Young Adult Lit/Crit

February 17, 2008

Bad Boy by Walter Dean Myers

Filed under: Look What I'm Reading for Book Club! — traverse02 @ 7:45 pm

Since I was unable to attend class Thursday, I thought I would share some of my thoughts on Myers’ memoir, Bad Boy, which I read for book club last week. It’s a very intimate portrait of the author as a young man growing up in Harlem circa 1940-1950 who comes from a very diverse background (his family tree, described in full detail at the beginning is very confusing). The young Myers was a ne’er-do-well, constantly getting in trouble at school, getting in fights with gangs, etc. but he was a young boy of substance whose imagination was captured by the written word at a very young age. Throughout the text he cites many works of literature that influenced him in his adolescence and offered him escape from a confusing and sometimes hostile urban environment. His rich reading life and uncommon attitude towards his culture and background lead him down a path of self-discovery and self-formation that is truly powerful. It is a very quick and easy read. I highly recommend this and would encourage everyone to add it to their list of reading for this important month. I will be returning it to Karen in class this week for anyone who is interested.



  1. Hi Raph, glad you liked the Myers’ memoir. I think you’ll like Crutcher’s as well. KES

    Comment by sunyprof — February 18, 2008 @ 7:38 am

  2. Raph,
    I’m really glad to hear about this book! My kids are on this big nonfiction kick right now, and that’s one of the books I bought for my classroom that I haven’t read yet. One of the kids snatched up right after I brought it in. I’ll have to read it when I get it back!

    Comment by katefrazer — February 18, 2008 @ 8:37 pm

  3. Raph,
    Good to know about this memoir. Walter Dean Myers has made quite a name for himself. Would you say that this is because he had such a rich reading life? Does he say anything in his memoir about the influences that turned him into an author?
    I am currently reading his book Monster for book club this week. It’s good so far. Very creative. It is told in the form of a screenplay, which I have mixed feelings about. I thought I would loose some of the aspects of scene, setting, and the nuances of the characters as told by the narrator. You really don’t lose any of this. The book is certainly outside of my comfort zone, since it reads more like a play than anything. Have you read this book? It looks at how young criminals get themselves into trouble. I’ll let you know what I think when I finish reading it!


    Comment by allison — February 19, 2008 @ 8:36 am

  4. Allison,

    Sorry for the very late reply, but yes, he mentions many of the books that influenced him. In fact, entire sections of text describe them in pretty thorough detail (as far as how they affected him). Let me know what you thought of Monster.


    Comment by traverse02 — February 26, 2008 @ 10:08 pm

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