Logo Title Quebec Reading Connection

Inexcusable

Lynch, Chris (Author)
Simon & Schuster 2015. 180 pages
First published: 2005
ISBN: 9781481432023 (paperback)
9780689847899 (hardcover)
9781439107027 (e-book)
Original language: English
Book type: Novel
Book genre: Realistic

Text Elements:

characterization, conflict, evocative language, point of view, setting

Award

National Book Award Finalist – 2005

Reading Range

 
Cycle
Elementary
Secondary
 
1
2
3
1
2
ELA
K
1
2
3
4
5
6
1
2
3
4
5
ESL
1
2
3
4
5
6
1
2
3
4
5
ESL Intensive & Enriched
5
6
1
2
3
4
5

Description:

Taut language conveys this compelling cautionary tale about one young man’s disconnect from his brutish behaviour—as well as society’s inclination to condone it. A shattering aftermath is skillfully interwoven with flashbacks—inexorably leading readers to a conclusion that the narrator is loath to admit: “In the mean light of day an event from the night before might look plain nasty, but that does not automatically render it nasty, in its context.”

Told from the perspective of the victimizer, this first-person narrative is a powerful indictment of our ability to excuse and justify violence—especially when the perpetrator is a promising young man with his life ahead of him. As Keir tries to convince Gigi that he didn’t rape her after prom, his own flashbacks on a difficult senior year include extreme bullying and the crippling of another football player. The unreliable narrator’s account offers rich opportunities for discussion: “‘I love you. That is what matters.’ ‘I said no. That is what matters.’”

Tension and nuance combine as the language expertly reveals what Keir hides from himself: “Quick as a snake I reach out and around her and seize the window frame and Gigi Boudakian at the same time. I slam the window back down and I wrap her up firmly...” In the end, Keir shows a glimmer of self-awareness (“It feels like, like I have two hearts … they are working on two different things … they make an unholy mess”) as he finally releases Gigi—and himself to his fate.

  •  

    Unreliable narrators sometimes conceal or misrepresent vital information. Here, Keir’s narrative voice encourages readers to question what is true and what is not.

  •  

    Discuss the way the story is conveyed by means of an unreliable narrator. Consider the effect that hearing about the events through Keir’s eyes has on the reader, providing examples from the text.

  •  

    “Gigi Boudakian has her head in her hands again, and it feels like nothing will ever be right ever again.” (page 24) Do a quickwrite inspired by this or another line from the book. With a small group, discuss and compare the ideas you generate.

  •  

    In a small group, discuss what teenagers, both girls and guys, can do to prevent date rape.

  •  

    Take note of the contradictions and moments of skewed perception that lead you to believe that Keir is an unreliable narrator.

  •  Write the speech Gigi might give to a support group for teen date rape victims.
  • To communicate appropriately
  • To exercise critical judgment
  • Health and Well-Being
  • Personal Development
  • Social Sciences