Module 5: Monster

Module 5: Monster

Myers, W.D. (2001). Monster. New York: Amistad.

Summary

This is the story of a 16 year-old who has been accused of being a part in a fatal shooting. The book is written in movie script format and tells the story of Steve Harmon and his time in prison and the courtroom after being accused of being a lookout for a fatal convenience store robbery. The book examines the issue from all sides and details the emotions Steve goes through during the tragic event.

What Did I Think?

This book is realistic, sad and eye-opening. It allows the reader to examine their beliefs as they get to know Steve and his role in the fatal shooting. The book challenges the reader to be both a juror and a witness and is presented in an engaging way. It is almost like watching a movie unfold as you read about different moments in time throughout the book. Overall it is an excellent book to examine difficult issues that young adults are faced with today. It connects the reader to a place that is real and gives a real-life look at what happens when choices are made.

Reviews

From Kirkus Reviews

PLB 0-06-028078-6 In a riveting novel from Myers (At Her Majesty’s Request, 1999, etc.), a teenager who dreams of being a filmmaker writes the story of his trial for felony murder in the form of a movie script, with journal entries after each day’s action. Steve is accused of being an accomplice in the robbery and murder of a drug store owner. As he goes through his trial, returning each night to a prison where most nights he can hear other inmates being beaten and raped, he reviews the events leading to this point in his life. Although Steve is eventually acquitted, Myers leaves it up to readers to decide for themselves on his protagonist’s guilt or innocence. The format of this taut and moving drama forcefully regulates the pacing; breathless, edge-of-the-seat courtroom scenes written entirely in dialogue alternate with thoughtful, introspective journal entries that offer a sense of Steve’s terror and confusion, and that deftly demonstrate Myers’s point: the road from innocence to trouble is comprised of small, almost invisible steps, each involving an experience in which a “positive moral decision” was not made. (illustrations, not seen) (Fiction. 12-14) — Copyright ©1999, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved. –This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

Library Lesson

A candidate for a book talk with high school aged students, Monster gives readers a realistic view to what can happen, even when you might be innocent. Students could examine that topic as they look at real court cases where the accused were found innocent. It could also be a springboard to learning about court proceedings and law as an addition to a government class lesson.

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