Friday, January 30, 2015

Monster by Dean Walter Myers

"Sometimes I feel like I have walked into the middle of a movie.  Maybe I can make my own movie.  The film will be the story of my life.  No, not my life, but of this experience.  I'll call it what the lady who is the prosecutor called me. MONSTER."

Sixteen-year-old Steve Harmon is on trial for taking part in a convenience story robbery that ended in murder.  The novel is told through a combination of a movie screenplay and journal entries written by Steve to reflect on his experiences.  Steve is on trial with a young man named James King, who is being put on trial for the murder, and two others who have entered into a deal by pleading guilty.  As the trial continues, Steve reflects on the events leading up to the trial and on his feelings dealing with the possibility of the death penalty.  Steve also faces discrimination against him throughout the trial due his race and other stereotypes.  Even though witnesses claim that Steve was a look out for the robbery, he is eventually found innocent.

I really enjoyed this book.  It was an engaging story and one that I would normally not pick up on my own.  I loved that the novel was written in a screenplay format and also included journal entries.  This allowed the author to give a very unique insight to what was happening during the trial and in Steve’s mind.  The book was easy to read, but including a lot of complex themes and brought up many questions.  I also found it interesting the author does not come out and say if Steve was involved in the trial and leaves readers to draw their own conclusions.  

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