Title: Dear Life, You Suck I Author: Scott Blagden I Publisher: Houghton-Mifflin Harcourt
Young Adult literature is defined by the American Library Association as fiction that would be appropriate for children between the ages of 12 to 18. A branch of the American Library Association known as the Young Adult Library Services Association (YALSA) offers the following synopsis for Dear Life, You Suck:
Cricket's life is wrought with pain and his future looks bleak. Should he become a professional fighter, a drug dealer, or just end it all?
Actual Plot Summary: Cricket Cherpin is a seventeen year old boy who was taken from his abusive, drug addicted parents by social workers and then rescued by social workers from his sexually abusive, prostituting, crack addicted foster mother when he was around eight years old. He has been living at the Naskeag House of Redemption ever since. The home is an orphanage run by the Catholic Church. (That's right. The Catholic Church…so buckle up, buttercup. We're in for a bumpy ride.)
According to administrators at his high school, Cricket is a danger to himself and others…although, he continues to be received back into the school when he has completed his numerous suspensions. He often exhibits remarkably violent behaviors that land him in the principal's office, and as the story begins he is being suspended once again for fighting.
Mother Mary is Cricket's guardian. She cares for 45 boys of various ages with the youngest being in grade school. Cricket is the oldest child at the orphanage and a senior in high school. When he turns 18, he will no longer be able to stay at the orphanage and he isn't sure what his next step will be.
Considering the malicious defamations that Cricket habitually hurls at Mother Mary and the other nuns who have fed, clothed, nurtured and mothered him, his emancipation should come as a relief, but apparently it does not. One minor oversight on the part of the author…it's never spelled out to the target readers of this novel who are children between the ages of fifteen and seventeen (Lord help us), but Cricket's abusive behavior toward the nuns is a form of transference for the rage he feels over his parents and the "crack whore" that was his foster mother. That transference results in some of the most heinous, wicked verbal abuse that I have ever read in my 40+ years on this planet.
His best friend (Grubs) is a drug dealer. Cricket is an enforcer and collects payments for Grubs from his underage clientele because Grubs doesn't feel right about roughing up kids. Cricket does this in return for free drugs and booze. Grubs has offered to cut Cricket in on the business if he is interested. Cricket is considering the offer.
Mr. Cockburn (Caretaker) works at the orphanage. He has been giving Cricket boxing lessons in order to defend himself against a student nicknamed Pitbull. Pitbull bullies the younger orphans at the school and is threatening to beat down Cricket. Caretaker believes Cricket shows enough boxing talent to become a prizefighter. He suggests that Cricket might take up professional boxing. Cricket immediately rejects that idea because it goes against his strict code of ethics about fighting without provocation.
One of Cricket's teachers believes Cricket to be a talented writer and encourages Cricket to go to college. Says she, his writing is spontaneous, original and honest.
Mother Mary sees that Cricket is struggling with what to do next and encourages him to think about college or perhaps to enroll in a seminary…proving to Cricket once and for all that Mother Mary supervises a "heartless cult of frigid nuns."
As Cricket works through hard decisions about his future, his antisocial behavior, his disbelief in and simultaneous hatred for God, along with the pain over the death of his brother and his disturbing childhood, everything comes to a head when Pitbull picks a fight with him and Cricket beats Pitbull to a bloody pulp. Cricket is suspended from school and becomes increasingly suicidal, but his world changes when Pitbull's girlfriend starts showing a romantic interest in him.
This young adult book has earned a Mature Content rating for extreme language, graphic violence, extreme drug usage, extreme alcohol usage, aberrant behaviors and socially inappropriate humor. It receives two stars for story development.
