by Walter Dean Myers
March 23, 2017
Contrasts and Contradictions
As I read, I find myself definitely trying to figure out exactly who Steve Harmon is, and I notice several contrasts and contradictions. For example, when I read his journal, I can feel how scared he really is. He absolutely hates being in jail. He also is really hurt by the label of "Monster" that the prosecutor places on him. On the one hand, I don't want to believe he is a Monster. Steve seems like a kid who would sit right next to me in class. However, when I heard what Steve is on trial for--being the lookout in a robbery that actually took a guy's life--it's hard for me to look at him in the same way. Is he a good kid who made a bad choice? Is he a tough guy wannabe looking for a rep? Is he a teenager who's doing what we're all doing, trying to figure out who we are? I'm just not sure.
March 24, 2017
Reading the first few pages of the book certainly brought about a tough question in my mind, and that question is this: How could a teenager ever endure being in jail? Steve's description of how it's best to cry at night when someone else is being beaten so that your cries cannot be heard really shocked me. It showed me the harsh reality of life behind prison walls. He also talked about bloody fights and the embarrassment of having to do everything in front of everyone else, even go to the bathroom. I found myself wondering what Steve could have done to find himself in this situation. I also was intrigued by the different format of the text and how it goes from Steve's handwritten journal to the film script. I've never read a book set up like this and it will be interesting to see if the format affects my reading and ultimately, how my tough question will be answered as the book proceeds.
March 26, 2017
The more I read, the more I'm starting the realize the importance of all the little flashbacks Steve is having. I can tell they are very intentional little pieces that give readers insight into who he is. For example, when I first read about the rock-throwing incident when Steve was 12, I was kind of confused. What was the point of that? But the more I considered it, the more I began to realize how that piece of his past showed him being the type of kid who doesn't take responsibility for his actions. Is this the same way he is now at 16? Is that part of the reason why he's finding himself on trial for his life? In another one, Steve was hanging out with King, Peaches, and Freddy. Not only was one of the characters doing drugs, but the conversation centered around robbing a store. I found myself wondering what in the world is Steve Harmon doing hanging out with this crowd? These flashbacks are definitely helping me understand who he is.