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Bad Boy: A Memoir

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In a memoir that is gripping, funny, and ultimately unforgettable, New York Times bestselling author 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 most distinguished writers of young people's literature today. As a boy, Myers was quick-tempered and physically strong, always ready for a In a memoir that is gripping, funny, and ultimately unforgettable, New York Times bestselling author 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 most distinguished writers of young people's literature today. As a boy, 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 while 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 to his books for comfort. Supports the Common Core State Standards.


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In a memoir that is gripping, funny, and ultimately unforgettable, New York Times bestselling author 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 most distinguished writers of young people's literature today. As a boy, Myers was quick-tempered and physically strong, always ready for a In a memoir that is gripping, funny, and ultimately unforgettable, New York Times bestselling author 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 most distinguished writers of young people's literature today. As a boy, 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 while 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 to his books for comfort. Supports the Common Core State Standards.

30 review for Bad Boy: A Memoir

  1. 5 out of 5

    Karina

    This is the autobiography of Walter Dean Myers. I have never heard of him but this was a random library pick. The title and cover intrigued me. Myers grew up in Harlem, New York with his father's half German half Native American ex-wife and black husband. Very diverse background from the beginning. Myers is fully black. He talks about how reading (he loved poetry the best) and writing saved him from becoming something he didn't forsee in his life; the stereotypical black muscle, the expected joc This is the autobiography of Walter Dean Myers. I have never heard of him but this was a random library pick. The title and cover intrigued me. Myers grew up in Harlem, New York with his father's half German half Native American ex-wife and black husband. Very diverse background from the beginning. Myers is fully black. He talks about how reading (he loved poetry the best) and writing saved him from becoming something he didn't forsee in his life; the stereotypical black muscle, the expected jock, a gang member. The timeframe of his story is from 1937 to the 1960s. It's odd that he never felt any racial tension until he was in his late teens and wondering about college. I assume New York was more liberal in interracial relationships than the South was at that time. Anyway, he was well read and very intelligent. Teachers believed in him and encouraged his writing and recommended books. He was a 'Bad Boy' that made his dreams come true. Interesting, short book. The writing was a bit simplistic and sometimes all over the place but not bad overall.

  2. 5 out of 5

    David Schaafsma

    I read this memoir in conjunction with Myers’ Monster recently, at the suggestion of one of my students, and with a group of them. It pairs nicely with that book, since in both books Myers explores issues of race and identity. He writes about growing up in the 1940s and 1950s in Harlem, not interested in school at all, a bit of a troublemaker, but interested in reading, which led to his writing. What he has to say to young people about writing is useful and interesting.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Nancy

    What a surprise! What a find! I got Walter Dean Myers' memoir "Bad Boy" for fifty cents in the kids' section at a church rummage sale Saturday. I thought I was buying it to add to my small, yet growing, classroom library. And many of my students have read Myers' "Monster." Though kids might enjoy learning more about Myers because they've read his work, I'm not sure they'll appreciate the very thing in the book that I loved: Myers' thoughtful exploration of identity, in particular, the identity of What a surprise! What a find! I got Walter Dean Myers' memoir "Bad Boy" for fifty cents in the kids' section at a church rummage sale Saturday. I thought I was buying it to add to my small, yet growing, classroom library. And many of my students have read Myers' "Monster." Though kids might enjoy learning more about Myers because they've read his work, I'm not sure they'll appreciate the very thing in the book that I loved: Myers' thoughtful exploration of identity, in particular, the identity of one who is a writer. Myers is painfully honest about growing up in the 1940s and 1950s in Harlem as a bit of a "wild child." Though he was an avid reader and eventually a writer, school wasn't his thing. His identity as a reader and writer made him feel isolated from those around him, including his parents. And he struggled to figure out how race---Myers is African American---made him who he was and who he wanted to become. Myers' writing at the beginning of the book is uncomplicated. As he chronicles his growing up, the writing becomes more complex, something that contributed greatly to how much pure pleasure I got from reading "Bad Boy." Because of "Bad Boy," I know I've got to read more of Myers' work---I read "Monster." And I urge readers to do the same.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Vergeldt

