Young Adult Lit/Crit

April 23, 2008

Give a Boy a Gun

Filed under: Look What I'm Reading for Book Club! — ebrazee @ 4:59 pm

I read Give a Boy a Gun by Todd Strasser after our last class. About a school shooting, just like Endgame, I found it to be more interesting than Endgame was for me. Give a Boy is written from the points of view of the parents, guidance counselor, a few teachers, friends and neighbors – and even the tormentors – of the two shooters. This multi-faceted story telling made for a quick read and I couldn’t put it down. The book is divided into chapters about each shooter separately, and each grade 7 thru 10, and one titled The Day It Happened. There are also parts of each shooter’s suicide note throughout the book, and they appear in full form at the end. I thought Strasser did an excellent job at conveying their anger and confusion and hopelessness in the letters.

The Introduction and Postscript are narrated by one of the shooter’s stepsister. In the introduction she sets up the perface for the book; she conducts interviews herself in attempt to better understand what happened and how and why. Even though this book is 8 years old, the facts at the bottom of almost every page are still stunning; I imagine some of the statistics are now worse. At the end of the book there is a list of school shootings that occurred while the book was in the works (a startling 19 in less than a year!)

Although you can probably guess at the ending of this book since it’s about a school shooting incident, there is a surprise ending. And it’s pretty gruesome… but good.

This is Karen’s book so I’ll be returning it to her at tomorrow’s class unless of course someone wishes to read it next.



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