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. 


February 19, 2008

Who Am I Without Him?

Filed under: Myers/Flake and the YA Short Story — ebrazee @ 6:37 pm

I finished 1 of the 2 books for our Lit Circle this week, and enjoyed all of the stories in it.  Judging from the title, I would’ve thought all the shorts had female narrators, but that was not the case.  It was interesting to see the role of girls in relationships from the guy teens’ perspectives, and 1 short is even written from a father’s point of view.  Flake is convincing coming from teenage girls p.o.v. as well as teenage boys, and a grown man.  The dialogue was fitting for each narrator, too.

The fact that there are male as well as female narrators would make this book appealing to either gender in classes. The stories offer teens’ views on relationships, sex, race, economic class and pregnancy. As with any collection of short stories, this was a quick read, and the reader will never feel like they’re waiting for the action/story line to pick up.


Love and War

Filed under: Myers/Flake and the YA Short Story — scrollman @ 6:11 pm

To all of those in the Lit. Circle this week, I’d like to know your thoughts on the Myers book in relation to his contrast of love and war.  I think Myers sets up a very powerful opposition between the love that exists in the African American family, and the insane barbarity of war.  This dichotomy is somewhat ironic, considering the tendency of Americans to criticize black urban culture for its “violence” and to sanction the more extreme forms of violence being carried out in both Afghanistan and Iraq.  Did anyone come to any similar conclusions?


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