Angry Young Man by Chris Lynch
Xan (Alexander) is an unusual kid who just doesn’t fit in anywhere. He’s moody, way too sensitive and possibly depressed. He’s dropped out of high school, and spends his days in the room he shares with his older brother Robert or taking long walks in their hometown. They boys’ single mom is doing her best to raise them, but the bill collector who keeps stalking his is about to drive Xan to his limit. The story is told from Robert’s perspective, who the readers discover hasn’t always been the best big brother. He can barely remember not coming to Xan’s rescue when kids relentlessly harassed him in middle school, but cares about Xan in his own way. This slim book is a character study of what might happen when a young person is an outsider without anyone to really talk to. It might remind readers of students who have gone on shooting sprees at Columbine High and other schools throughout the country. When Xan makes some friends in a community college class on social change that he is sitting in on, he is drawn to the violence their charismatic leader suggests as a method of protest. “It is not because he is stupid or weak-minded,” Robert says. “It is because he cares so much, and because he wants, so much, to belong.” Here Xan finally gets Robert’s undivided attention, and the two brothers must work together to try to make the most moral choice as well as the safest one.
I liked this book a lot, as I do most of Lynch’s books. He has a way of seeing into the psyches of teenaged boys that feel honest and realistic. I recommend this to all young adults, especially those who like Chris Lynch titles or are interested in what it feels like to be an outsider.