by Pete Hautman
Andy Morrow and I are best friends. Best friends share everything, especially secrets.
I am Douglas MacArthur Hanson, but Andy calls me Dougie.
I am 17 and go to Fairview Central High. I am kind of shy, a lot different then Andy.
It doesn’t matter that we live in completely different realities—that Andy is the quarterback of the football team and stars in school plays while I spend most of my time working on an HO train set I have in our basement. If you asked Andy to name his best friend, he would say, “Dougie Hanson.”
I am pretty much invisible except when I am with Andy.
Do I strike you as a little obsessive? My parents and counselor think so.
But the truth is I am just very focused. So focused I built a whole town around my train set. Right now I am building a suspension bridge out of matchsticks.
Like I said, Andy and I share a secret. We had some bad luck with fires when we were kids. There was the tree house and the then the Tuttle Place.
But everything turned out all right. I don’t see why everybody thinks my friendship with Andy is such a problem. Dr. Ahlstrom says I need to forget Andy. But I can’t. You see we both made it out of that fire alive. That’s our secret. Andy is alive and he is my best friend. No matter what, he will never leave me.
Invisible by Peter Hautman
(Booktalk by Tom Reynolds, Sno-Isle Regional Library System)
by Pete Hautman
Doug Hansen is a loner and a geek. He is obsessed with his model train, and has been building a replica of the Golden Gate Bridge for it for 3 years in his basement by carefully scraping the phosphorus ends off of match sticks. He has used over 22 thousand sticks, all precisely glued, neatly arranged, all done to scale. Doug's one friend is his next door neighbor, Andy Morrow, popular actor and football quarterback. Doug and Andy talk every evening from their bedroom windows about the events of the day--
Or do they?
From early in the book, you know that something bad happened in the past. Something really bad. Doug admits he and Andy had some bad luck with fires when they were kids, but they are more careful now. He really doesn't like to think about that time. But--why do Doug's mother and his psychiatrist both think that Doug is talking to himself when he is in his bedroom?
And, why is the book called Invisible?
As Doug's life at school becomes more unbearable as the book progresses, he retreats to what gives him comfort--his train and the bridge, his friendship with Andy that his parents seem to not want to hear about, and his fascination with fire. His repressed memory of that bad time he and Andy had won't stay stuffed, and when it breaks through, Doug's parents realize he must have help.
Get ready for a whole new train ride: Invisible by Pete Hautman
(Booktalk by Kathy Caldwell, Woodward Middle School)
Last Updated: January 15, 2008