Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Dear Marcus: A Letter to the Man Who Shot Me” as Want to Read:
Dear Marcus: A Letter to the Man Who Shot Me
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Dear Marcus: A Letter to the Man Who Shot Me

3.95  ·  Rating Details ·  331 Ratings  ·  88 Reviews
The idea to write to you was not an easy one.
The scar from where the bullet entered my back is still there.
 
Jerry McGill was thirteen years old, walking home through the projects of Manhattan’s Lower East Side, when he was shot in the back by a stranger. Jerry survived, wheelchair-bound for life; his assailant was never caught. Thirty years later, Jerry wants to say s
...more
Paperback, 192 pages
Published February 12th 2013 by Spiegel & Grau (first published September 22nd 2009)
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.
This book is not yet featured on Listopia. Add this book to your favorite list »

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  Rating Details
Rowan Gemma
May 11, 2017 Rowan Gemma rated it it was amazing
Jerry McGill starts his memoir by describing the details of being shot as a teenager, and how it affected him. The book is a long letter to who he calls "Marcus", even though he has no evidence of the shooter's real identity. As the book progresses, McGill describes what it took to recover from the tragic event, and how he was able to regain his self-confidence. McGill captures that true sense of hope in this memoir. His resilience is thoroughly inspiring.

I liked this book for numerous reasons.
...more
J Beckett
Sep 02, 2014 J Beckett rated it it was amazing
Ever wonder what a victim would say to their predator if given the opportunity? How possible would it be to poetically, dramatically, and coherently express the depth of one's angst after experiencing a tragic affair? Dear Marcus: A Letter to the Man Who Shot Me, does extraordinarily.

Jerry McGill pens a poignant letter to the man he calls "Marcus" who shot him, leaving him a quadriplegic at age thirteen, but giving him more life than he'd ever imagine. In this "narrative," we are taken through
...more
Shelley Daugherty
Jan 04, 2014 Shelley Daugherty rated it it was amazing
I have read many powerful books in my life, but none touched me as deeply as this heartfelt story of Jerry McGill. After being shot on the street at the age of thirteen Jerry found his life forever changed. He was shot in the back resulting in a spinal injury which would ensure he would never walk again. While others would have drowned in their own self-pity, Jerry found a way to deal with his demons and come out a bright and shining adult.

By addressing this book to his attacker, thirty years la
...more
Doreen
Apr 10, 2012 Doreen rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Iris, Diane, Laura, Jan, Scott, my adult children
Recommended to Doreen by: saw it on Goodreads
McGill tells his life story through a letter, written to the person who shot him, causing him to be quadriplegic. It's a fascinating book. McGill uses the fictitious name, Marcus, as the shooter, because his assailant's true identity is unknown.

In the story, McGill credits Marcus' heinous action with most of the wonderful, exciting opportunities he has had in life. If McGill had never been injured, he would not have become the person he is today. This doesn't excuse Marcus for what he did, it s
...more
Joann(san diego shutterbug)
very inspiring. Humor mixed with a lot of other emotion. It made me laugh it made me cry. It seems as if writing the book helped to deal with the life even that was very tragic. It defiantly showed how he turned a negative into a positive. Definite must read for anyone who has encountered a tragic even in their life. he showed us(the reader) the different phases of what he went through with this life changing event. I won this as part of a goodreads.com first reads giveaways. Shipment was very f ...more
Darlene Payne
Jan 02, 2015 Darlene Payne rated it liked it
Very interesting book. Jerry McGill was shot in the back and became a paraplegic at age 13. He has no idea who shot him or why, but the book speaks to "Marcus" as if he did. It's sad to think of all the things this man had to endure, both as a child and as a grown man, but the way he has processed it and come through it is amazing.
David Lucander
Dec 24, 2013 David Lucander rated it really liked it
Shelves: memoir
I can't believe someone had a life this hard and wrote a book so easy to read. A coffee, a beer, done. This would probably be great for high school students - not younger, deal with some adult themes. I've got to remind myself to reread this book if I ever lose my own faculties - McGill's reminiscences and meditations on being wheelchair are a powerful testimony to the human spirit.
Wendy E.
Dec 13, 2012 Wendy E. rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: for-school
This is summer reading hopeful. We'll see. It is certainly inspirational, but I'm not sure some of the language will fly.
Linda
Apr 19, 2012 Linda rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I received this book for free through Goodreads First Reads. Jerry McGill is a former co-worker of mine, so I was delighted to have the opportunity to read and review his book. Since I know him as Jerry, I typically will be referring to him as "Jerry", rather than "the author" or "Mr. McGill".

