Summary: Monster, written by Walter Myers is a uniquely written book. It tells the story of Steve Harmon as he awaits his trial after being accused of murder. Steve was supposed to be just a lookout during a robbery, but things take a turn for the worse, when the owner of the store that was being robbed is shot. So now, Steve, or as the prosecutor calls him, “Monster,” is on trial and is being defended by Kathy O’ Brien, his lawyer. Written by “Steve” in the form of a screenplay, this story about a teenager who made a bad decision one day will have you at the edge of your seat as you await to see Steves fate.
Strengths: This book is modern realistic fiction, but the story and the theme are well connected to todays youth. The main character, Steve, who is put on a trial, for a murder he didn’t commit, but still had a hand in, can be connected to in a way. Mostly by the idea that it is your choices that define who you are, or what you are seen as. In Steves case, a “monster.” All it takes is one bad decision, and it haunts you for the rest of your life, a prevailing and true theme to this story. The author also does a great job with making the reader sympathize with Steve. Steve may not have committed the murder, but he still played a role, and yet, I found myself rooting for Steve to be free.
Connections to Text: When it comes to Maslows hierarchy of needs, one can see Steve struggling in these stages all throughout the text. He feels a need for belonging and esteem when he agrees to be part of the robbery. But when the murder happens and he is thrown in jail, Steves needs hit the need for “safety,” all through the rest of the book. His parents reactions to Steve going to court seems to create a rift between them, especially with his dad. This emotional distance may have a negative output on Steves development in his teenage years.
Myers, W. (1999). Monster. New York: HarperCollins.