Monster (英語) ペーパーバック – イラスト付き, 2001/5/8
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“A riveting courtroom drama that will leave a powerful, haunting impression on young minds.” (Publishers Weekly (starred review))
“A novel that in both form and subject guarantees a wide teen audience.” (Horn Book (starred review))
“A riveting novel with breathless, edge-of-the-seat courtroom scenes. Taut and moving.” (Kirkus Reviews)
“The sheer authenticity of the novel and its presentation are disquieting—and totally riveting.” (Boston Globe-Horn Book Award Committee)
“The drama of the situation and the ethical questions raised will keep the audience not just reading but thinking.” (Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books)
"A fascinating portrait of a terrified young man wrestling with his conscience. The tense drama of the courtroom scenes will enthrall readers, but it is the thorny moral questions raised in Steve’s journal that will endure in readers’ memories.”
“Monster is a subtle and provocative novel about what it means to be alive in our time.” (Riverbank Review)
“Riveting. An emotionally charged story that readers will find compelling and disturbing." (School Library Journal)
"The youthful, vulnerable voice will draw in YA readers, boys and girls.” (Voice of Youth Advocates (VOYA))
Walter Dean Myers was the New York Times bestselling author of Monster, the winner of the first Michael L. Printz Award; a former National Ambassador for Young People's Literature; and an inaugural NYC Literary Honoree. Myers received every single major award in the field of children's literature. He was the author of two Newbery Honor Books and six Coretta Scott King Awardees. He was the recipient of the Margaret A. Edwards Award for lifetime achievement in writing for young adults, a three-time National Book Award Finalist, as well as the first-ever recipient of the Coretta Scott King-Virginia Hamilton Award for Lifetime Achievement.
Walter Dean Myers used Steve's script as part of the story, which allows Steve to see himself as an observer as well as what he knows is true. Readers don't know if the allegations are true or false, although his white lawyer seems to think he's guilty. Steve isn't like the three others involved in the robbery/murder. He's thoughtful and creative with dreams beyond his Harlem neighborhood. He does seem to lack insight, if he's guilty of being the lookout.
Myers superbly gives readers messages, with subtlety. Where lesser writers tell, he shows through nuance. He makes me think and feel. In one of the most poignant lines in MONSTER, Steven muses that his younger brother can't visit him in the adult prison, and if he was not an inmate, he too would be unable to visit. That one sentence spoke volumes to me about the juvenile justice system and made my heart ache. Another strong moment was Steve's lawyer's reaction to the verdict.
MONSTER is an important story not just about justice, but also about race and judging young black men on stereotypes rather than as individuals.
A budding filmmaker, much of his journal is written in the form of a screenplay. In addition to documenting the trial, Steve includes flashbacks relating the events in the weeks leading up to his arrest. Through his writing, Steve attempts to negotiate his own identity with the perception of public, which has labeled him a ‘monster’.
Recipient of the Michael L. Printz Award, Monster was also recognized as a Coretta Scott King Award Honor Book and National Book Award Finalist. This is undoubtedly due to Myers’ ability to capture the complex character and feelings of Steve and reveal the flaws in a criminal justice system which relies on the dehumanization of the accused. Monster will leave readers wondering the impact of a single decision and questioning what it really means to be a good person in the real world.
Reviewed by Grayce Jones
For me, the appeal of this book lies with how the question of Steve’s innocence or guilt is intentionally ambiguous. Like the jurors, the reader has to weigh the evidence and decide whether Steve is innocent or guilty and if he is guilty, of what exactly? (The book does not go into as much detail about this, but it is set in NYC in the 90’s when Rudy Giuliani was the mayor known for being tough on crime. “Acting in Concert” clauses in the penal code meant that you didn’t necessarily have to be the one who pulled the trigger to be charged with murder.)
The book has a very unique and interesting writing style. The story is told from Steve’s point of view but the narration switches back and forth between a screenplay format and diary entries. It also switches between the courtroom, jail and flashbacks to Steve's childhood. The screenplay format can be distracting at first and takes some getting used to, but it actually is quite effective in conveying imagery and as his trial ensues, it adds to the the drama. Some parts of his trial are riveting and read like an episode of Law and Order and his diary entries from jail are very sobering. The awards and accolades that this book has received are well-deserved. This is not your typical "overrated/overhyped" urban fiction novel.
This is what 16-year old Steven Harmon is thinking as he lies on the cot in his jail cell, awaiting trial for murder. He may or may not have been involved in a drugstore robbery that ended with the murder of the owner. He is terrified of being in jail and of the possibility he may have to spend the next 25 years in prison. To help himself cope, he is writing down everything in his notebook in screenplay format. The novel covers the trial and ends with the verdict.
Without spoiling the story, I can tell you that I walked away at the end not knowing for sure if Steve was guilty or not. I can say that I felt a strong connection to Steve and that I wanted him to not be guilty. I felt sorry for his innocence and for the fact that he grew up around criminals. Just being acquainted with these people put him in a bad position. The author clearly portrays the fear and anxiety that Steve is feeling. Being trapped and being out of control, relying on his attorney, the jury and the judge to decide the rest of his life... As Steve says, many times, he is not a bad person, he is not a monster.
