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Today’s entry in #52Stories is “A Short Moment in the Life of Angus Bethune” by Chris Crutcher, recommfinished by my buddy James on Facebook. This 1989 short story was publiburned in a collection referred to as “Athletic Shorts” and would certainly go on to be the basis for a film adaptation (referred to as Angus), which I believe is James’ favorite movie.

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

So what did I think? Let’s obtain to it!


The Pitch

An unmost likely candiday is crowned “Winter Ball King” and is determined to make the a lot of of his substantial moment: a dance via his lifelong crush.

The Payoff

I have mixed feelings about this one. There are elements of the writing that I really liked, and also others that took me out of the minute. A few of the story facets seemed unvital, but on the totality they don’t really detract from the narrative. The tamong the story is incredibly beforehand 90’s and plainly geared at middle/high-school-aged youngsters, so it feels a little heavier on the “Bart Simpson” snark than I would like. (I guess that suggests I’m an “old male yelling at clouds” now?)

The Takeaways

So what worked? What didn’t? Does this story “obtain its moment”? Let the spoilers commence!

Right off the bat, I was a bit thrvery own off by the “voice” of the narrator. Angus is a high-school senior in 1989, but his word usage and also cultural refeleas are sometimes a little bit older. You could argue he’s incredibly cshed to his grandpa and spends many of his time through his parents, so it’s not out of the question that he would certainly repetitively describe older social symbols favor Robert Redford or use words favor “tomfoolery” unironically. But in the finish, it really does sound prefer a middle-aged male composing the dialogue of an 18 year old. The truth that the songs that variable right into the orgasm of the story would be thought about “dad-rock” by even late 80’s criteria just emphasizes the age disparity in between writer and narrator.On height of the weird social discussion, there’s the sarcasm. I acquire it, he’s portrayed as a “challenging kid” via an excellent heart. But also just how he mentally describes his parents is pretty intend. I don’t understand if Crutcher is consciously or subconsciously channeling Holden Caularea below, but the thing is, I despise Holden Caularea.You have the right to absolutely tell the story was composed 30 years ago, bereason male, some of the terminology would certainly NOT fly in our current COMPUTER culture.Don’t let all this criticism fool you, reader. I did genuinely choose Angus as a character. Crutcher presents a flawed but exceptionally sympathetic protagonist, who becomes a sort of everymale for those of us who didn’t make prom king or gain our “moment.”“All I want is my moment.” This is the driving theme of the story: the search of a perfect minute that will make for a lifelong memory. Angus really needs a “win,” and also he’s self-conscious enough to understand that he won’t obtain many.Tbelow are some really nice set-ups and callbacks in the narration and also dialogue: Angus saying he has no illusions that Melissa Lefevre (his dream girl) will certainly be so taken via him she’ll desire to leave through him; the conversation of how Angus’ footround skill comes from his capability to shadow his enemy and also watch his hips to know wright here to go; his fear of his sweat being off-placing to Melissa. Crutcher creates some delightful symmetry throughout the story with these aspects.Angus’ unexplained homelife might have been offered as a major plot device (and also would certainly have, if the story were composed more recently), but Crutcher manages to store it secondary to the dance plotline. The reality that Angus has actually 2 sets of gay parents, and also his connection with all of them collectively, does indevelop much of his character in the story (and gets rather a little bit of attention in the middle section of the story), but it doesn’t feel like this is the capital-P Point of the narrative.Crutcher employs high-school-movie tropes (the significant dance, the football-star bully, the untouchable dream-girl, the nobody who’s thrown right into the spotlight by the machinations of others), however he does so in a way that still feels natural–the tropes become touchstones, connecting this story to all the various other stories we love in this sub-genre.

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In the end, I appreciated this story, despite its flaws. Crutcher demonstrates he’s a solid writer from a technological standpoint, and also he made me cheer for Angus as he “got his minute.” If you’re so inclined, you have to inspect this one out. Not a classical, however not a negative time, either.