Review : Wow. Dear Life, You Suck… Let me count the ways. Take away the nearly 500 uses of profanity, the numerous detailed discussions of male arousal, the fierce and unrelenting misogyny, the pathological drug and alcohol use, the profane and savage mockery of Catholic teachings and Catholic nuns and Catholic priests and Christ and God and the Beatitudes and…I can't even describe to you the pure evil that the author wrote about the Blessed Virgin without putting my own immortal soul in danger because it's literally – quite literally, breathtakingly wicked…and the all-out sociopathy associated with nearly every chapter in this book –
– and you are still left with a less than mediocre story. I just don't know how else to say it. It's an ungodly shame. It literally makes me heartsick to see the waste of potential here because there are genuine moments of brilliance that could have and should have been teased out to make what ought to have been a great story and that just didn't happen. I guess that's what you get when editors rely on spontaneous, original and honest writing without pushing it to the next level. Lesson learned. Spontaneous, original and honest are not synonymous with well written.
Sadly, the author was too taken with the sound of his own irreverence to notice that he was mostly as tedious as hell. So important was it for the author to be received well by the mental midgets of academia that he opted to write a book rather than a story. And received well, he certainly has been because there is nothing that the liberal academic establishment likes better than the brutal rape of innocence. Scott Blagden certainly served that up with a side of fries.
Blagden could have taken a ream of paper and crapped on it, and so long as he made sure to defame Christians in the process, he would have received accolades for his stunning brilliance. What they recognize as literary bravery, what they see as pushing boundaries is really artistic cowardice because he hasn't done anything but be a good little boy and preach to the progressive choir.
I am not going to bother with details because the thought of dissecting this book is macabre. There is no way that any rational adult could consider this book to be appropriate for children of any age. It's profane. It's malevolent. It's disgusting. Period. Not for kids. And the complete lack of maturity displayed throughout the pages would quickly wear on the nerves of any adult other than maybe Will Ferrell, so all-in-all, the novel can only be recommended for those academics who have already indicated their preference for submerging themselves in their own raw sewage.
The question that then must be asked is: where were the publishers in all of this mess? They must have recognized the potential hidden within the inanity, or they wouldn't have considered publishing it to begin with. Seriously, does it take too much effort for the powers that be at Houghton Mifflin to do their ever loving jobs?
No. Hear me out. Repetitive? So mind-numbingly repetitive. This writer must be intellectually incapable of understanding when the gag is over. Like this…Cricket has a real hate-on for his guardian, Mother Mary. So he calls her names. In no more than three pages of text, the reader is treated to:
Mother Mary Mafia, Mother Mary Mushroom, Mother Mary Mushroom Cloud, Mother Mary Mario, Mother Mary Mockery, Mother Mary Mad-as-Hell, Mother Mary Monument…
…but the riff just keeps coming. Over and over and over, through the whole blasted book, like it's the last irony on the planet and it has to be played for all it's worth. It's like reading a story written by the flipping Rain Man. It's like…oh, dear lord. We get it. The joke has been delivered. Move on.
Allow me to redirect. It's entirely non sequitur, I apologize. The influence that American Library Association wields begins with their ability to reward garbage which then begets more garbage; this we understand. How it starts is a no brainer, but where does their power end?
Why, I'm so glad you asked.
Label a book YA, and you all but guarantee that it will only be read by children and the academics that wish to humiliate their innocence. The way to end the Left's sovereignty over our children's minds is to tear open the festering cesspool of liberal hegemony and expose it to the light of truth. What we have here is a book club of sorts because if you read this list of "best of" literature along with me, we whittle away at their authority over the formation of young minds. They are counting on the fact that you are not reading these stories in the exact same way that a child molester counts in a lack of parental awareness.
Now, I cannot recommend you read this particular book because I am Catholic…I'm really not an expert, but I worry that Dear Life, You Suck may very well represent a blasphemy against the Holy Spirit and this is considered the gravest of evils per Catholic teachings, so I not only do not and cannot endorse reading this, but I would ask specifically that you do not.
But beyond Dear Life, You Suck, it is time for parents to take back education. It is time for conservatives to take back literature and make it something that lifts and inspires the human spirit rather than debase it. I can tell you that these books are trash, but only you can decide that for yourself.
I guarantee that the ALA doesn't want you knowing about the garbage that they celebrate. Let the joke be on them. Bear witness to their debauchery and in doing so; pull your children back from the jaws of despair because I promise you this. Once you read it for yourself, you will not be able to rest until the ALA is reformed.