Saturday, June 02, 2007

Endgame by Nancy Garden

Endgame is yet another school shooting book. This one deals with the events leading up to Gray Wilton opening fire on his school. As the novel begins, Gray is already arrested for the shooting and the novel is him explaining everything to his lawyer. He starts with his move to Greenford and his transition into a new school. His family moved partly because he got suspended twice at his previous school for violence and weapon possession, although that was related to bullying. He details his problems at Greenford with a jock named Zorro who is a constant bully, harassing him in the locker room and even getting physical with him. Outside of the bullying, Gray needs to deal with a father who's constantly disappointed in him, particularly because he hasn't lived up to his brother's greatness. His father also doesn't understand Gray's passion for drumming, believing Gray needs to get into something like sports. Drumming, his dog Barker, and his friend Ross are all Gray has going for him, and eventually all those get taken away. He hides his troubles but they keep escalating to the point he can't take it anymore and brings a gun to school. The novel ends with his sentencing.

One interesting thing about the novel was how the events were actually told to you. There is an interplay between the events as they happened and Gray's conversations with the lawyer. While you get a sense of seeing the events unfold, you also see it through the lawyer's eyes, discovering the complexities of his client. It gave the story more depth rather than just seeing the events happen. There are also occasional chapters where you see Gray's battle with what he's done. You see him sitting in the Juvenile detention center, reflecting on what these events have made him. I also liked the ended where Gray is sitting in the sentencing realizing what he's done, the harsh reality of it, especially when he doesn't get the sentence he hoped for. This was a good book, especially in how it made you empathize with the character.

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