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Fitz by Mick Cochrane
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Fitz starts off by jumping right into the action with Fitz taking his father hostage. I thought this was a great way to grab the reader and throw them into Fitz's life. Then it slowed right down to the point where I wanted to skip pages. Not the best thing with a book that is fairly short.

I suppose I was just expecting more drama, more action, more excitement. Fitz, though, is a literary tale that focuses on Fitz's journey to understanding who he is, as defined by his absent father. Fitz is obviously a very troubled boy, and Cochrane gives us bits and pieces that show Fitz has a lot of stuff going on in his head. I just never felt connected to him. It felt more like I was simply being told everything and I wanted to actually experience Fitz's anger and sorrow.

This is definitely a book that would appeal to more literary work lovers, though I think readers who have gone through similar upbringings as Fitz may be able to connect easier with his character. ( )
  AngelaFristoe | Sep 18, 2013 |
Richie’s Picks: FITZ by Mick Cochrane, Knopf, November 2012, 192p., ISBN: 978-0-375-85683-9

“I was alone, I took a ride, I didn’t know what I would find there
Another road where maybe I could see another kind of mind there”
--Lennon/McCartney “Got to Get You into My Life” (from The Beatles’ Revolver album)

“A black SUV passes slowly. There’s a woman inside, nicely dressed, wearing sunglasses, fluffing her hair in the rearview mirror. Fitz smiles pleasantly at her, trying his best not to look like a kidnapper, and she smiles back. To her, he probably looks like a typical fifteen-year-old boy. He’s wearing sneakers, black jeans, a gray hoodie. He’s got a backpack slung over his shoulder.
“And that’s exactly what he is: a typical fifteen-year-old boy. A sophomore on the B honor roll. A kid with a messy room, an electric guitar, a notebook full of song lyrics, vague dreams about doing something great some day, a crush on a red-haired girl. The city is full of kids like him. America is full of kids like him. He’s nothing special.
“Except that he’s carrying a Smith & Wesson .38 Special in the waistband of his jeans and a gutful of confusion, a lifetime’s resentment in his heart. A gnawing hunger for a father he’s never known.
“He kneels down now, retying his shoes for the third or fourth time. Fitz can imagine his father inside, straightening his silk tie, sipping a cup of fresh-ground, fair-trade coffee, thinking about his day—a meeting with a client maybe, a deposition—no idea that someone is waiting for him, that his son has other plans.”

Fitz, who lives with his mother five miles from here in the Twin Cities, has learned where his father resides. He has never met nor had a conversation with his father. His mother has always been elusive about why his father has never been part of his life. But now, after stalking him for weeks, Fitz decides that he is going to force the father he’s never met to have them share a day together.

“This was his logic. He wanted to spend some time with his father, what was the phrase? Quality time. He wanted to spend some quality time with his dad. It was time to get acquainted. But his dad wasn’t interested. After all these years, that much was obvious. It wasn’t like he was going to respond to an invitation. Fitz figured he needed a convincer.”

FITZ is the story of what happens when this young man – who is named after F. Scott Fitzgerald -- walks up to his father’s fancy car, opens the passenger door, sits down, and shows dad that he means business.

I can so easily imagine this story descending into rage and violence or into silly melodrama. But, instead, author Mick Cochrane treats us to a thoughtful, provocative, and honest tale about a father and son get to know one another for the first time. I just love the writing style here – it is an absolute thrill of a read without a lot of hyper writing.

FITZ, which includes allusions to some major classics of American literature -- including the most famous work by the author after whom the young man is named -- is a first-rate guy read. Mick Cochrane has become one of my authors to watch.

Richie Partington
Richie's Picks http://richiespicks.com
BudNotBuddy@aol.com
Moderator http://groups.yahoo.com/group/middle_school_lit/ http://slisweb.sjsu.edu/people/faculty/partingtonr/partingtonr.php ( )
  richiespicks | Jun 29, 2012 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0375856838, Hardcover)

Sometimes Fitz would look at himself in the mirror, an expression of pathetic eagerness on his face. He was a dog in the pound, wanting to be adopted. He'd smile. What father wouldn't want this boy?

Fifteen-year-old Fitzgerald—Fitz, to his friends—has just learned that his father, whom he's never met, who supports him but is not a part of his life, is living nearby. Fitz begins to follow him, watch him, study him, and on an otherwise ordinary May morning, he executes a plan to force his father, at gunpoint, to be with him.

Over the course of one spring day, Fitz and his father become real to one another. Fitz learns about his father, why he's chosen to remain distant and what really happened between him and Fitz's mother. And his father learns what sort of boy his son has grown up to become.

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:44:11 -0400)

Fifteen-year-old Fitz kidnaps the father he has never known, taking him from his St. Paul apartment building at gunpoint, in an attempt to address his bewildering mix of resentment and yearning.

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