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  Grade 10 Reviews
  Monster by Walter Dean Myers

Review by: Danielle T.
Pennsylvania, Grade 10

The book Monster by Walter Dean Myers is about a 16 year old boy named Steven Harmon. He is accused of being involved in a robbery of a drug store in which the owner was killed during the crime. If he is found guilty, he faces at least 20 years in prison. This book takes place during the trial. Myers tells this story in a very different way. Steven’s hobby is film making so he tells the story in the format of a screenplay with scripts and camera angles. The film Steven writes has flashbacks that go from when he was a child, and lead up to the trial. Steven includes “notes” along with the screen play. There are kind of like diary entries that give insight into what the main character is thinking that we otherwise wouldn’t have with just the screenplay.

Throughout the trial the characters are presented as the testimonies that take place. In them, we learn about the events leading up to the trial. The boys who testified said that Steven was supposed to go into the store to “check things out” before Richard “bobo” Evans and James kind were supposed to go into the store to commit the crime. Osvaldo Cruz was supposed to stand outside the store to stall anyone who tried to stop them. We learn later though that the only reason people testified against him was because they were all serving time for separate crimes, and were offered a break from their sentencing if they gave the police information. The defense attorneys of James King and Steven Harmon use the fact that the witnesses are probably un-reliable sources to try to win the case.

I thought that the book would have been better if it had not been written in the format of a screenplay. Myers adds descriptions of where the camera would be at and where the actors would be if it was a movie. These descriptions are often confusing and annoying to read. I think they take away from the actual story. I liked the plot and the story and probably would have liked the story better if it was written form an omniscient, or first person point of view. That way the reader would have known more about the characters and they way they were acting, instead of just reading what they were saying. I would give this book three out of five stars.

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