Sunday, May 1, 2016

Monster, by Walter Dean Myers

Sixteen year-old Steve Harmon is a young man who loves making films, and he’s actually starring in his latest production.  It’s the story of how he became involved in a robbery plot that went bad, and resulted in the death of an innocent shopkeeper.  Steve is now sitting in the courtroom, on trial and facing a possible life sentence.  The scariest part of Steve’s movie?  The story is all happening in real life.

One of the best things about this book is the creative format.  By presenting the story as a screenplay rather than as a traditional novel, we get a much better insight into how Steve views the world.  It’s almost as if the stress of being on trial for his life has caused Steve to step out of his body, and now he analyzes the proceedings with all the excitement of a dispassionate bystander. 

SPOILER:  Another thing that I appreciated was the fact that Mr. Myers never really told us whether or not Steve was truly innocent.  That was a very interesting plot device, since I found myself feeling sympathy for a young man who may very well have played a crucial role in this murder.  “Monster” is a highly-charged but thoughtful read, and I’d be very happy to recommend it.

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