Whenever I reread Walter Dean Meyer’s book Monster, I tell myself this is the last time, I will never read this again, but inevitably I do, sometimes it is for a class I’m teaching or some current event or just because I really like the unique way that this book is laid out as a movie screenplay, but whatever the reason, I find myself quickly sucked in and getting angry. I don’t know if other people have this problem, but when I read, I quickly become invested in the lives of the characters, to the point where I have heard way too many times from my husband, hey it’s just a book. I know that but the idea behind the book is real. Sixteen-year-old Steve Harmon is on trial for murder, he was acting as the lookout during a robbery, and the owner of the store was shot and killed. During the trial it comes out that multiple witnesses, who themselves are criminals, have cut deals to turn against Steve. There are many moral questions raised in the book, even beyond the obvious one of guilt versus innocence; but peer pressure is brought into play, the concept of justice, and racism with racial profiling having a role, Steve is African American. Steve is even labeled as a monster, even though his actions were only those of a lookout. What really makes this book stand out though is the ending, it doesn’t come with a wrapped up ending, with a big bow that says now you know how Steve’s life is going to turn out. This is an award winning book, but it often gets poor reviews and many of them point to the ambiguity of the ending. I think Walter Dean Myers does this on purpose, the book is not just about Steve, but about the reader also, what verdict would the reader give and why.

Published by Sarah BooksBeforeBandaids