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Today’s entrance in #52Stories is “A short Moment in the Life of Angus Bethune” by kris Crutcher, recommended by my buddy James top top Facebook. This 1989 short story was published in a collection called “Athletic Shorts” and also would walk on to be the basis because that a movie adaptation (called Angus), which I think is James’ favourite movie.

You are watching: A brief moment in the life of angus bethune

So what did i think? Let’s get to it!


The Pitch

An unlikely candidate is crowned “Winter round King” and also is identified to make the most of his large moment: a dance v his lifelong crush.

The Payoff

I have mixed feelings around this one. There are elements of the writing that i really liked, and others that took me the end of the moment. Several of the story aspects seemed unnecessary, but on the entirety they don’t really detract native the narrative. The ton of the story is very early 90’s and clearly geared at middle/high-school-aged kids, so that feels a little heavier top top the “Bart Simpson” snark 보다 I would certainly prefer. (I assumption: v that means I’m an “old guy yelling at clouds” now?)

The Takeaways

So what worked? What didn’t? walk this story “get the moment”? let the spoiler commence!

Right off the bat, i was a bit thrown turn off by the “voice” the the narrator. Angus is a high-school an elderly in 1989, but his word consumption and social referents are occasionally a little older. You could argue he’s very close come his grandfather and also spends most of his time with his parents, so it’s no out that the question that he would certainly consistently describe older cultural icons choose Robert Redford or usage words choose “tomfoolery” unironically. But in the end, it yes, really does sound prefer a middle-aged male writing the dialogue of an 18 year old. The reality that the songs that element into the climax of the story would certainly be thought about “dad-rock” by even late 80’s standards just emphasizes the period disparity in between author and narrator.On peak of the weird social discussion, there’s the sarcasm. I obtain it, he’s depicted as a “tough kid” v a good heart. Yet even how he mentally defines his parental is nice mean. I don’t know if Crutcher is consciously or subconsciously channeling Holden Caulfield here, yet the point is, i despise Holden Caulfield.You can absolutely tell the story was written 30 years ago, because man, few of the terminology would certainly NOT fly in our existing PC culture.Don’t let all this criticism silly you, reader. Ns did genuinely favor Angus as a character. Crutcher presents a flawed but really sympathetic protagonist, who becomes a kind of everyman because that those of us who didn’t make prom king or obtain our “moment.”“All I desire is mine moment.” This is the driving template of the story: the quest of a perfect moment that will make because that a lifelong memory. Angus really requirements a “win,” and also he’s self-aware enough to know that the won’t acquire many.There room some yes, really nice set-ups and callbacks in the narration and dialogue: Angus speak he has actually no illusions the Melissa Lefevre (his dream girl) will be so taken v him she’ll desire to leave v him; the discussion of exactly how Angus’ football skill originates from his ability to zero his opponent and watch his hips to understand where come go; his fear of his sweat gift off-putting to Melissa. Crutcher creates part delightful symmetry transparent the story with these elements.Angus’ unexplained homelife might have been provided as a significant plot device (and would have, if the story to be written more recently), but Crutcher manages to keep it an additional to the run plotline. The fact that Angus has actually 2 to adjust of happy parents, and his partnership with every one of them collectively, does inform much of his character in the story (and gets fairly a little of fist in the middle section of the story), but it doesn’t feel prefer this is the capital-P suggest of the narrative.Crutcher employs high-school-movie tropes (the huge dance, the football-star bully, the untouchable dream-girl, the no one who’s thrown into the spotlight through the machinations that others), however he does so in a means that still feels natural–the tropes become touchstones, connecting this story to every the other stories we love in this sub-genre.

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In the end, I delighted in this story, regardless of its flaws. Crutcher demonstrates he’s a hard writer indigenous a technological standpoint, and also he made me cheer because that Angus together he “got his moment.” If you’re therefore inclined, girlfriend should examine this one out. No a classic, but not a bad time, either.