to begin writing fiction. His protagonists face physical and sexual abuse and the loss of family members. Crutcher is an avid athlete, and his heroes often find an outlet in sports.
“Crutcher's background as a family therapist comes out on nearly every page here,” Kirkus Reviews stated of Iron Man.
“People always want us to be adults rather than become adults,” Crutcher told Thomas Kozikowski. “Everybody wants the finished product, and nobody wants to look at how it's made.”
That is the problem facing Louie Banks, the hero of Running Loose, who gets along well with his parents, has a girlfriend named Becky, and is on the starting squad for the school football team. When he refuses the coach's order to try to injure a black quarterback on a rival team, he is thrown off the squad. Schoolmates and townspeople do not understand his situation—or they believe the coach's version.