New York Times bestselling author Walter Dean Myers traveled back to his roots in this memoir that is gripping, funny, and ultimately unforgettable. Don’t miss this memoir by a former National Ambassador of Books for Young People!
As a boy, Myers was quick-tempered and physically strong, always ready for a fight. He also read voraciously—he would check out books from the library and carry them home, hidden in brown paper bags in order to avoid other boys' teasing. He aspired to be a writer (and he eventually succeeded).
But as his hope for a successful future diminished, the values he had been taught at home, in school, and in his community seemed worthless, and he turned to the streets and to his books for comfort.
Here, in his own words, is the story of one of the most important voices of our time.
Myers paints a fascinating picture of his childhood growing up in Harlem in the 1940s, with an adult's benefit of hindsight. His previous 145th Street: Short Stories conveys a more vivid sense of day-to-day life on Harlem's streets, and readers learn little here of the effects of global events (such as WWII). What they will come away with is a sense of how a gifted young man, both intellectually and athletically, feels trapped in his own mind as he tries to find a place for himself in the world. Some insightful teachers make a huge difference in his life: a fifth-grade teacher who avails Walter of her classroom library; his sixth-grade teacher, Mr. Lasher, who recognizes the boy's leadership qualities; and a high school English teacher who spots him outside the guidance counselor's office and says, "Whatever happens, don't stop writing." Perhaps the most poignant and carefully crafted chapter involves the 16-year-old's thought process in response to his guidance counselor's question, "Do you like being black?" Throughout the volume, Myers candidly examines the complexities of being black in America, from his first exposure to slavery in a seventh grade American history class, to the painful realization in adolescence that his blond, blue-eyed best friend is invited to parties where Walter is not welcome. Other chapters sometimes feel haphazard (a foreshadowing of Walter's discovery that his father is illiterate, for example, undercuts a powerful later scene that explores this more fully). What emerges is a clear sense of how one young man's gifts separate him from his peers, causing him to stir up trouble in order to belong. Fortunately, this bad boy turned out to be a fine writer. Ages 12-up.
Customer ReviewsSee All
What a book (by Ziyon)
This book is a memory about a boy named Walter. The story starts off by talking about his family and how different it is from most. His biological mother died so his father re-married. After that happened his father had 2 other girls with her. Her family, however, didn't like that she was married to an African American, she was forced to leave him. When she took her daughters, she also took Walter in. This is hard for him at times. The book then goes on to tell about his life and going through school in a white community. He ends up going to high school 2 years earlier than most kids would, and finds himself getting into a lot of trouble. When he's about ready to finish high school he makes a decision to go into the army at age 16. Of course, he has to lie and say his parents are dead though. He goes through a depressing time and he wants to quit writing until one day he writes a poem and it gets published. Then he goes on the rest of his life being an author. His writing style is more personal than anything. He writes his story from his point of view on his life. He doesn't care what people think about him being black, or him being and excelled students. He just wants to live his life. I like him for that reason. I like the characters thoughts though on life.
I this book so much. Very funny, inspirational, and thoughtful! I give this 2 up :) BRAVO! Lol
No point to this book at all -.-