Monday, July 6, 2009

Monster by Walter Dean Myers Review: "Monster" is what the prosecutor called 16-year-old Steve Harmon for his supposed role in the fatal shooting of a convenience-store owner. But was Steve really the lookout who gave the "all clear" to the murderer, or was he just in the wrong place at the wrong time? In this innovative novel by Walter Dean Myers, the reader becomes both juror and witness during the trial of Steve's life. To calm his nerves as he sits in the courtroom, aspiring filmmaker Steve chronicles the proceedings in movie script format. Interspersed throughout his screenplay are journal writings that provide insight into Steve's life before the murder and his feelings about being held in prison during the trial. "They take away your shoelaces and your belt so you can't kill yourself no matter how bad it is. I guess making you live is part of the punishment."

I read this one because it is what Tween is reading in summer school and I was curious. The screenplay format was interesting. The author leaves some question as to whether or not Steve is innocent or guilty. But at some point, I don't care anymore, I decide he is too young to go to prison even if he did participate in the crime. I guess my maternal instincts kick in and I want him to have a second chance. I thought the book seemed realistic - I wonder what actual thugs would say about that. There's all sorts of interesting tidbits about the author at the end including his typical daily schedule that includes getting up at five am for a walk each day, writing five pages, and being back in bed by ten pm each night. Seemed surreal that such a regimented old man could write of such a youthful disaster.

And just for the record, after I agonized about whether or not to give Tween A Child Called It, he turned his nose up at it when I finally did. The assigned summer reading Treasure Island by Robert Louis Stevenson is going to be a battle, I'm dreading it.

1 comment:

bermudaonion said...

I've never read a screenplay and would be interested in it just for that. Sounds like one to make you think.