Jono Jones's Reviews > Yummy: The Last Days of a Southside Shorty

Yummy by G. Neri
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Mar 23, 11

Read in January, 2011

It is 1994 and a gang-related murder in Southside Chicago’s Roseland district is the talk of the nation. 11-year-old Robert “Yummy” Sandifer is hiding from police and his own gang, the Black Disciples Nation, after accidentally murdering a 14-year-old neighbor, Shavon Dean, while hunting down a rival gang member to satisfy a gang initiation rite. Robert, a fictional classmate, recalls and contrasts Yummy’s toughness with his childlike nature (teddy bear, taste for sweets), composing a biographical portrait of a young boy inevitably drawn to gang life as an opportunity to succeed. The narrative focuses on the three days between the murder and when Yummy is gunned down, silenced by his own gang. Based upon true events surrounding the sensational case that made the cover of Time, the story is unflinching in its grim depiction of inner-city poverty and the harsh realities affecting the African-American community. Randy DuBurke’s expressive black and white illustrations display little or no gray shading, illustrating the stark conditions that foster heart-breaking tragedies such as this.
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