Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Module 5: Lockdown

Citation: Myers, W. D., (2010). Lockdown. New York, NY: Amistad.

Summary: Maurice “Reese” Anderson is a fourteen year old boy who has made a wrong choice in life and is in a juvenile prison.  He is serving his time for stealing prescription pads and selling them to a drug dealer.  It is while serving time and being given an opportunity to be in a work program that Reese begins to struggle within himself to get his life back in the right direction.  Luckily for him, he is has a glimmer of hope because he’s not at the larger adult prisons where people serve large amounts of time.  He has a chance to turn his life around but it is difficult because he wants to help out another who is often picked on and he still needs to maintain that tough cover to make it through the daily life in jail.

Impression: Peace and a Teen Read!

I must say this is definitely a teen read because of the struggle that the main character goes through. It can be easily relatable to teenager because they are constantly faced with making decisions that can affect the rest of their lives.  I would not say that I absolutely love this book simply because while reading it I felt that I wanted the story to get somewhere fast, you know get to some point fast or have something really exciting happen.  The story gave a peaceful feeling because you know that that happy ending is coming soon.

Reviews: Myers takes readers inside the walls of a juvenile corrections facility in this gritty novel. Fourteen-year-old Reese is in the second year of his sentence for stealing prescription pads and selling them to a neighborhood dealer. He fears that his life is headed in a direction that will inevitably lead him “upstate,” to the kind of prison you don’t leave. His determination to claw his way out of the downward spiral is tested when he stands up to defend a weaker boy, and the resulting recriminations only seem to reinforce the impossibility of escaping a hopeless future. Reese’s first-person narration rings with authenticity as he confronts the limits of his ability to describe his feelings, struggling to maintain faith in himself; Myers’ storytelling skills ensure that the messages he offers are never heavy handed. The question of how to escape the cycle of violence and crime plaguing inner-city youth is treated with a resolution that suggests hope, but doesn’t guarantee it. A thoughtful book that could resonate with teens on a dangerous path.

Chipman, I. (2009). Lockdown. Booklist, 106(7), 38.

Gr 9 Up--Maurice (Reese) Anderson, 14, stole prescription pads to make easy money for his family. Now he's serving time in a detention center. Working at a nursing home, he meets Mr. Hooft, who tells him that he doesn't like colored people or criminals. An antagonistic relationship quickly develops between them as Mr. Hooft verbally attacks the teen each time he attempts to carry out his duties. But there is greater trouble for Reese back at Progress; his impulsive behavior has left him at odds with the lead guard and the newly arrived gang leader. Now he must control his volatile and sometimes violent behavior when he is provoked as he awaits his appearance before the parole board. His fellow detainees have a wide variety of backgrounds, each offering a thread of connection to readers. Returning to common themes of justice, free will, and consequence, Myers again explores the mind of a young man struggling to survive the streets of Harlem. This latest work, while well written, doesn't achieve the emotional resonance of Paul Volponi's similar Rikers High (Viking, 2010). The characters feel static, and the depictions of the justice system and racial tensions will be familiar to many of Myers's readers. Hooft's incarceration in the Japanese camps during World War II is a somewhat unexpected revelation, but needs more historical background. Though not the author's most powerful work, this book has an audience waiting for it and should be purchased for most collections.

Shoemaker, C. (2010). Lockdown. School Library Journal, 56(2), 118-120.

Use in Library: -A book perfect to booktalk to a high school audience.  Teens are always faced with difficult decisions and at the same time want to maintain a certain image amongst their peers. This book is told from the main character perspective and its reader can make connections to him.  It is also an educational read for teens to get some insight on how their freedoms can be taken away by being locked up in a jail for long periods of time.

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