Critical Essay on Twisted by Laurie Halse Anderson

Paper Type:  Essay
Pages:  3
Wordcount:  659 Words
Date:  2022-04-04


The book "Twisted" by Laurie Halse Anderson outlines the life of a young man, Tyler Miller, in his transition from childhood to adulthood. At the beginning of the novel, Tyler is doing probation work as punishment for vandalizing the school, an activity that helps him to build up muscle "Character building, my father whispered. Mandatory community service, the judge said" (Anderson 1). Later in the book, Tyler manages to stand up to his workaholic, abusive, and drunk father. As the book ends, it appears that some sense of normalcy returning to his life and he reconciles with his father.

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While reading this story, I was deeply moved by some of the tribulations that Tyler had to face in his teenage life. The author essentially reflects on the troubles that many teenagers have to contend with in a society, where broken homes are increasingly becoming the norm rather than the exception. Apparently, Anderson could easily be telling my story, having been bullied in school as well. Tyler is an archetype for most teenagers who are bullied in school and have put up with the same thing back at home. He is a victim of physical bullying "...All-American Jerk who majored in beating the crap out of me in school (Anderson 13)." After Tyler has bulked up, he walks in with a group of boys, ganging up on Yoda. Due to his big stature, he manages to scare them off. Bethany's brother Chip is unable to bully Tyler and is forced to enlist the help of his cronies in beating him up.

The book also explores the concept of death as an avenue for escapism. When Tyler is beaten up by Chip and his friends, he considers suicide as a way of solving his problems. He also contemplates shooting himself with his father's gun on his eighteenth birthday. I empathize with Tyler because his situation reflects the trauma that many young teenagers go through in life. Apparently, teenage suicides are on the rise due to the perfect storm that affects young people in school or back at home (Litwiller and Army 681). It is encouraging that he was able to pull himself back from the edge with the help of a friend, and lived to see things get better for him and the entire family. Through Tyler, Anderson passes on an important message to her young readers that no matter how bad the situation, things will always get better at the end of the day.

The author profoundly explores the theme of transition from childhood to adult in the book. This is seen when she highlights the changes happening in Tyler's body. Later in the story, Tyler is forced to confront problems such as his abusive father as well as bullies, who he could not have the courage to stand up to in the past. Mrs Milbury is also shocked to see how Tyler has changed; she echoes "you used to be four-foot nothing and skinny as a beanpole. You certainly have grown up (Anderson 14)." This is evident that Tyler has grown up.


In conclusion, it is clear that Anderson has done a great job of highlighting the issues that affect teenagers in high schools and colleges, as they struggle to strike a balance between their families, academics, and social life. Tyler is seen struggling with school bullying and the poor treatment back at home. The author does well to cover the issue of depression, giving up, suicidal impulses, and the possibility of a better tomorrow for her protagonist. Thus, "twisted" is an encouraging book that resonates with millions of young people who are in despair.

Works Cited

Anderson, Laurie. Twisted. Viking Press.

Litwiller, Brett J., and Army M. Brausch. "Cyber Bullying and Physical Bullying in Adolescent Suicides: The Role of Violent Behaviors and Substance Use." Journal of Youth and Adolescence, vol. 42, no. 5, 2013, pp. 675-684.

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Critical Essay on Twisted by Laurie Halse Anderson. (2022, Apr 04). Retrieved from

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