Saturday, January 3, 2009
Monster (Book Awards Challenge #3 of 10)
Steve Harmon is on trial for murder. In this first person narrative by Walter Dean Myers, Steve describes his stint in prison and also his trial. His prison time in described diary style and his trial is written as a screenplay, written by Steve. It is how he is able to detatch himself enough from the trial to stay sane...he is terrified and only 16 years old. Steve's story is an alarming and heartbreaking look into inner city life - gangs, drugs, violence, crime. It provides a human face for circumstances that many people see only in an abstract way. It is not really a commentary on the criminal justice system although it certainly plays a factor and provides insight into prejudices that are inherant in the system. Steve must wait to see if the jury of his peers will determine he is innocent - the way he sees himself, or if they believe the state prosecutor an decide that he is, in fact, a monster.