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

Yummy by G. Neri
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Sep 07, 11

bookshelves: fiction, graphic-novels, life-and-death, identity, non-fiction, psychology, ya
Read in September, 2011

This is the story of an 11 year old child who kills and is killed. It is based on the true story of gang violence in Southside Chicago in 1994 and is narrated by Roger, a classmate of Robert “Yummy” Sandifer, as he tries to make sense of what happened. Yummy was part of the Black Disciples, and while trying to impress his fellow gang members he accidentally kills a 14 year old girl.

The narration is more of an unemotional news report than an 11 year old trying to understand a tragedy. Still, it succeeded in raising (not answering) questions objectively. Why was this 11 year old child in a position to kill? Was he a monster? Was he just a kid?

Using information from news stories of the time, Neri shows Yummy to be both childlike and hardened. He was neglected and abused by his parents, he carried a teddy bear, he loved candy and cars, he bullied classmates, he committed a felony a month, he was eager to earn respect from other gang members who were like family to him. It doesn’t vilify him nor does it excuse him. Neighbors and experts weigh in on Yummy’s fate, offering different views and reasons for Yummy’s actions and showing that even within the neighborhood touched by his violence opinions were divided. There isn’t really a clear answer.

The illustrations did a good job of conveying the drama of the situation. The expert use of shadows set the mood and the facials expressions created a visceral response. Though occasionally it was difficult to recognize who was who from frame to frame.
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