Monday, March 19, 2012

Review - 145th Street

Name: 145th Street

Author: Walter Dean Myers

Publisher: Random House Publishers

Date of Publication: 2001

Synopsis: "A salty, wrenching honest collection of stories set on one block of 145th street.  We get to know the oldest resident; the cop on the beat; fine Peaches and her girl Squeezie; Monkeyman; and Benny, a fighter on the way to a knockout. We meet Angela, who starts having prophetic dreams after her father is killed; Kitty, whose love for Mack pulls him back from the brink; and Big Joe, who wants a bang-up funeral while he's still around to enjoy it. Some of these stories are private, and some are the ones behind the headlines. In each one, characters jump off the page and pull readers right into the mix on 1-4-5." -

My Thoughts
This story telling in this book combined light and gritty successfully. Like eating sweet and salty taffy, reading this book was very satisfying. Author Walter Dean Myers takes the reader into a world that is tough but sweet, where the grim violence of every-day survival is tempered with laugh-out loud moments that leave tears streaming down your face.

The writing style was simple and informal. I was introduced to every character like I was meeting them at a community breakfast. And I loved every character in the book - I loved the narrator's description of them.  I loved meeting Kitty whom the narrator described  as such:
"...What's more, everyone liked Kitty because she had one of those bubbling kind of personalities that soon as you met her, you know she was your flavor. Plus, the girl was fine. Not just kind of fine, not just take another look fine, but like, take the batteries out of the smoke alarms when she came by fine".

My favorite story in the book was "The Streak". This story had me laughing out loud from the beginning of the story to the end!  "The Baddest Dog in Harlem" went from funny to heart-wrenchingly sad in the space of one paragraph - it touched me the most, I think, although there were so many other stories that I fell in love with as well.

Great book, great read, highly recommended!

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