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Project X (2005)

Project X (2005)

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3.55 of 5 Votes: 4
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1400033489 (ISBN13: 9781400033485)

About book Project X (2005)

In the aftermath of the Columbine High School Shootings in 1999, countless reporters and commentators repeated similar versions of the same phrase over and over again: "People are wondering how something like this could happen."Jim Shepard knows.Project X is one of the few books that has ever honestly attempted to get into the minds of people like Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold, or the other teenager gunmen who later patterned themselves after the Columbine incident.Most seem to take comfort in explanations that support preexisting phobias and prejudices; violent video games and movies, popular music, poor parenting skills, drug abuse, white supremacy, and even homosexuality have often been blamed for driving these kids to violence. Project X refuses to fall into this simple-minded trap. Edwin and Flake, the two teenage characters in the book, are portrayed as the complex personalities that people really are, and not the easily categorized stereotypes that people tend to see each other as.The protagonists in Shepard's book aren't simply misanthropic loners by choice. They are bullied and harassed on a daily basis, in and out of school, by people they know and complete strangers, and by adults as well as teenagers. The toll of this repeated physical abuse, egged on by their inability (both physically and emotionally) to fight back, forces them to withdraw from society. But they aren't presented as pure victims of an uncaring system. Their self-imposed alienation and inability to explain their situation to someone who could assist them, coupled with increasingly anti-social and reactionary behavior, just makes them easier targets and escalates the situation even further.If this were just about bullies, the playgrounds across the country would be a never ending battlefield (and for some, it is). There are often other influences involved, and Shepard exposes some of these as well. The psychological instability of both characters is well displayed, but never left as a final scapegoat. Allusions to a previous head injury possibly causing some of Edwin's emotional problems, as well as Flake's apparent sexual confusion and sometimes aggressive domination over Edwin in their friendship, add to the pressures and overwhelming confusion. It is all too easy to forget that some kids live with stress levels that often drive adults to nervous breakdowns.Shepard doesn't just trap these characters in a world where no one cares about them or notices the problem. Edwin's parents are well aware that their son is troubled, and try to both understand and lend emotional support. But their awkward attempts to reach out never manage to break through the confusion and despair. Their rebellious behavior makes Edwin and Flake an easy target for the scorn of teachers and other adults, but even some of them attempt to help through positive reinforcement, and enrolling Edwin in an after-school program for troubled youth.The true brilliance of Project X is that Shepard manages to easily evoke sympathy, and even empathy, for Edwin and Flake. Most readers will no doubt find themselves not only wanting to help them, but wondering what could have been done differently. Through fictional characters and events, Shepard is giving the reader a glimpse behind the curtain that hides most of these kids until it is far too late to do anything but pick up the pieces and wonder to ourselves what went wrong?I have read other reviews of this book, and I am surprised by two common reactions to Project X. One is the repeated comparison of Project X to Vernon God Little, which is unfair to both books. Vernon God Little is a great book in its own right, but only uses troubled youth as a foundation for its story, and in no way attempts to expose or explore the serious issues that Project X does. This is almost like comparing Gus Van Sant's Elephant to Napoleon Dynamite.The other reaction is from those who complain about the book's ending. Some readers wanted more about the aftermath of the events at the end of the book, and felt the need for closure. I feel that these people missed the point entirely.Project X is not about school shootings. It isn't about the victims or their families, the assailants or their families, the media coverage afterward, or the attempts by those affected to somehow pick up the shattered remains of what used to be their lives. The truth is, there is no real closure after such a tragedy.Project X is about what happens before these tragic events. It is about the children who become lost amongst us, the demons that plague and influence them, and most importantly, what finally drives them over the edge. Jim Shepard knows the truth; the only way to save ourselves from them is to learn how to save them from themselves.

