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Anger and Forgiveness"Are You There Alone?"10 Good Questions about Life and DeathA Casebook of Ethical Challenges in NeuropsychologyA Companion to BioethicsA Companion to BioethicsA Companion to GenethicsA Companion to GenethicsA Companion to Muslim EthicsA Cooperative SpeciesA Critique of the Moral Defense of VegetarianismA Delicate BalanceA Fragile LifeA Life for a LifeA Life-Centered Approach to BioethicsA Matter of SecurityA Mirror Is for ReflectionA Mirror Is for ReflectionA Natural History of Human MoralityA Philosophical DiseaseA Practical Guide to Clinical Ethics ConsultingA Question of TrustA Sentimentalist Theory of the MindA Short Stay in SwitzerlandA Tapestry of ValuesA Very Bad WizardA World Without ValuesAction and ResponsibilityAction Theory, Rationality and CompulsionActs of ConscienceAddiction and ResponsibilityAddiction NeuroethicsAdvance Directives in Mental HealthAfter HarmAftermathAgainst AutonomyAgainst BioethicsAgainst HealthAgainst MarriageAgainst Moral 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IdentitiesDeaf Identities in the MakingDeath Is That Man Taking NamesDebating ProcreationDebating Same-Sex MarriageDecision Making, Personhood and DementiaDecoding the Ethics CodeDefining DifferenceDefining Right and Wrong in Brain ScienceDefining the Beginning and End of LifeDelusions of GenderDementiaDemocracy in What State?Demons of the Modern WorldDescriptions and PrescriptionsDesert and VirtueDesire, Practical Reason, and the GoodDestructive Trends in Mental HealthDeveloping the VirtuesDid My Neurons Make Me Do It?Difference and IdentityDigital HemlockDigital SoulDignityDignityDisability BioethicsDisability, Difference, DiscriminationDiscrimination against the Mentally IllDisordered Personalities and CrimeDisorders of VolitionDisorientation and Moral LifeDivided Minds and Successive SelvesDoes Feminism Discriminate against Men?Does Torture Work?Doing HarmDouble Standards in Medical Research in Developing CountriesDown GirlDrugs and JusticeDworkin and His CriticsDying in the 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ScienceEthics and the A PrioriEthics and the Discovery of the UnconsciousEthics and the Metaphysics of MedicineEthics at the CinemaEthics at the End of LifeEthics Case Book of the American Psychoanalytic AssociationEthics Done RightEthics ExpertiseEthics for EveryoneEthics for PsychologistsEthics for the New MillenniumEthics in CyberspaceEthics in Everyday PlacesEthics in Health CareEthics In Health Services ManagementEthics in Mental Health ResearchEthics in PracticeEthics in PsychiatryEthics in PsychologyEthics in Psychotherapy and CounselingEthics of PsychiatryEthics without OntologyEthics, Culture, and PsychiatryEthics, Sexual Orientation, and Choices about ChildrenEvaluating the Science and Ethics of Research on HumansEvilEvil GenesEvil in Modern ThoughtEvil in Modern ThoughtEvolution, Gender, and RapeEvolutionary Ethics and Contemporary BiologyEvolutionary Psychology and ViolenceEvolved MoralityExperiments in EthicsExploding the Gene MythExploiting ChildhoodFacing Human SufferingFact and ValueFacts and ValuesFaking ItFalse-Memory Creation in Children and AdultsFat ShameFatal FreedomFellow-Feeling and the Moral LifeFeminism and Its DiscontentsFeminist Ethics and Social and Political PhilosophyFeminist TheoryFinal ExamFirst Do No HarmFirst, Do No HarmFlashpointFlesh WoundsForced to CareForgivenessForgivenessForgiveness and LoveForgiveness and ReconciliationForgiveness and RetributionForgiveness is Really StrangeFoucault and the Government of DisabilityFoundational Issues in Human Brain MappingFoundations of Forensic Mental Health AssessmentFree WillFree Will And Moral ResponsibilityFree Will and Reactive AttitudesFree Will, Agency, and Meaning in LifeFree?Freedom and ValueFreedom vs. InterventionFriendshipFrom Darwin to HitlerFrom Disgust to HumanityFrom Enlightenment to ReceptivityFrom Morality to Mental HealthFrom Silence to VoiceFrom Valuing to ValueFrontiers of JusticeGender in the MirrorGenetic PoliticsGenetic ProspectsGenetic ProspectsGenetics of 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am Not Sick I Don't Need Help!I Was WrongIdentifying Hyperactive ChildrenIf That Ever Happens to MeImproving Nature?In Defense of FloggingIn Defense of SinIn Love With LifeIn Our Own ImageIn the FamilyIn the Land of the DeafIn the Name of IdentityIn the Wake of 9/11In Two MindsInclusive EthicsInformed Consent in Medical ResearchInnovation in Medical TechnologyInside Assisted LivingInside EthicsIntelligence, Race, and GeneticsIntensive CareInto the Gray