Nancy's Reviews > Bad Boy: A Memoir

Bad Boy by Walter Dean Myers
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Feb 01, 2011

it was amazing
Read in February, 2011

What a surprise! What a find! I got Walter Dean Myers' memoir "Bad Boy" for fifty cents in the kids' section at a church rummage sale Saturday. I thought I was buying it to add to my small, yet growing, classroom library. And many of my students have read Myers' "Monster."

Though kids might enjoy learning more about Myers because they've read his work, I'm not sure they'll appreciate the very thing in the book that I loved: Myers' thoughtful exploration of identity, in particular, the identity of one who is a writer.

Myers is painfully honest about growing up in the 1940s and 1950s in Harlem as a bit of a "wild child." Though he was an avid reader and eventually a writer, school wasn't his thing. His identity as a reader and writer made him feel isolated from those around him, including his parents. And he struggled to figure out how race---Myers is African American---made him who he was and who he wanted to become.

Myers' writing at the beginning of the book is uncomplicated. As he chronicles his growing up, the writing becomes more complex, something that contributed greatly to how much pure pleasure I got from reading "Bad Boy."

Because of "Bad Boy," I know I've got to read more of Myers' work---I read "Monster." And I urge readers to do the same.

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