Can I say WOW! This story drove home the point that one small event or one small error in judgment or even being in the wrong place at the wrong time or being "friends" with the wrong people can change your life forever. Reading this book could be life changing for young people.
This is my daughter's summer reading assignment. She is going into 8th grade. I really hope she gets as much out of this book as I did.
Although this author is great at creating "real" characters in real situations,it's a tough book for many of my kids to stay focused in. Many kids get frustrated about the switches between narrative/screenplay writing, there are a lot of characters to keep track of, and for someone unfamiliar with courtroom terminology (and screenplay terminology) it can be a bit of a tedious read. It is an interesting story though, I think it just needs to be approached in the right mindset that it's not a Walter Dean Myers story you can just breeze through.
Physically, the books are not very strongly bound; unless you have only 1 or 2 people reading it, it's liable to fall apart in large sections as soon as the binding comes even a little loose (like if you open the pages flat on a hard surface when you read).
I liked that this book brought up so many issues that are ripe for discussion. Is it ethical to offer criminals deals or plea bargains in exchange for testifying against other criminals? Are black people treated unfairly in the criminal justice system? Did Steve commit the crime or not? For this reason, this book would make an excellent book club selection for a teenage or adult book club.
Walter Dean Myers, who died on July 1, 2014, was a prolific writer, having published over 100 books for children and teenagers. His books have won many, many awards. Monster won a Coretta Scott King Honor Award and was a National Book Award Finalist. I’ll probably never read all of his backlist but after reading this book, I definitely want to give it a shot.
Above all there is another problem, and that is Steve has absolutely no idea why three guys are testifying to him being a part of the "stick-up" gone bad. Throughout the book he is constantly going back and forth while trying to figure out: what is going on, what should he say, how should he respond to the prosecution, what had he done that twenty second day of December a few months ago? All of these things are piled up in his mind, while trying to reason why someone innocent like him is even mixed up in this. This is a good story that explores the life of a criminally accused person, and what jail is really like. Monster is a good book for adolescent readers everywhere to read, consider, debate, and analyze.
Now personally I thought the book was just ok. The style with which it was written just did not captivate me. The story needs to have been written like a book or be made into movie format as an actual movie (not a cross between the two). I also wondered if the author had some inside first-hand experience with what jail is like for him to write such a detailed book about the ordeal. Just something to consider (not saying he's been or that he's a bad person).
The book was a good book, however, if it had not been for my Literature for Adolescents class I probably would never have gone out of my way to pick it up and read the book Monster. It is just not the normal kind of book I would read. I was pleased to be surprised with how well it turned out.
"The best time to cry is at night, when the lights are out and someone is being beaten up and screaming for help."
the story is told from the perspective of ...more i picked this book up not really knowing what to expect and it was definitely a surprise. it started off a little disjointed, got a little better in the middle and got to be a page-turner at the end, so i'm glad i picked it up. the opening line gives a great idea of what kind of power this book holds.
"The best time to cry is at night, when the lights are out and someone is being beaten up and screaming for help."
the story is told from the perspective of 16 year old Steve Harmon, on trial for felony murder for allegedly acting as a lookout in a robbery where the store owner was shot and killed. through his obvious fear of the situation, we become his audience, his jury, and are left to determine his guilt.
as an aspiring film maker, Steve tells his story in a screenplay fashion, complete with scene fades, camera close ups and voice overs. the style took some time to get used to, but it did work, for the most part. between the script, we are given some more personal insight into his life through journal entries detailing his thoughts regarding the trial.
"The movie is more real in so many ways than the life I am leading. No, that's not true. I just desperately wish this was only a movie."
the bulk of the story is spent in the courtroom, as we follow the proceedings, but it is written in a clear and simple way that isn't overly complicated. the few moments that are reflections of his time in jail are powerful statements of what it means to be incarcerated, without being too graphic.
"They take away your shoelaces and your belt so you can't kill yourself no matter how bad it is. I guess making you live is part of the punishment."
although there are a lot of side characters in the guards, lawyers, and witnesses, it's clear throughout that the focus is entirely on Steve. he comes across as a quiet kind of kid, just trying to make it through life in Harlem, passionate about his film-making and uncertain about his own future. we watch as he questions his own moral fiber, unsure if he is fact the Monster that the prosecution claims him to be.
although it had a rough start, i did enjoy this book and would recommend it to anyone interested in what it would mean to be a juvenile on trial. my only complaint is that there could have been more substance, more depth in Steve's journal entry moments. i think this could have given us more of a connection to the character, although that may have been against the author's intentions. i can see how this was written with the intention that the reader is there, as an impartial juror would be, left to our own decisions based on the information presented.
regardless, this would make for excellent reading in a classroom setting and is an excellent attempt to tackle race issues and violence in our society.
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