Thursday, December 16, 2010

Monster--Walter Dean Myers

From the Vault
This review was originally written--handwritten no less--in November 1999 before the Age of Blogs. I'm not editing it at all because I don't believe in tampering with history. For other old reviews, click on the "From the Vault" tag.

Title: Monster
Myers, Walter Dean
genre: Fiction
subjects: Crime, jail, trials, self-perception

Summary: 16 year old Steve Harmon is on trial for felony murder. He's so disturbed by the events of his life that he decides to write it all down like it's a movie. We see the trial through his "screenplay" as he attempts to regain control of his life. 

Critique: Creative in format, Myers's book shows us how easy it is to blur reality and fantasy. Steve sees his life like a movie while he's in jail because it's easier for him to handle it that way. But if he had seen it as reality from the get-go maybe he would never have gotten into the mess. The reader is treated like a jury member, although we have insight to Steve that the jury does not. I did not know how the trial would end until it did. Even knowing the outcome, and with insight into Steve's mind, there is still doubt as to the extent of his involvement. Although a judge and jury determined his guilt or innocence, Steve faces a tougher judge, one who sees him as a monster: himself. 

Recommendation: Yes. 

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