Young Adult Lit/Crit

February 20, 2008

Sharon Flake vs. Walter Dean Myers

Filed under: Myers/Flake and the YA Short Story — katefrazer @ 3:43 pm

I have just finished Who am I Without Him and I am really interested in discussing the differences between the group of narrators in each book.  While each story focuses on a different character, there seems to be something much more hopeful about Myer’s (even when they are in or causing trouble) than those of Flake.  Which groups is more realistic?  Maybe I can’t give that label to either set of the narrators.  Maybe we can look at different stories and see what’s believable there. 

One thing that I really liked about the Myer’s stories that isn’t in Flake’s is the presence of an older, almost “voice of reason,” such as Mama Evans or John Carroll.  It seemed as though they were able to solve or help a few of the problems the younger people in the stories were experiencing.  While the last Flake story is advice from a father, he doesn’t seem to have the same knowledgeable influence that the others do.  I’ll be interested to hear what you guys think about this.

I read Myer’s stories first, and while at first I didn’t love how each one was connected, by the middle of the book I really liked that.  Then reading Flake after, I missed that.  I guess because the stories seemed similar in some of the content, I was looking for the same connection.  I wonder if I would have felt differently if I read Flake first. 

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1 Comment »

  1. I agree with you about Flake’s characters being more troubled than Myers’. I noted in a few of the stories in the Myers’ book that there was hope for the characters, or that I felt hopeful for them. I do think having a Ma Evans and John Carroll was important because they offered another view of what was happening in the neighborhood.

    Comment by ebrazee — February 21, 2008 @ 12:51 am


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