    I some what enjoyed htis book. that is impressive because i would only read military books and this one was thurally enjoyable. i do recememd reading this book. if you enjoy books about a young boys struggle to read while growing up on the streets in a poor family in Harlem. as a young boy walter myers would go to hte library and carry them home in a brown paper bag in a futil attempt not to be teased by the other kids. As a kid he loved to read and was destined to be an writer until he came to r I some what enjoyed htis book. that is impressive because i would only read military books and this one was thurally enjoyable. i do recememd reading this book. if you enjoy books about a young boys struggle to read while growing up on the streets in a poor family in Harlem. as a young boy walter myers would go to hte library and carry them home in a brown paper bag in a futil attempt not to be teased by the other kids. As a kid he loved to read and was destined to be an writer until he came to realize fully the classes and racial struggles surrounding him. He began to doubt the fact that he could ever be an auther. Read the book and found out what happens from there on.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Shayna Grage

    This book is a memoir about a boy named Walter. The story starts off by talking about his family and how different it is from most. His biological mother died so his father re-married. After that happened his father had 2 other girls with her. Her family, however, didn't like that she was married to an African American, she was forced to leave him. When she took her daughters, she also took Walter in. This is hard for him at times. The book then goes on to tell about his life and going through s This book is a memoir about a boy named Walter. The story starts off by talking about his family and how different it is from most. His biological mother died so his father re-married. After that happened his father had 2 other girls with her. Her family, however, didn't like that she was married to an African American, she was forced to leave him. When she took her daughters, she also took Walter in. This is hard for him at times. The book then goes on to tell about his life and going through school in a white community. He ends up going to high school 2 years earlier than most kids would, and finds himself getting into a lot of trouble. When he's about ready to finish high school he makes a decision to go into the army at age 16. Of course, he has to lie and say his parents are dead though. He goes through a depressing time and he wants to quit writing until one day he writes a poem and it gets published. Then he goes on the rest of his life being an author. His writing style is more personal than anything. He writes his story from his point of view on his life. He doesn't care what people think about him being black, or him being and excelled students. He just wants to live his life. I like him for that reason. His style of writing in the beginning was good way to pull the reader in as well. The theme of the book was about perseverance and what it takes to get through life sometimes. You shouldn't give up on what you want because if you keep pushing you can make it through a lot. You shouldn't worry about what people think or say about you because the only opinion that matters is the people close to you, and more importantly you. I like the beginning and end of this story a lot, but I think the middle dragged on a lot. I like the characters thoughts though on life. I recommend reading this if you like this stuff.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Koz

    In one word: Important. You need to read this book right now if you are any or all of the following: 1. A writer 2. A parent 3. A teenager 4. A former teenager 5. A teacher Myers' book "Monster" is required reading in a lot of secondary English classes, but I haven't heard of "Bad Boy" being on many lists. It should be. This is one of those very few and far between books that I want to re-read the minute I finish it. I wish I would've discovered it sooner. I can connect with "Bad Boy" on so many differ In one word: Important. You need to read this book right now if you are any or all of the following: 1. A writer 2. A parent 3. A teenager 4. A former teenager 5. A teacher Myers' book "Monster" is required reading in a lot of secondary English classes, but I haven't heard of "Bad Boy" being on many lists. It should be. This is one of those very few and far between books that I want to re-read the minute I finish it. I wish I would've discovered it sooner. I can connect with "Bad Boy" on so many different levels and at every stage of my life thus far. I could be wrong, but I don't recall having said this about a book since I picked up "Me Talk Pretty One Day" ... This book changed me.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Cathy

