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Bad Boy Paperback – 19 Aug 2002

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Product details

  • Paperback: 224 pages
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Children's Books; Reprint edition (19 Aug. 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0064472884
  • ISBN-13: 978-0064472883
  • Product Dimensions: 12.7 x 1.1 x 18.1 cm
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,126,277 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description

In his own words...As a boy, Walter Dean Myers was quick-tempered and physically strong, always ready for a fight. He also read voraciously-he would check out books from the library and carry them home, hidden in brown paper bags in order to avoid other boys' teasing. He aspired to be a writer. But growing up in a poor family in Harlem, his hope for a successful future diminished as he came to realize fully the class and racial struggles that surrounded him. He began to doubt himself and the values that he had always relied on, attending high school less and less, turning to the streets and his books for comfort.In a memoir that is gripping, funny, and ultimately unforgettable, Walter Dean Myers travels back to his roots in the magical world of Harlem during the 1940s and 1950s. Here is the story of one of the strongest voices in young people's literature today.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 177 reviews
25 of 26 people found the following review helpful
By readaway - Published on
Format: Paperback
Please be aware of these two books with VERY SIMILAR TITLES- One by Walter Dean Myers, Bad Boy: A Memoir, the other- Bad Boy by Olivia Goldsmith. As I was looking at the reviews of Myers' book, I was caught off-guard by the numerous negative comments regarding his writing. After further investigation, it seems that many are commenting on Goldsmith's book. Just a heads up for those writing and reading these reviews.
22 of 25 people found the following review helpful
A child's life in 1940's Harlem 19 July 2001
By Eileen G. - Published on
Format: Hardcover
This is a straightforward and workmanlike autobiography by a prolific writer of works for young readers, and is probably best for kids as young as eight through young teens. Myers' voice is calm and reflective. He has looked back on the vanished world of his 1940's and 50's Harlem childhood and adolescence with a deceptive calmness, and a pleasing recall of detail. School, friends, teachers, family life, community life, and (not insignificantly to Myers, a voracious reader) the covers and contents of pulp novels and magazines, as seen through a child's eyes - are all here.
Some of the more disturbing facts of his young life are reported on in a deadpan manner that at first seems almost flat. In one emblematic incident, a well-meaning teacher asks him his career plans, and upon hearing that Myers hopes to become a lawyer, flat-out tells him he can't, since he has a speech defect.
Myers made trouble, and he matter-of-factly tells why. Kids will appreciate his thoughtful explanations and self-understanding. But Myers was also a reader - not just for escape, but for the love of literature- and he lets us in that that process (and its consequences to his social life), too.
The chapters "Bad Boy," "I Am Not the Center of the Universe," and "Stuyvesant High" are particularly useful for their descriptions of important and formative experiences.
This is a story that is told humbly. It lacks melodrama not because Myers' early life was dull, but because Myers is a quiet writer; he trusts himself and his legions of young readers. He invites them in this quiet memoir to enter his quite remarkable experiences - and to form their own opinions. I enjoyed this sensitive (but not humorless) story very much, and came away with renewed interest and respect for its author.
Completely worthwhile.
10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
A good book for teens. 26 Nov. 2002
By A Customer - Published on
Format: Paperback
The book Bad Boy by Walter Dean Myers is a memoir of the author's life. Set mostly in Harlem, the book follows Myers' troublesome childhood and the challenges he faced with his family life, his adoption, and his behavior. Though a bright child, he had a quick temper and a speech problem. This got him into many bad situations and unfortunately partly led to his "downfall" in school.
