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

Yummy by G. Neri
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's review
Jan 29, 2011

it was amazing
bookshelves: african-american, boys, family-drama, middle-school, real-life, teens, urban, graphic-novel

Roger, an eleven-year-old living in a rough neighborhood in Chicago, narrates this fictionalized examination of real-life murderer and murder victim Robert “Yummy” Sandifer. Yummy is being raised by his grandmother who watches many of her grandchildren and doesn’t have time to give him enough attention. Yummy often skips school to rob convenience stores and commit other petty crimes; as he grows older these crimes escalate into burglary and auto theft. When he’s eleven he seeks out the attention of the Black Disciples, the gang who rules his neighborhood. Since children Yummy’s age can’t be convicted of felonies the Disciples welcome him eagerly; his first gift from his new “family” is a loaded gun. The youth is a bad shot, and while trying to scare rival gang members off the block he accidentally shoots and kills his and Roger’s classmate, Shavon Dean. The neighborhood and the nation become increasingly riled-up as police try to locate Yummy. The Black Disciples grow tired of the constant attention and kill Yummy in an empty rail tunnel.

The author and illustrator of this heart-wrenching story do an excellent job of portraying Roger and Yummy’s world. Despite the sparse backstory and simple black-and-white graphics, even minor characters feel fully realized. The story is well paced; the emotion, action, and intensity build with each turn of the page. Teens and adults alike will find much to think about as Roger tries to piece together who Yummy really was and why his path was so tragic.

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