|Basic InformationMore InformationLatest NewsQuestions and AnswersLinksBook Reviews|100 Things Guys Need to Know3 NBS of Julian DrewA Guide to Asperger SyndromeA Tribe ApartA User Guide to the GF/CF Diet for Autism, Asperger Syndrome and AD/HDA Walk in the Rain With a BrainAdolescence and Body ImageAdolescent DepressionAfterAggression and Antisocial Behavior in Children and AdolescentsAll Alone in the UniverseAmelia RulesAmericaAnother PlanetAntisocial Behavior in Children and AdolescentsArtemis FowlAssessment and Treatment of Childhood Problems, Second EditionAutistic Spectrum DisordersBad GirlBetween Two WorldsBeyond AppearanceBeyond Diversity DayBig Mouth & Ugly GirlBill HensonBipolar DisordersBody Image, Eating Disorders, and ObesityBody Image, Eating Disorders, and Obesity in YouthBoyBoysBrandedBreaking PointBreathing UnderwaterBringing Up ParentsBullying and TeasingCan't Eat, Won't EatCatalystChild and Adolescent Psychological DisordersChildren Changed by TraumaChildren with Emerald EyesChildren’s Dreaming and the Development of Consciousness City of OneConcise Guide to Child and Adolescent PsychiatryConquering the Beast WithinContentious IssuesCrackedCutDancing in My NuddypantsDemystifying the Autistic ExperienceDescartes' BabyDilemmas of DesireDirtyDoing ItDoing SchoolDying to Be ThinEating an ArtichokeEducating Children With AutismElijah's CupEllison the ElephantEmerald City BluesEmotional and Behavioral Problems of Young ChildrenEvery Girl Tells a StoryFast GirlsFeather BoyFiregirlForever YoungFreaks, Geeks and Asperger SyndromeFreewillGeography ClubGeorgia Under WaterGirl in the MirrorGirlfightingGirlsourceGirlWiseGLBTQGood GirlsGoodbye RuneGranny Torrelli Makes SoupGrowing Up GirlHandbook for BoysHealing ADDHeartbeatHelping Children Cope With Disasters and TerrorismHelping Parents, Youth, and Teachers Understand Medications for Behavioral and Emotional ProblemsHollow KidsHow Children Learn the Meanings of WordsHow to Keep Your Teenager Out of Trouble and What to Do If You Can'tHug MeIntrusive ParentingIt's Me!It's Perfectly NormalJake RileyJoey Pigza Swallowed the KeyJuvenile-Onset SchizophreniaKeeping the MoonKilling MonstersKim: Empty InsideKnocked Out by My Nunga-NungasLaura Numeroff's 10-Step Guide to Living with Your MonsterLearning About School ViolenceLeo the Lightning BugLet Kids Be KidsLiberation's ChildrenLife As We Know ItLisa, Bright and DarkLittle ChicagoLord of the FliesLoserLove and SexLove That DogManicMastering Anger and AggressionMind FieldsMiss American PieMom, Dad, I'm Gay.MonsterMore Than a LabelMyths of ChildhoodNew Hope for Children and Teens with Bipolar DisorderNo Two AlikeNot Much Just Chillin'Odd Girl OutOdd Girl Speaks OutOn the Frontier of AdulthoodOne Hot SecondOne in ThirteenOphelia SpeaksOphelia's MomOur Journey Through High Functioning Autism and Asperger SyndromeOut of the DustOvercoming School AnxietyParenting and the Child's WorldParenting Your Out-Of-Control TeenagerPediatric PsychopharmacologyPeriod PiecesPhobic and Anxiety Disorders in Children and AdolescentsPINSPraising Boys WellPraising Girls WellPretty in PunkPrincess in the SpotlightProblem Child or Quirky Kid?Psychotherapy As PraxisPsychotherapy for Children and AdolescentsRaising a Self-StarterRaising BlazeRaising Resilient ChildrenReclaiming Our ChildrenRedressing the EmperorReducing Adolescent RiskRethinking ADHDReweaving the Autistic TapestryRineke DijkstraRitalin is Not the Answer Action GuideRunning on RitalinSay YesSexual Teens, Sexual MediaSexuality in AdolescenceShooterShort PeopleShould I Medicate My Child?Skin GameSmackSmashedStaying Connected to Your TeenagerStick FigureStoner & SpazStop Arguing with Your KidsStraight Talk about Your Child's Mental HealthStrong, Smart, & BoldStudent DepressionSurvival Strategies for Parenting Children with Bipolar DisorderSurviving OpheliaTaking Charge of ADHD, Revised EditionTaming the Troublesome ChildTargeting AutismTeaching