Written by Walter Dean Myers


I enjoyed reading this book a lot more than I expected to. As any typical high school student I assumed that any book I am forced to read for English will be a drag and unenjoyable. Much to my surprise though I could relate to this book on many different levels considering the circumstances the main character is put through. Since there are many levels to this book there are many different people in my life I would recommend this book to. First of all, it is a very quick and easy read considering the writing style of the book being a movie script and journal entries. I finished the 280 pages in one day, I don’t expect everyone to be able to do that but it does represent how quickly it can be read. In that case, I would recommend this story to anyone looking for a fast read that will keep their attention the whole time. I recognize that this is a very general recommendation but it is genuine in the sense that anyone can read it and anyone could relate to it. The content of the book is also something that any individual in our society can recognize as being a problem of our judicial system and the blurred line of racism we still accidentally cross over occasionally. In light of cases like Travon Martin I think all citizens have an obligation to be informed and explore these cases our country faces of assuming that many African American men are guilty before being proved that way.

In a more specific recommendation though I feel like any teenager who has felt misunderstood and judged harshly with no solid evidence can relate to the main character Steve in this book. I can think of quite a few friends of mine who specifically need to read a story like this. I say need because many individuals think of themselves as alone in their struggles and need to recognize that they are not alone in the issue of being judged harshly and misunderstood. I feel as though almost all teenagers will go through a point in time like this due to the fact that it is a period of time where we are told to be ourselves before we really even know who we are. When we hear that others don’t see us exactly like we see ourselves, it is disheartening to say the least. Ones view of them self is suddenly called into question as they begin to ask if they are seeing themselves in the right way. Steve struggles with this idea over the title of the book after he is called this in court. He in no way sees himself as a monster but since somebody else does he has to ask if this is how everyone sees him. This is not how he wants to be viewed but assumes that it is too late after being associated with this case. This word follows him through the entire book as he calls into question the view of his character in other people’s eyes.

Word Count: 515

"The dream took place in the courtroom. I was trying to ask questions and nobody could hear me. I was shouting and shouting but everyone went about their business as if I wasn't there." (P.59)

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(Above) A drawing of the murder of the clerk of the store during the robbery.

"It's funny, but when I'm sitting in the courtroom, I don't feel like I'm involved in the case. It's like the lawyers and the judge and everybody are doing a job that involves me, but I don't have a role." (p. 52)

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