Bo has been at war with his father for as long as he can remember. The rage he feels gives him the energy as a triathlete to press his body to the limit, but it also translates into angry outbursts toward his teachers.
Now dangerously close to expulsion from school, Bo has been assigned to Anger Management sessions with the school "truants." With an eclectic mix of hard-edged students, Bo may finally have to deal with his long-brewing hatred for his father before it eats away at him completely.
Crutcher reassembles some of the character types he used to riveting effect in his stellar Staying Fat for Sarah Byrnes: a teenage misfit narrator enduring grueling athletic training; a tough heroine with a tragic past; a right-wing authoritarian heavy; enlightened teachers; and a sadistic father. At its best, the narrative crackles along in the author's inimitable style. Beauregard Brewster, a would-be Ironman triathlete, chronicles the events that ensue after he insults an oppressive teacher and is forced to take an anger-management class with other troubled students. But Crutcher's message sometimes overwhelms the cast and the story line. Beau's stern father, who has to be right at all costs-even if it means stacking the deck against his son-is one of the few fully fleshed-out characters. Many are either saintly multiculturalists (Beau's gay swimming coach, earlier met in Stotan; ``Mr. Nak'' the Japanese cowboy anger-management teacher; the black female high school principal) or, in the case of the offensive teacher, outright villains. In spite of these flaws, Crutcher achieves many memorable moments-exchanges between the students in the anger-management class, for example, are idealized but often deeply moving. Ages 12-up. (Apr.)