Wednesday, February 08, 2006

"The way it looks is not the way it is."

The way it looks is impossible, unimaginable, inexcusable. Keir Sarafian is a good guy. Good guys can't be rapists, right? But that's what Gigi Boudakian, his lifelong love, is calling him. But she's wrong; she just doesn't understand.

Keir's not perfect, but he sees himself as a good guy - despite all the evidence to the contrary. When Keir seriously injures an opponent on the football field, he knows it wasn't his fault. It was a good clean hit. Besides, he shouldn't have even been on the field - he's a kicker, not a cornerback. And it all turned out okay - the guy said it was okay; he forgave Keir, and Keir got a scholarship out of it. And the vandalism? The hazing? It was all in good fun. Besides, he didn't remember doing half that stuff. The guy missed the funny parts when he was video taping; he only caught the bad parts. And Keir had nothing to do with those. He's not even sure that's him on the tape.
Keir Sarafian, narrator of Chris Lynch's Inexcusable, gives me the creeps. He rationalizes things so well that he's almost convincing ; he hides behind his good guy image so he doesn't have to take responsibility for anything. I see a little bit if Keir in the teens I deal with each day when they don't take responsibility for their actions, make excuses for their behavior, or place the blame on others. Being irresponsible often comes with being a teen, but the sense of entitlement I see on a daily basis can be alarming. Even more alarming, there are far too few parents who step up and make their children take responsibility. Like Keir's father, they believe their children are beyond reproach, and, like Keir, they believe the blame must lie elsewhere, with teachers, school administrators or other teens.
Getting down off my soapbox, Inexcusable is a powerful book with a disturbing, unreliable and fascinating narrator. It got to me, and I hope it will get to teens - I hope they will see Keir for what he is, and I hope Keir will help them see more of themselves.

What I'm reading: Rewind by Jan Page (while watching the Grammys)
On my bookshelf: Peeps by Scott Westerfeld, Meg Cabot


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