Kandace's Reviews > Monster

Monster by Walter Dean Myers
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's review
Jan 18, 2009

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bookshelves: african-american
Read in January, 2009

Students have been requesting this book as long as I've been in education (just a few years). I was glad to finally read it and see what all the interest is about.

Written in a film script format, 16 year old Steve Harmon tells the story of the trial that may change his life forever. Accused of abetting a murder in Harlem, Steve relays the fears of prison life and the affects that his lifestyle and relationships have on his new found reality.

The writing style and format of reknowned author Walter Dean Myers makes for a quick and engaging read. The topic is of high interest to young urban students, providing a haunting and sometimes too familiar feel. Myers creatively explores the socially sensitive topics of peer pressure and youth crime. The protagonist Steve admits on page 146 that "it wasn't a matter of race."

Myers also addresses the psychological discoveries the mind toys with when confronted with life changing realities. While awaiting his jury trial, Steve tries to convince himself that everything will be all right and comes to a realization. "We lie to ourselves here. Maybe we are here because we lie to ourselves (pg. 203)." This provokes critical thought concerning the power the mind plays in one's perspective of reality.

Monster provides many leaping off points for discussion with older students concerning serious and often controversial themes confronting today's inner city youths.

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