An interesting and different approach to young adult fiction
"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."
To make the time pass between his next court appearance and the time spent in lockdown, Harmon escapes through his writing. Harmon is an aspiring filmmaker, and he naturally gravitates towards the script format. He writes down the series of events that occur in script format, and also offers narratives or journals on more introspective thoughts that he has. What we are given in the novel is a great mix of the two. There is an obvious distinction between the two different styles and tones, and it makes for a close interaction between the reader and narrator. We get really close in the mind of a character that is not ideal, but is someone with whom we can sympathize. The actual text of the novel is formatted to look like handwriting, which really lends itself to the charade of this being Harmon's actual diary.
The cover of the book
Some seriously acclaimed work
The first few pages of the novel
An example of handwritten text
The script intro of the trial
An example of the script format material
The video above was a project done by a KSU student for Adolescent Literature.
"Monster" in the classroom
Common Core Standard CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.8.3b "Use narrative techniques, such as dialogue, pacing, description, and reflection, to develop experiences, events, and/or characters."
For a writing project, I would have the students develop different variations on the ending of the novel. i.e. if Harmon was actually found guilty, or if he his screenplay became a movie what kind of revisions would be made to his screenplay. Another option would for them to write their own screenplay over an event in their life.
- Reading level: Ages 13 and up
- Paperback: 281 pages
- Publisher: Amistad; Reprint edition (May 8, 2001)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0064407314
- ISBN-13: 978-0064407311