Although I was currently reading another book, I couldn't resist opening Jerry's autobiography to read the first few pages, perhaps a chapter. The first chapter went so quickly that I didn't stop there; it
...more
Rylee Ebner
Mar 20, 2015 Rylee Ebner rated it it was amazing
Have you ever wondered what a victim would say to their shooter if they had a chance too? At the young age of 13 Jerry McGill was an athlete, singer, dancer and a ladies man. However all of that changed once he gots shot walking home with his friend in the Lower East Side. McGill tells his life story through a letter to the man who shot him. Since nobody ever found the man McGill decides to name the shooter Marcus. He was hospitalized and in therapy for 6 months, so he had lots of time to think ...more
Kameron
Apr 29, 2016 Kameron rated it really liked it
Revenge. The reason I chose revenge for Dear Marcus A Letter To The Man Who Shot Me by Jerry McGill is that throughout the book Jerry is constantly talking to Marcus telling him about what he did to his life. When McGill was a child his life turned suddenly. He went from being a star athlete and a dancer to handicapped from one singular bullet shot. Instead of practicing dancing and sports he would spend his whole day in hospital bed for 3 months. Could you imagine that your whole life changed f ...more
The Reading Countess
Recommended by a friend and initially intended to be read as a read aloud to middle schoolers (um...that's a negative), Dear Marcus is a memoir best read by adults and young adults.

I enjoyed the beginning of the book where Jerry McGill writes with conviction and strength about his earlier life preceeding the fateful night when he was shot in the back by an anonymous shooter. I especially liked how each chapter read like a screenplay. For example: INT. HOSPITAL ROOM-DAY "Jerome sits up in his whe
...more
Ken
Read in a few short hours, Jerry McGill's Dear Marcus, a straightforward narrative of life after a mystery assailant's bullet to the back, runs the full gamut of emotions: confusion, despair, anger, and hope among them. The conceit here is that McGill is writing to the person who shot him, but the book functions just fine as a straightforward personal narrative of what it is like to be a paraplegic because of a senseless act. Shot in '82, the reminiscing McGill selects the name "Marcus" for the ...more
Scot
Nov 23, 2012 Scot rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a straightforward, quick read of a memoir, interspersed with brief life scenes presented as screenplay outtakes. Young people will take to reading this book with ease, I suspect. I also appreciated very much the choice of Rainer Marie Rilke for the epigraph--not what you'd expect in the story of a young black man who was senselessly shot by chance one day on the street when he was in junior high and had to come to grips with life as a quadriplegic.

This is the tale of that adjustment, but
...more
Nila Collins
Mar 14, 2014 Nila Collins rated it it was amazing
Dear Marcus: A Letter to the Man Who Shot Me by Jerry McGill is all about a man writing a "letter" to the man who shot him as a teenager. Jerome's , who now refers to himself as Jerry, whole life changed due to the spinal cord injury of the bullet that was shot from someone completely anonymous. He decided to name his shooter Marcus and remind him what he has done to Jerry's life. Even though this man may never read this book, Jerry felt that it was necessary to express his feelings of anger,dep ...more
David
Nov 19, 2013 David rated it really liked it
moving memoir by a middle-aged guy who was shot when he was 13, growing up in a rough neighborhood in New York. He's been in a wheelchair ever since, and details some of the many challenging consequences (job discrimination, limited housing choices, people's oddly intrusive or pitying reactions, e.g. offering him money unsolicited, cabdriver asking him about the impact on his sexual functioning).

