Chris Fuhrman

The Dangerous Lives of Altar Boys, Chris Fuhrman’s first and only novel, opens with the following paragraph:

“By eighth grade, Jesus Christ had been bone meal and rumors for most of 1,974 years, but we were only thirteen. We were daredevils, gangsters. I had a girl’s name, Francis, and a hernia.”

I do want to warn you: despite the truly awesome beginning, this book is kind of a mess. The setting is a Catholic school in 1970s Georgia and the plot is impossibly melodramatic. Fuhrman crams adolescent angst, some really creepy sexual stuff, suicide attempts, and roiling racial tensions into a novel that’s well under two hundred pages. It’s hard to quibble, though, when Fuhrman’s voice, full of sharp, wry humor and genuine love for his characters, is so assured.

Note: Fuhrman died of stomach cancer at age 31. He was still revising The Dangerous Lives of Altar Boys. He also wrote some short stories that are rumored to be available on the Internet, but I’ve never been able to find them.

Note #2: If you enjoy the book, I’d suggest avoiding the movie version of Altar Boys. It’s not that the movie is bad... it’s more that they pumped up some aspects of the story (the comic book stuff) while playing down others (pretty much everything else). If you want to watch something that’s closer in tone to the book, I’d suggest renting Stand By Me.



Other Recommendations:
Nine Stories, by J.D. Salinger

Anything by Chris Crutcher
Posted by: Julia


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