Today’s First Line Friday is a different sort of novel. It is a young adult novel that deals with some tough issues. It is also written like a screenplay. I hope to read it soon and as I glance through it, I think it would be a quick read that will make you think. Sadly, as I was preparing this post I found out that the author passed away in 2014 and that there was also a movie filmed in 2016, that is coming to the theaters this month! I could not find much information on it other than it is being released on January 22nd and is an indie-film. At the time that I put together this post I could not find the movie trailer for it. I hate that the author never got to see his novel come to the full screen.
The best time to cry is at night, when the lights are out and someone is being beaten up and screaming for help.
Sometimes I feel like I have walked into the middle of a movie. Maybe I can make my own movie. The film will be the story of my life. No, not my life, but of this experience. I’ll call it what the lady who is the prosecutor called me. Monster.
Fade In: Interior Court. A guard sits at a desk behind Steve. Kathy O’Brien, Steve’s lawyer, is all business as she talks to Steve.
Let me make sure you understand what’s going on. Both you and this king character are on trial for felony murder. Felony Murder is as serious as it gets. . . . When you’re in court, you sit there and pay attetion. You let the jury know that you think the case is a serious as they do. . . .
You think we’re going to win ?
It probably depends on what you mean by “win.”
Sixteen-year-old Steve Harmon is on trial for murder. A Harlem drugstore owner was shot and killed in his store, and the word is that Steve served as the lookout.
Guilty or innocent, Steve becomes a pawn in the hands of “the system,” cluttered with cynical authority figures and unscrupulous inmates, who will turn in anyone to shorten their own sentences. For the first time, Steve is forced to think about who he is as he faces prison, where he may spend all the tomorrows of his life.
As a way of coping with the horrific events that entangle him, Steve, an amateur filmmaker, decides to transcribe his trial into a script, just like in the movies. He writes it all down, scene by scene, the story of how his whole life was turned around in an instant. But despite his efforts, reality is blurred and his vision obscured until he can no longer tell who he is or what is the truth. This compelling novel is Walter Dean Myers’s writing at its best.