Great description of the six months he spent in the hospital immediately after the shooting, struggli
...more
Ariana
Nov 09, 2009 Ariana rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This memoir is UNlike any I have ever read. McGill's writing style, perhaps influenced by his theater career, often reads like a play, with dramatic entrances and exits, smoothed by the seamless transition of a wounded adolescent growing into his own and rather unique manhood. McGill is a bold man, and a bold author. His tone ranges from playful and downright funny, to brutally honest and "real", in a street sense. His conversation with "Marcus" is an intimate one, that takes him through a range ...more
Lauren Shippy
Oct 25, 2015 Lauren Shippy rated it it was ok
When Jerry McGill was growing up in the Lower East Side of Manhattan in the 1980s, he was on the right path of life. It was hard living with a single mother, but McGill maintained a charming, precocious teenager, already excelling as an athlete and a dancer. All of that changed one night when he was thirteen. Walking home from a New Year's party with a friend, McGill was shot in the back by an unknown person, who was never caught. Soon after, he learned that he would be wheelchair-bound for life ...more
Siena Dean
Dear Marcus by Jerry McGill

Dear Marcus is a good book that shines a light on the issue of poverty in this world. This memoir tells the story of Jerry McGill who was shot on New Year's at the age of 13. McGill tells his story as if he is talking to the man who shot him. This allows the author to take a more blunt approach in sharing how that moment change his life forever. The author takes the reader through an array of emotions varying anywhere from pity to feeling blessed.
I personally love t
...more
Cindy Leighton
"You never know what worse luck your bad luck saved you from" - Cormac McCarthy

Jerry (Jerome) McGill was shot in the back at age 13 by a random shooter who is never identified - and spends the rest of his life a quadriplegic. Written as a letter to his anonymous shooter, McGill reflects on his life before and the thirty years since the shooting. Raised in a tough neighborhood in New York, he spends part of his life hating his mother for getting pregnant with him at 16, for "raising me in neighbo
...more
Colin
This book is pretty fucking rad. It's a super-fast read; engaging, personable, witty and smart. Ultimately, it's about acceptance, healing, compassion, forgiveness, transformation and love. I related to it a lot.

A couple times I totally teared up. Like with this: "I hope someone loved you, Marcus. I hope someone still loves you today, and that you are able to lavish love on someone as well. You gotta be able to do both. I don't know that anything we do in this world matters more. The main ingre
...more
Veronica
Oct 29, 2014 Veronica rated it really liked it
Through a narration of his own life stories and scenes of his past Jerry McGill was able to defend the side of the disabled. Many times we tend to categorize disabled people as anything other than "normal" and we fail to realize that they are able to do so much more than is expected of them. This book opened my eyes to the reality that a serious injury isn't a cause to stop living your life and trying your hardest if you are able to. There will always be obstacles obscuring your path but the onl ...more
Alefebre21
Sep 30, 2015 Alefebre21 rated it really liked it
As you follow the journey of Jerry McGill's life of being paralyzed and how it has been affected, you will be amazed on how he got through this. With some jokes and good laughs here and there, you will fall in love with this story. As a thirteen year old boy who got shot leaving a friends house by someone he will never know, he keeps an upbeat personality for the most part. This book deserves a four star rating because it has vivid details though out it that make you feel like you witnessed this ...more
Jenn
Jan 24, 2013 Jenn rated it it was amazing
Shelves: first-reads
I received this book as a giveaway and I cannot be any happier or greatful for being able to read this book. This book gave me insight to a world that is different from my own in several ways, one that not only made me greatful for the life I had growing up, but also made me think about all the situations in my life that have happened and the effect they had on me. I thought about how a situation that seems to be happening to only me in many ways is going to effect many other people and make cha ...more
Anna
Apr 05, 2012 Anna rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
What a great act of courage to find beauty in forgiveness. Jerry, or Jerome, writes of his experience in being shot in the back coming home from a friend's house one evening. The shot hit his spinal cord and left him paralyzed and in a wheel chair. So many special people cared for and nursed Jerry back to health and taught him how to function with his disability. Despite hardache his mother and sister stood by and cared for him. One of my favorite quotes from the book: "When kindness begets kind ...more
Kadea
Aug 21, 2012 Kadea rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition


