Study Guide

Crash Writing Style

By Jerry Spinelli

Writing Style

Simple, Energetic, Dynamic

Word nerd Marcel Proust is famous for having written sentences that are hundreds of words long. Not to worry, Shmooper: this ain't that.

In fact, Crash is basically the opposite, with short sentences and simple language through and through. The first paragraph gives us a pretty good idea of how things are gonna go: "My name is John. John Coogan. But everybody calls me Crash, even my parents" (1.1). Hey, nice to meet you, Crash! Thank you for getting to the point.

As his nickname suggests, Crash Coogan has a lot of excess energy. To convey his hyperactive style, the author uses a lot of vibrant verbs. In the first paragraph of Chapter 2 alone, Crash digs, shovels, drives, dumps, and buries. Which, now that we think about it, sort of sounds like he's getting rid of a body. Don't worry—he's just playing with a dump truck.

Finally, the short chapters, which tend to end with mini-cliffhangers, move the plot forward at a clip. But the author occasionally switches up the pace to great effect.

A handful of super short chapters help drive home the impact of major events. For instance, when Scooter has his stroke, Crash tells us, "Scooter is in the hospital" (31.1). That's all we get for Chapter 31. Similarly, Chapter 43 is a single line: "Scooter came home today!" (43.1)

With just a few words, Spinelli conveys big feelings.

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