ZoneIs Human Nature Obsolete?Is Long-Term Therapy Unethical?Is There a Duty to Die?Is There an Ethicist in the House?Issues in Philosophical CounselingJudging Children As ChildrenJust a DogJust BabiesJust CareJustice for ChildrenJustice for HedgehogsJustice in RobesJustice, Luck, and KnowledgeJustifiable ConductKant on Moral AutonomyKant's Theory of VirtueKids of CharacterKilling McVeighLack of CharacterLack of CharacterLaw and the BrainLearning About School ViolenceLearning from Baby PLeaving YouLectures on the History of Political 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Brain Made Me Do ItMy Sister's KeeperMy Sister's KeeperMy WayNano-Bio-EthicsNarrative MedicineNarrative ProsthesisNatural Ethical FactsNatural-Born CybogsNaturalized BioethicsNeither Bad nor MadNeoconservatismNeonatal BioethicsNeurobiology and the Development of Human MoralityNeuroethicsNeuroethicsNeuroethicsNew Takes in Film-PhilosophyNew Waves in EthicsNew Waves in MetaethicsNietzsche on Ethics and PoliticsNo Child Left DifferentNo Impact ManNormative EthicsNormativityNothing about us, without us!Oath BetrayedOf War and LawOn ApologyOn Being AuthenticOn EvilOn Human RightsOn The Stigma Of Mental IllnessOn the TakeOn Virtue EthicsOn What MattersOn What We Owe to Each OtherOne ChildOne Nation Under TherapyOne World NowOne World NowOur Bodies, Whose Property?Our Bodies, Whose Property?Our Daily MedsOur Faithfulness to the PastOur Posthuman FutureOut of EdenOut of Its MindOut of the ShadowsOverdosed AmericaOxford Handbook of Psychiatric EthicsOxford Studies in Normative EthicsOxford Studies in Normative Ethics, Volume 7Oxford Textbook of Philosophy of PsychiatryPassionate DeliberationPatient Autonomy and the Ethics of ResponsibilityPC, M.D.Perfecting VirtuePersonal AutonomyPersonal Autonomy in SocietyPersonal Identity and EthicsPersonalities on the PlatePersonhood and Health CarePersons, Humanity, and the Definition of DeathPerspectives On Health And Human RightsPharmaceutical FreedomPharmacracyPharmageddonPhilosophy and This Actual WorldPhilosophy of BiologyPhilosophy of Technology: The Technological ConditionPhysician-Assisted DyingPicturing DisabilityPilgrim at Tinker CreekPlaying God?Playing God?Political EmotionsPornlandPowerful MedicinesPractical Autonomy and BioethicsPractical EthicsPractical Ethics for PsychologistsPractical RulesPragmatic BioethicsPragmatic BioethicsPragmatic NeuroethicsPraise and BlamePreferences and Well-BeingPrimates and PhilosophersPro-Life, Pro-ChoiceProcreation and ParenthoodProfits Before People?Progress in BioethicsProperty in the BodyProzac As a Way of LifeProzac on the CouchPsychiatric Aspects of Justification, Excuse and Mitigation in Anglo-American Criminal Law Psychiatric EthicsPsychiatry and EmpirePsychological Concepts and Biological PsychiatryPsychology and Consumer CulturePsychology and LawPsychotropic Drug Prescriber's Survival GuidePublic Health LawPublic Health Law and EthicsPublic PhilosophyPunishing the Mentally IllPunishmentPursuits of WisdomPutting Morality Back Into PoliticsPutting on VirtueQuality of Life and Human DifferenceRaceRadical HopeRadical VirtuesRape Is RapeRe-creating MedicineRe-Engineering Philosophy for Limited BeingsReason's GriefReasonably ViciousReckoning With HomelessnessReconceiving Medical EthicsRecovery from SchizophreniaRedefining RapeRedesigning HumansReducing the Stigma of Mental IllnessReflections on Ethics and ResponsibilityReflections On How We LiveReframing Disease ContextuallyRefusing CareRefuting Peter Singer's Ethical TheoryRelative JusticeRelativism and Human 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Monster by Walter Dean Myers is an engrossing and thought provoking novel about a young man on trial for murder. The novel is constructed in the form of a film script detailing the progress of a trial with occasional flashbacks.
Monster is set in Harlem and Manhattan. Steve Harmon, the 16-year old African-American protagonist, is on trial for felony murder. On December 22nd at about 4:30pm, Alguinaldo Nesbitt, a 55-year old man from St Kitt, is shot and killed during the robbery of his drugstore in Harlem. The register was emptied and a number of cartons of cigarettes were stolen. Harmon and James King, a 23-year old man, were arrested and are now on trial. The novel describes Harmon's experience during the twelve days of the trial both at the courthouse and in the Manhattan Detention Center. Through Harmon's eyes reader gets to meet the lawyers, court officers, the witnesses, and Harmon's various cellmates. Suspense is kept right up to the very last page when the verdict is finally read.