    Walter Dean Myers's books are so incredibly popular with my students that when I found the copy of this book on my classroom shelf while weeding through my library (totally do NOT know how I came to own this book), I was intrigued. I needed a book to read, so I took this one home. I felt my heart breaking for WDM, but more than that, my heart broke for all minorities in our country whose experiences match his -- and I suspect that there are many more than we privileged whites can ever imagine. T Walter Dean Myers's books are so incredibly popular with my students that when I found the copy of this book on my classroom shelf while weeding through my library (totally do NOT know how I came to own this book), I was intrigued. I needed a book to read, so I took this one home. I felt my heart breaking for WDM, but more than that, my heart broke for all minorities in our country whose experiences match his -- and I suspect that there are many more than we privileged whites can ever imagine. This book gave me a small glimpse into the minds and hearts, not only of poor Black males growing up in the time period before the Civil Rights movement, but also into the minds and hearts of poor or underprivileged students of any race today. My heart broke when WDM related the conversations between Stuyvesant guidance counselors and himself -- especially his inner thoughts, the words he couldn't say, words that might (or might not, given the time period, his social status, and his race) have helped him out of his situation. My heart broke as he watched his fellow African-Americans settle for the only jobs their white counterparts would allow them to take, vowing he would break that pattern. My heart broke as I realized along with him the way history, because it was told by white men, ignored the history of the Black people. My heart broke as the gradual realization of the role his race played in his inability to succeed gradually unfolded in his mind. My heart broke as I realized along with him how white people were responsible for keeping Blacks from succeeding. My heart broke as I heard in his own words the distance that widened between him and his parents. And my heart broke as he sank deeper and deeper into the unfortunate and somewhat unavoidable circumstances that his social standing and race created. Although I know that my status as a privileged white person will never allow me to fully understand what Black people (actually, ANY minority) in our country have gone through -- and continue to go through -- I feel like reading this book opened my eyes to their plight. Maybe that is the first step in making the situation better.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Cynthia Egbert

    This was an interesting read but it didn't grab me as much as I expected. It came highly recommended and I did get a sense of growing up in Harlem in the fifties and sixties but I never found a connection to any of the characters and I struggled to finish the book. There was one observation that I really did appreciate. "The idea of what it means to be poor changed in the late sixties, when American manufacturers began to import their products from overseas and we began to accumulate 'things'. I This was an interesting read but it didn't grab me as much as I expected. It came highly recommended and I did get a sense of growing up in Harlem in the fifties and sixties but I never found a connection to any of the characters and I struggled to finish the book. There was one observation that I really did appreciate. "The idea of what it means to be poor changed in the late sixties, when American manufacturers began to import their products from overseas and we began to accumulate 'things'. If your circumstances were such that you couldn't afford to eat, or have a home, or have clothes to wear, then you were poor. My dad worked as a laborer, and we didn't have much, but I was never hungry in my life."

  9. 4 out of 5

    Ranulfo C

    "Bad Boy" by Walter Dean Myers, was the book i read. What initially made me grab the book and start reading it was just by the title and cover of the book. The title name just sounds intersting for me since i think i know what's a bad boy, but i wondered if the book would have a similar definition. In the story there are many parts of how Walter, the main character, is supposly a bad boy in school and at home with the family. Walter is not really a bad boy as other people see him, but as the sto "Bad Boy" by Walter Dean Myers, was the book i read. What initially made me grab the book and start reading it was just by the title and cover of the book. The title name just sounds intersting for me since i think i know what's a bad boy, but i wondered if the book would have a similar definition. In the story there are many parts of how Walter, the main character, is supposly a bad boy in school and at home with the family. Walter is not really a bad boy as other people see him, but as the story goes on he realizes that he is a writer and that is his gift from life. He struggles throughout his life and his family is no ecxeption. His family makes it hard for Walter because he has little connection with them. This book is intended for people that like to learn about someones life as a story. In my opinion i think the part that was succesful was that Walter used words and details for me to imagine what was going on the story. I knew what was going on because i understood the way Walter wrote it. Walter made it sound real and presice such as the things happened. Walter could have used different word choice for the ending, he could have explained it alittle more because i didnt really understand it. Overall the book was interesting and i enjoyed it which is good for me.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Diamond

