Friday, March 28, 2008

Street Love, by Walter Dean Myers

Myers, Walter Dean (2006). Street Love. New York: Amistad, 134 pages.

Summary and Evaluation:
Damian, an upper class student headed for the Ivy League, falls for Junice, a girl struggling to keep her family together after her mom goes to prison for dealing drugs. When they meet in the office one day, Damian is eager to get to know this beautiful girl, while Junice is careful to hide her life that she is ashamed of. Against the will of friends and family, each must show what they are willing to sacrifice in order to be together.

Like A Hero Ain't Nothin' but a Sandwich, the language of this book took some getting used to. Told in free verse, the rhythm and style kept changing as each character spoke. But after a little time, I acclimated and found that this form was beautiful. When Damian was hanging out with his guy friends, I felt like I was singing along to a rap. Other times, I was just reading concise angry sentences like when Junice is at family court. "You quote paragraphs and sentences/And laws with numbers and subsections/Will my tears erase them?" When Junice spoke the poetry used vivid imagery. She says that her hands can "crush razor blades and catch sunbeams." Novels in verse also do not tell the whole story. I appreciated the chance to add my own inferences to the story which is something I have not often found in the literature I've read so far. Although I liked the form of the book and I found the plot compelling, I was left disappointed at the end of the book. The ending seemed unrealistic and uncharacteristic of both Damian and Junice.

Booktalk Hook: I would create and memorize a free verse poem of my own that introduces Damian and Junice and their struggle to show their love for each other.

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