Quote of the Month

When love and skill work together, expect a miracle. John Ruskin

Monday, November 8, 2010

L is for Lockdown

I think my life is special. In a way it seems odd that I spend all of my time doing only what I love, which is writing or thinking about writing. If everyone had, at least for part of their lives, the opportunity to live the way I do, I think the world would be a better place.

I hope that the next book, story or poem that I write will be worthy of the time the reader spends with it. If it is then my life is successful. If it’s not, then I’ll try again.

With a personal philosophy such as this, it is no wonder that readers have been reaping the benefits for years.  Walter Dean Myers has authored more than 90 books and has at least 16 highly distinguished awards to his credit.  His newest book, Lockdown, is yet another example of literature for young adults that tells it like it is.

Reese, serving time for stealing prescription pads for a drug dealer, is at Progress juvenile facility.  Frequently they are under lockdown but for Reese, once he overcame the fear of not being able to get out, this time also made him feel safe---But after a while, when you got to thinking about it, you knew nobody could get in either.

The reader becomes familiar with several secondary characters; other teens at Progress as well as the warden, Mr. Cintron, and Mr. Pugh, a guard who enjoys his work just a little too much.  Little does Reese know that when he is given the opportunity to participate in a work program at a senior citizen's home, his outlook on his life is going to receive an alteration that it desperately needs.   Mr. Hooft, a resident at the home, is a curmudgeon loaded with prejudice.

But his experiences as a child imprisoned in a war camp lend not only insight into his personality but also give Reese a foundation upon which he can build a survival philosophy.  To survive in Progress Reese must curb his temper, even when fighting to protect a smaller inmate appears to be justified.  To survive on the outside Reese must avoid people who would have him land back in jail. He must stay strong to give his sister, Icy, the chance to realize her dream of attending college.

In Lockdown, Walter Dean Myers, makes the reader feel that they are Reese's shadow, living in his world day by day, wondering what will happen next and whether he will make the right choices.  In Reese's reality life is like walking on a tightrope where focus is everything; one misstep could be the end.  This is realistic fiction at its finest.

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