Quick read; very good book! Jerry McGill offers a "victim statement" of sorts, but this book/open letter to his shooter is more than that. He manages to inspire, shock, sadden, and educate the reader. I really hope his shooter has the chance to read this, and am happy I decided to give this book a chance.
What I really like about the book is, it is not a self-righteous tale of sappy clichés, although subject matter like this does have the potential to be weepy and saccharine. Instead, the author
...more
Dana
Feb 02, 2013 Dana rated it liked it
Shelves: memoir-biography
This book is getting some good word-of-mouth traction. This is a good memoir of the author's personal process and forgiveness of the unknown shooter whose bullet is still lodged in his spine. The book is written as a letter to the shooter, who the author has named Marcus, with short "scenes" (recreated or imagined) of the author's life inserted between chapters. There is very little room for pity of woe-is-me in this memoir; it is, instead, a kind tribute to all of the people who helped him beco ...more
Paul
Apr 17, 2012 Paul rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I want to thank Goodreads and random house publishing group for the free book.
I really enjoyed reading "Dear Marcus: A letter to the man who shot me" by Jerry McGill.

This book is about overcoming obstacles when you have a bad hand dealt. It is a soul cleansing book for the author who uses a writing tone towards the man who shot him on that January night. Very positive book that shows how to see the positive in even the most darkest moments of life. I would recommend this to people who enjoy pe
...more
Melissa
Sep 15, 2012 Melissa rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
At age 13 Jerry McGill was shot and paralyzed by an unknown shooter. Dear Marcus is Jerry's letter to the man who shot him, because the man was never found Jerry gives him a name and a backstory. Just thinking about how his life changed and what the shooter took away from this boy makes me angry, but Dear Marcus isn't about anger. Jerry celebrates the life he has now. He is full of passion and compassion, forgiveness and love. Dear Marcus is the book I will go back to when I am feeling like my l ...more
Elle!
Sad sad sad powerful book. I have such a thick stack of books to review and I finally got around to this one. I'll keep it short and sweet. I recommend this novel to highschoolers and above. This book is a memoir of a man who was shot in 1980s inner city and is writing to his shooter while coping with a wheelchair. This novel was a tough read, it was written in clips, verses, scripts but for some reason all of it freaking worked! I enjoyed the book, it was disheartening, it was dizzying, some pa ...more
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
  • Runaway Girl: Escaping Life on the Streets, One Helping Hand at a Time
  • I Remember Running: The Year I Got Everything I Ever Wanted - and ALS
  • Freakery: Cultural Spectacles of the Extraordinary Body
  • The Gifts of the Body
  • Moving Violations: War Zones, Wheelchairs, and Declarations of Independence
  • The Leader's Code: Mission, Character, Service, and Getting the Job Done
  • My Baby Rides the Short Bus: The Unabashedly Human Experience of Raising Kids with Disabilities
  • After Schizophrenia: The Story of How My Sister Got Help, Got Hope, and Got on with Life after 30 Years in Her Room
  • Living and Dying in Brick City
  • The Amputee's Guide to Sex
  • Blood and Sand
  • I Hardly Ever Wash My Hands: The Other Side of OCD
  • Scars Tell Stories: A Queer and Trans (Dis)ability Zine
  • My Poets
  • Mankiller: A Chief and Her People
  • A Thousand Bayonets
  • Red Dirt: Growing Up Okie
  • Nothing About Us Without Us: Disability Oppression and Empowerment

Share This Book