Project-X Book Review.Kai LammersDuring our fiction unit I read the book ,”project-X.” In the book, the main character is Edwin Hanratty. Edwin is a troubled child, his grades are terrible and he gets in fights with kids every single day. But his friend Flake is even more troubled, he hates everything and everyone. He wishes all the jocks and knuckle heads at his school would just die, and that is exactly what he plans to do. A giant terrorist attack at their school, killing everybody. Revenge is all he wants, day and night Edwin and Flake plan, trying to come up with a genius idea, but nothing seems to work, until one day Flake finds a bunch of his dads guns, and he realizes he was missing a golden opportunity the whole time. He calls Edwin and they prepare for their attack. Monday morning Flake and Edwin enter the school with the guns in their bags. Once they hit the massive crowd of jocks and knuckle heads, Flake whips out his gun and starts spraying. While Flake is shooting, a bullet bounces back and hits him in the head killing him. While Flake lies motionless on the ground, Edwin is still hesitating on whether he should shoot or not, but before he can decide the principal runs down, and Edwin throws his weapon down... The title in this book very strongly impacts the story. The name ,”Project X,” really gives idea that there is some sort of plan behind the story. Edwin and Flake come up with several different plans to kill everyone, none of them really seemed to work. But not project x, no this is the one that worked, that's the one that killed all those innocent kids. The setting in this book was very important, without it, the story wouldn't be as good as it really was. The setting did change a lot throughout the book, but the three main locations where the school, Edwin’s house and Flake’s house. The school was was the scariest setting, where kids fought and where the shooting happened. Flakes house was where they both got their evil minds thinking, coming up with dark ideas. Whereas Edwin’s house was the happiest setting. It was the only place the both boys could have fun without being beat up by other children.The point of view in this story is first person. This is a brilliant point of view because it important to see the characters inner emotions and feelings. If the book would have been written in third person point of view the reader would have never been able to see and feel the way the character felt. Edwin is an odd kid with many different thoughts and emotions, writing this story in first person point of view really allows the reader to connect with him. This book carries a very dark and horrifying mood. The author takes the deepest, darkest thoughts of their minds and turns them into a plan. Throughout the book there are no joyful moments for these boys, every single second of their lives is a living nightmare, to them life is a waste of time. The author makes these moments very clear, in order for the reader to understand what they are going through, and to see what the reader would feel like in the same situation. The author of my book uses foreshadowing in the very beginning of my book. It starts of with Edwin going to Flake’s house on a Saturday afternoon. It seems like a normal hangout at first until Flake is looking for something in his dad’s room when he finds a case full of guns. I was confused at first because it had nothing to do with the story at the time, but later in the book i understood why the author chose to add that part. I would recommend to middle school students. This book shows and teaches students what the effects of bullying could be. But not only that, this book is an action packed and full of suspense as well as being well written and fluent.

Do You like book Project X (2005)?

Project X, written by Jim Shepard tells the story of an eighth grade boy and his only friend as they struggle to deal with the social anxieties of junior high. The main character Edwin and his lone companion Flake make a plan to help them put an end to their constant verbal and physical abuse from their peers. The book follows Edwin through his daily activities and meetings with Flake as they begin to plan their revenge on those who as they say, "either don't know us, or don't want to know us." The story builds up to a final moment of action where the boys are faced with the decision to carry out their plan or to continue living their lives as outcast eighth graders. I did not like this book at all. It was hard for me to get into it at first because of the author's use of dialogue but after I got used to his style I didn't mind it too much. Once I started reading the book I was not captured by the characters or the story but I kept reading out of curiosity to find out what these two kids were going to do. I looked the book up on goodreads and it was number 61 on the list of coming-of-age titles required for high school reading so I figured I would see it through to the end. Although I am glad that I finished the book so that I know how it turns out for the boys, I am deeply disappointed in the ending. The author gives us two characters who show no development at all throughout the story and end up worse off than they were in the beginning. With a horrible ending providing us with no hope for the main character Edwin we are left with a horrible story. Looking at this book from a teachers point of view, I would not recommend this book to any of my students at any age level. The story is filled with negativity that leads to horrible actions providing the reader with no positive message. I'm not saying that all books need to have a positive message to be good books but the setting and the realness of the story make it one that I feel is too much for any student. did not enjoy this book and I would not want any of my students to read it.
—Andrew Foley

This is an amazing, disturbing book about a misfit boy (Edwin) starting Grade 8 who suffers from low self-esteem and horrendous bullying, and who has one equally miserable friend (Flake) he hangs around with; he sees other, younger, kids who are also bullied and one reaches out to them in his own misery and frustration, but Edwin & Flake are unable to help him or themselves. Adults in Edwin's life are either oblivious to their pain or offer inadequate solutions that only add to their torment
—Ginger Hallett

I read this with the hopes of finding a great recommendation for my freshmen for a realistic fiction. I was intrigued by the content when reading about it. It's a young adult book told from the point of view of a troubled teen that plans to shoot up his school. Some may find that offensive but I think intense issues are only dealt with when addressed so I was curious as to how Shepard would tell the story. I hoped it would be better and at times it felt a bit like an after-school special, but I could see why YA's would like it and gain something from it. Personally, I didn't find the dialogue convincing, and don't feel he has mastered writing like a teenager would speak. It would get students to address and discuss a very real issue that is scary to address and talk about but important.
—Beth Yost

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