The novel is a murder trial from the prisoner's point of view. Unlike court cases shown in the movies and on television, this trial has no glitz…no glamour. There are no crusaders for justice facing off hordes of evil to see justice done. There are no heroic detectives turning over every last leaf to find the definitive shred of evidence revealing the protagonist's innocence. The conditions of the cells are portrayed as squalid and the prison environment is filled with assorted dangerous, violent, and lust-filled predators. The witnesses are not always the most stellar, up-standing citizens and included a drug dealer, a car thief, and a number of prison "moles" in it to cut a deal for a reduced sentence. Harmon's lawyer while upbeat, only half-heartedly believes he will get off. The lawyers, in general, are portrayed as sharp game players out to win their case. The judge, the jurors, and the court officers are portrayed as bored by the proceedings or more interested in their own personal lives. Except for the protagonist and his family, few of the characters are emotionally invested in the trial. It is a sad, but I imagine a realistic picture of the legal process where for all but the defendant, it is just another day on the job in the legal system.
Walter Dean Myers is the author of more than 75 books for young people. Myers was born in West Virginia but raised in Harlem. His autobiography which was written for young people is entitled, Bad Boy: a Memoir (2002). He has received many awards, including National Endowment of the Arts grant (1982 & 1989); the MacDowell Fellowship (1988); American Library Association (ALA) Margaret A. Edwards Award for Lifetime Achievement in Writing for Young Adults (1994), and ALAN Award (1994). Many of his books have received awards including, Where Does the Day Go? (1968 Council on Interracial Books for Children Award); The Dancers (1972 Child Study Association of America's Children's Books of the Year); Fast Sam, Cool Clyde and Stuff (1975 ALA Notable Children's Books List); Ain't All for Nothin' (1978 ALA Notable Children's Books List, 1978 ALA Best Books For Young Adults List); The Young Landlords (1980 Coretta Scott King Award, 1979 ALA Notable Children's Books List, 1979 ALA Best Books For Young Adults List); Legend of Tarik (1982 Notable Children's Trade Book in the Field of Social Studies from the National Council for Social Studies and the Children's Book Council, 1981 ALA Notable Children's Books List,1981 ALA Best Books For Young Adults List); Hoops (1994 Margaret A. Edwards Award, 1982 Edgar Allan Poe Award runner-up, 1982 ALA Notable Children's Books List, 1982 ALA Best Books For Young Adults List); Won't Know Til' I Get There (1982 Parents' Choice Foundation Award); Tales of a Dead King (1983 New Jersey Institute Technology Authors Award); The Outside Shot (1984 Parents' Choice Foundation Award); Motown (1985 Coretta Scott King Award); Didi (1985 Coretta Scott King Award); Adventure in Granada (1987 Child Study Association of America's Children's Books of the Year); Fallen Angels (1989 Coretta Scott King Award, 1988 Parents' Choice Foundation Award, 1988 ALA Best Books For Young Adults List); Me, Mop, and the Moondance Kid (1988 ALA Notable Children's Books List); Scorpions (1989 Newbery Honor Book, 1988 ALA Notable Children's Books List, 1988 ALA Best Books For Young Adults List); Now Is Your Time (1992 Coretta Scott King Award,1992 ALA Best Books For Young Adults List); Somewhere in the Darkness (1993 Newbery Honor Book, 1993 Coretta Scott King Award,1993 ALA Notable Children's Books List, 1993 ALA Best Books For Young Adults List,1992 Boston Globe/Horn Book Award,); Malcolm X (1994 Coretta Scott King Award); Slam! 1997 Coretta Scott King Award; Harlem (1998 Caldecott Honor Book, 1998 Coretta Scott King Award, 1998 ALA Best Books For Young Adults List); and Monster (1999 Michael L. Printz Award, 1999 Coretta Scott King Author Honor Award, and 1998 National Book Award Finalist). Mr. Myers lives in New Jersey with his family. Shooter (2004) is his latest novel.
Monster by Walter Dean Myers is a well written novel. It is the winner of the Michael L. Printz Award, the Coretta Scott King Author Honor Award, and a finalist for the National Book Award Finalist. It is a stiff warning on the consequences of getting involved in illegal activities. It should be mandatory reading for every young person. The book is recommended for Grade 8 and up. I highly recommend this book.
© 2004 Su Terry
Su Terry: Education: B.A. in History from Sacred Heart University, M.L.S. in Library Science from Southern Connecticut State College, M.R.S. in Religious Studies/Pastoral Counseling from Fairfield University, a M.Div. in Professional Ministry from New Brunswick Theological Seminary, a Certificate in Spirituality/Spiritual Direction from Sacred Heart University. She is a Licensed Minister of the United Church of Christ and an Assistant Professor in Library Science at Dowling College, Long Island, NY.
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