The Bookworm Belle: Monster by Walter Dean Myers

“Sometimes I feel like I have walked into the middle of a movie," said Steve Harmon, a teenage boy who was on trial for murder in Monster by Walter Dean Myers. Besides The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian, Monster may be one of my all-time favorite works of adolescent literature. Unlike traditional narratives, Monster is written in the form of screenplays with some diary-like entries mixed in. Through this narrative technique, the reader gets a first-hand look into the life of Steve as he awaits his sentence of guilty or innocent. This novel raises a lot of moral questions because both the theme of racial stereotyping and the idea of a fair justice system are at the center of the plot. The ending of Monster is also open to interpretation, which allows for a different analysis by each reader.

Why you should read it: Monster is both a fun read and a novel that will keep you up at night because it asks a lot of important questions about the world around us. There have been many real trials similar to that of the fictional trial Steve faces in Monster, and as the reader, you'll find yourself both fighting for and against Steve. The screenplay and diary narrative will keep you hooked as the plot progresses with every turn of the page. You'll start reading Monster because of the interesting plot, and you'll keep reading to find out what happens. This book truly has it all, so get reading!

From the back cover: “This New York Times bestselling novel and National Book Award nominee from acclaimed author Walter Dean Myers tells the story of Steve Harmon, a teenage boy in juvenile detention and on trial. Presented as a screenplay of Steve's own imagination and peppered with journal entries, the book shows how one single decision can change our whole lives.

Fade In: Interior: Early Morning In Cell Block D, Manhattan Detention Center.

Steve (Voice-Over)

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 prosecutor called me... Monster."

Next time, I'll be reviewing my last book for the Spring 2014 semester, The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Annie Barrows and Mary Ann Shaffer. You'll travel miles across the Atlantic Ocean as you become consumed with a story of friendship and love just after World War II.

HC xo,The Bookworm Belle