Jennifer Conner's Reviews > Monster

Monster by Walter Dean Myers
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's review
Feb 22, 2011

it was ok
bookshelves: engl-492
Read in April, 2011

"The best time to cry is at night, when the lights are out and someone is being beaten up and screaming for help." This is a line from Steve Harmon's journel during his stay in prison. "Monster" is the story of young Steve Harmon's experience in jail and in the courtroom. Steve is on trial for being an accessory to a robbery/murder. In this book, the reader gains Steve's firsthand experience in a prison cell. During his stay in prison, Steve begins writing a film script about the trial. The book alternates between his personal journal and his film script. The reader encounters the fears and emotions that a person who is facing a prison sentence experience while being tried.
I didn't really enjoy reading this book. I wasn't able to identify with the main character at all. The author never portrayed the actual robbery in the book, so as a reader, I didn't know who to believe. This made it very difficult for me to "root" for Steve in the trial. I didin't find him a reliable narrator at all. I found myself just reading the book, because I had to for class. I know that Myers has won many awards, three for this book. However, I did not enjoy his writing style at all. I found it confusing how he jumped from scene to scene throughout the book. It took me a while to figure out who each of the characters were because they were not clearly explained at the beginning of the novel. Sometimes this approach works. However, in this novel, I felt that it did not work.
I would not teach this book in a classroom. I think a story such as this one dealing with a youth on trial would be beneficial to some students, however, I have read other stories that are more teachable. I wouldn't force my students to read a book that I had trouble making it through myself.
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