When I checked this book on cd out from my public library, I was immediately curious about it from its title alone. Monster ended up being a fantastic book with great themes throughout the story.
A young African-american boy, age 16, named Steve Harmon is in jail and is on trial for murder. The thing is, he is actually a pretty good kid who was hanging with the wrong crowd at the wrong time, but he didn’t murder anyone…or did he?
Steve narrates the story as though it is a film in the making; a script written out with scenes and more. He was simply being the “lookout” for a “get over” for a few scummy guys that are older than home and not good men. They hit up a small drug store and end up killing the owner over five cartons of cigarettes and some cash. Steve didn’t physically pull the trigger and he wasn’t physically in the store, so he didn’t kill the guy, right? But that’s just it. He will tell himself that he didn’t do it and he hopes and prays he doesn’t get found guilty beca
use then he’ll do 20 years in prison and he doesn’t think he can handle that. The ending leaves Steve free from prison, and he is relieved, but does he really deserve to be free?
We have to be careful with who we spend our time with, for we are who we hang out with after all. And it’s a lot easier to pull someone down than it is to pull them up. The author says that after he did hundreds of interviews with prisoners who were serial killers and murders, he found that one does not go from a straight up good, innocent person to a killer. Instead, people end up fudging the truth or doing something bad that seems small and once they get away with it, it makes it easier to do something else wrong and then it snowballs.
I enjoyed this book. The way it was written, the dialect and verbiage worked perfectly to make this an appropriate book for young adults. No wonder why it was on the NY Bestseller list and has won the first ever Michael L. Printz award.
Click on the image to visit the author’s Amazon page to find more books written by Myers.
Myers, Walter D. (1999). Monster. New York, NY: Harper.