Problems and the Problems of TeachingTeen Angst? NaaahThat SummerThe American Psychiatric Publishing Textbook Of Child And Adolescent PsychiatryThe Arctic IncidentThe Bipolar ChildThe Buffalo TreeThe Bully, the Bullied, and the BystanderThe Carnivorous CarnivalThe Depressed ChildThe Developing MindThe Dragons of AutismThe Dream BearerThe Dulcimer Boy The Einstein SyndromeThe EpidemicThe Eternity CubeThe Explosive ChildThe Field of the DogsThe First IdeaThe Identity TrapThe Inside Story on Teen GirlsThe Little TernThe Mean Girl MotiveThe Men They Will BecomeThe Myth of LazinessThe New Gay TeenagerThe Notebook GirlsThe Nurture AssumptionThe Opposite of InvisibleThe Order of the Poison OakThe Other ParentThe Present Moment in Psychotherapy and Everyday LifeThe Real Truth About Teens and SexThe Rise and Fall of the American TeenagerThe Secret Lives of GirlsThe Sex Lives of TeenagersThe Shared HeartThe Spider and the BeeThe StepsThe Thought that CountsThe Unhappy ChildThe Vile VillageThe Whole ChildThen Again, Maybe I Won'tTherapy with ChildrenThings I Have to Tell YouTouching Spirit BearTrauma in the Lives of ChildrenTreacherous LoveTrue BelieverTwistedUnhappy TeenagersWay to Be!We're Not MonstersWhat about the KidsWhat Would Joey Do?What's Happening to My Body? Book for BoysWhat's Happening to My Body? Book for GirlsWhen Nothing Matters AnymoreWhen Sex Goes to SchoolWhen Your Child Has an Eating DisorderWhere The Kissing Never StopsWhose America?Why Are You So Sad?WinnicottWorried All the TimeYes, Your Teen Is Crazy!You Hear MeYoung People and Mental HealthYour Child, Bully or Victim?
by Walter Dean Myers
Review by Su Terry on Jul 29th 2004
Monster by Walter Dean Myers is an engrossing and thought provoking novel about a young man on trial for murder. The novel is constructed in the form of a film script detailing the progress of a trial with occasional flashbacks.
Monster is set in Harlem and Manhattan. Steve Harmon, the 16-year old African-American protagonist, is on trial for felony murder. On December 22nd at about 4:30pm, Alguinaldo Nesbitt, a 55-year old man from St Kitt, is shot and killed during the robbery of his drugstore in Harlem. The register was emptied and a number of cartons of cigarettes were stolen. Harmon and James King, a 23-year old man, were arrested and are now on trial. The novel describes Harmon's experience during the twelve days of the trial both at the courthouse and in the Manhattan Detention Center. Through Harmon's eyes reader gets to meet the lawyers, court officers, the witnesses, and Harmon's various cellmates. Suspense is kept right up to the very last page when the verdict is finally read.
The novel is a murder trial from the prisoner's point of view. Unlike court cases shown in the movies and on television, this trial has no glitz…no glamour. There are no crusaders for justice facing off hordes of evil to see justice done. There are no heroic detectives turning over every last leaf to find the definitive shred of evidence revealing the protagonist's innocence. The conditions of the cells are portrayed as squalid and the prison environment is filled with assorted dangerous, violent, and lust-filled predators. The witnesses are not always the most stellar, up-standing citizens and included a drug dealer, a car thief, and a number of prison "moles" in it to cut a deal for a reduced sentence. Harmon's lawyer while upbeat, only half-heartedly believes he will get off. The lawyers, in general, are portrayed as sharp game players out to win their case. The judge, the jurors, and the court officers are portrayed as bored by the proceedings or more interested in their own personal lives. Except for the protagonist and his family, few of the characters are emotionally invested in the trial. It is a sad, but I imagine a realistic picture of the legal process where for all but the defendant, it is just another day on the job in the legal system.