In Bad Boy, I loved how the setting of the book is in Harlem, where I have visited many times. I am familiar with many of the places he "relaxed" in and feel connected to him somehow. The book is wonderfully written and shows that in the end, even a "troubled" boy can succeed. The author was adopted by Herbert and Florence Myers and many times talks about his and biological and natural families in the book. He gets the Dean in his name from his biological father and the Myers in his name from his adoptive father. The book shows the world of poverty, something that I am not acquainted with at all. It showed me that everyone does not have the things that us "middle class" kids have. All in all, he was raised in a bad situation, but turned out good in the end. In a teenager's view, parents are wrong. Period. In reality, they are only wrong sometimes, not all the time, or, just don't understand. In the end of the book on page 205, his father says, "You wrote stories when you were a boy. You're a man, now." This shows that his father didn't understand his passion for writing, and thought that writing was not "man's work".
I believe there were many small themes in the book. Bad Boy highlighted racism, teenage hood, and poverty just to name a few. As an African American teenager, I have experienced some, but not all of the things he has. I think that the main theme of the book is misunderstanding. When he spent all his time reading and writing his mother didn't understand him. When he skipped school, no one really understood him and he was sent to a social worker. Racism is product of misunderstanding. Even now, I don't understand why he skipped school, but then again, I haven't been adopted, or live in Harlem, or have a passion for reading. I have not walked in his shoes. That is one of the reasons I read this book, so that I could see what his life was like. So that I could enter an unfortunate teenager's life and realize that I am truly blessed.
All in all, this book is one of the best books I have read. I would recommend it too anyone in the hallway at school, or passers by on the sidewalk. His writings are geared toward children and teenagers, so it is a more appealing book to that group than to adults, but adults should read this too. Maybe they can venture into the life of a teenager, or a child in poverty. Maybe they can remember their childhood and how the world was so different then.
A lot can be learned from this book, but I think that the most important thing is the acceptance of ideas and others.
6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
love of books; love of writing 23 July 2002
By SW - Published on
Having written short biographies of Malcolm X and other public figures, Myers recounts his own experience growing up in Harlem in the 1940's-60's. Myers apparently missed the turmoil facing the African-American community in Harlem during the time of Malcolm X. It is a soft spoken voice with which he describes his experiences and conflicts.
The author describes his high school experience in a mostly white school; his athletic ability and love of basketball which helped him be accepted to some degree; and the frustration over the conviction that he was intelligent yet not able to earn the grades he knew he should. He divided all his spare time between playing basketball, reading for pleasure and writing-he would disappear for hours into the worlds his favorite authors created and/or trying to produce poems in the style of the various poets he was reading.
The beauty of this memoir is that Myers not only relates his own experience, his own frustrations, his opportunities and disadvantages, but he describes his growing love for literature, from reading pop romance novels aloud to his mother and sneaking comic books, through Nordic fairytales. Later he was introduced to higher quality literature by teachers who took an interest in him; they introduced him to Camus and de Balzac and Shakespeare, and a wide variety of other authors. Myers eventually became aware of the legacy of Langston Hughes and James Baldwin and other black writers, although he did not know about them until much later.
Myers' story should inspire young adults of teenage to pursue their interests, even if their friends do not understand them.
Hearing Myers' experiences related on audio brings them alive.
Actor Joe Morton (who also read an excellent version of Monster on tape) gives the teenage Walter Dean Myers a voice.
26 of 36 people found the following review helpful
By Nick G - Published on
Format: Hardcover
Tracie Higgins is a writer in a dead-end relationship with a musician. Jon is a work-aholic who can't get ANY KIND OF relationship. These two young people are good friends, and every Sunday night thet get together for coffee, and to talk about their problems.
Jon gets an idea, he can have Tracie transform him into a heartbreaker, the kind of guy women fall all over. At first Tracie thinks the idea is silly, but she does agree to help her friend. What ensues is a hysterical journey of expensive haircuts, the latest fashions, and very bad pick-ups ( the airport scene being one of the funniest).
As the two continue with the scheme, they realize they both MAY have found the right each other.
"Bad Boy" is another funny read from Olivia Goldsmith. Ms. Goldsmith has the knack of churning out fresh, funny, and totally un-putdownable novels.
Readers will undoubtly root for true love to prevail, once they have caught their breath from laughing so hard.
Nick Gonnella
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