Walter Dean Myers is the author of more than 75 books for young people. Myers was born in West Virginia but raised in Harlem. His autobiography which was written for young people is entitled, Bad Boy: a Memoir (2002). He has received many awards, including National Endowment of the Arts grant (1982 & 1989); the MacDowell Fellowship (1988); American Library Association (ALA) Margaret A. Edwards Award for Lifetime Achievement in Writing for Young Adults (1994), and ALAN Award (1994). Many of his books have received awards including, Where Does the Day Go? (1968 Council on Interracial Books for Children Award); The Dancers (1972 Child Study Association of America's Children's Books of the Year); Fast Sam, Cool Clyde and Stuff (1975 ALA Notable Children's Books List); Ain't All for Nothin' (1978 ALA Notable Children's Books List, 1978 ALA Best Books For Young Adults List); The Young Landlords (1980 Coretta Scott King Award, 1979 ALA Notable Children's Books List, 1979 ALA Best Books For Young Adults List); Legend of Tarik (1982 Notable Children's Trade Book in the Field of Social Studies from the National Council for Social Studies and the Children's Book Council, 1981 ALA Notable Children's Books List,1981 ALA Best Books For Young Adults List); Hoops (1994 Margaret A. Edwards Award, 1982 Edgar Allan Poe Award runner-up, 1982 ALA Notable Children's Books List, 1982 ALA Best Books For Young Adults List); Won't Know Til' I Get There (1982 Parents' Choice Foundation Award); Tales of a Dead King (1983 New Jersey Institute Technology Authors Award); The Outside Shot (1984 Parents' Choice Foundation Award); Motown (1985 Coretta Scott King Award); Didi (1985 Coretta Scott King Award); Adventure in Granada (1987 Child Study Association of America's Children's Books of the Year); Fallen Angels (1989 Coretta Scott King Award, 1988 Parents' Choice Foundation Award, 1988 ALA Best Books For Young Adults List); Me, Mop, and the Moondance Kid (1988 ALA Notable Children's Books List); Scorpions (1989 Newbery Honor Book, 1988 ALA Notable Children's Books List, 1988 ALA Best Books For Young Adults List); Now Is Your Time (1992 Coretta Scott King Award,1992 ALA Best Books For Young Adults List); Somewhere in the Darkness (1993 Newbery Honor Book, 1993 Coretta Scott King Award,1993 ALA Notable Children's Books List, 1993 ALA Best Books For Young Adults List,1992 Boston Globe/Horn Book Award,); Malcolm X (1994 Coretta Scott King Award); Slam! 1997 Coretta Scott King Award; Harlem (1998 Caldecott Honor Book, 1998 Coretta Scott King Award, 1998 ALA Best Books For Young Adults List); and Monster (1999 Michael L. Printz Award, 1999 Coretta Scott King Author Honor Award, and 1998 National Book Award Finalist). Mr. Myers lives in New Jersey with his family. Shooter (2004) is his latest novel.
Monster by Walter Dean Myers is a well written novel. It is the winner of the Michael L. Printz Award, the Coretta Scott King Author Honor Award, and a finalist for the National Book Award Finalist. It is a stiff warning on the consequences of getting involved in illegal activities. It should be mandatory reading for every young person. The book is recommended for Grade 8 and up. I highly recommend this book.
© 2004 Su Terry
Su Terry: Education: B.A. in History from Sacred Heart University, M.L.S. in Library Science from Southern Connecticut State College, M.R.S. in Religious Studies/Pastoral Counseling from Fairfield University, a M.Div. in Professional Ministry from New Brunswick Theological Seminary, a Certificate in Spirituality/Spiritual Direction from Sacred Heart University. She is a Licensed Minister of the United Church of Christ and an Assistant Professor in Library Science at Dowling College, Long Island, NY.