    "Bad Boy" the story of Walter Dean Myers life in the streets of Harlem and the challenges he faced from drugs, gangs and the feeling of having no hope to ever succeed. Walter shows the struggle of being a young African American and how you must survive. Walter at a young age was considered very intelligent the only thing that held him back was his speech defect. Much of Walter's life was something he fought for or strived for, something that really didn't expect with a kid that had so much rage "Bad Boy" the story of Walter Dean Myers life in the streets of Harlem and the challenges he faced from drugs, gangs and the feeling of having no hope to ever succeed. Walter shows the struggle of being a young African American and how you must survive. Walter at a young age was considered very intelligent the only thing that held him back was his speech defect. Much of Walter's life was something he fought for or strived for, something that really didn't expect with a kid that had so much rage and anger he had such passion for reading and writing. Many times during the book he would talk about how he would lock himself in his room for hours and just read and write poems, stories or just about anything that he could think of. Walter Dean Myers paints a vivid picture of the challenges a young kid in Harlem had to deal with in hopes of finding himself, it is a story that will change the mind of everyone.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Pamela Canepa

    I am so glad to have read this book with my 6th-grade students! What honesty he exhibits about his life and struggles! I love that there is a happy ending, and it was actually quite easy for my students to arrive at a message he was communicating to them. There were parts I would not read aloud with them from Myers' teen years, but it was all part of his complete honesty about his life. Many students were so engaged in this book for its honesty and its right in your face approach to the racism M I am so glad to have read this book with my 6th-grade students! What honesty he exhibits about his life and struggles! I love that there is a happy ending, and it was actually quite easy for my students to arrive at a message he was communicating to them. There were parts I would not read aloud with them from Myers' teen years, but it was all part of his complete honesty about his life. Many students were so engaged in this book for its honesty and its right in your face approach to the racism Myers encountered when he grew up. Every parent should read this book and then let their middle or high school aged kids read it.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Jon Brown

    This book was a gone one. This book was a great autobiography of himself. At first walter was afraid of people finding out he could read. He was afraid for them to find out he was smart and had great writing skills. Finally somebody did find out and what they did was totally unexpected...

  13. 4 out of 5

    Rebecca McNutt

    Really incredible memoir, the true story of a boy who wanted to make something meaningful out of his life but was growing up in a place where you have to be tough to survive. It was vividly detailed and intense to read; definitely one of my new favorite memoirs.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Iva

    Walter Dean Myers presents his story of a child consumed by books, but continually was an under achieving student. He kept getting in trouble in spite of being one of the brightest students at his school. His quick temper caused him to get into fights and he often missed school because he was either expelled or he spent the day reading in the park. Once he missed so many days that he didn't know the term had ended. The book had a refreshing honesty about his family situation. It would provide ma Walter Dean Myers presents his story of a child consumed by books, but continually was an under achieving student. He kept getting in trouble in spite of being one of the brightest students at his school. His quick temper caused him to get into fights and he often missed school because he was either expelled or he spent the day reading in the park. Once he missed so many days that he didn't know the term had ended. The book had a refreshing honesty about his family situation. It would provide material for middle school students to both discuss and learn that a person can change direction in spite of many obstacles.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Sherry Chandler

    Myers' style is so easy, so fluent that you don't notice it. Some books are all style, the author is always in your ear saying "look what I can do." I often like that kind of book. Myers, however, tells the story of his childhood simply, without razzle dazzle. Like Yeats says, ya gotta make it look easy, and Myers does. I'm told this is a YA book, and I would not have read it if it hadn't been book of the month for a non-fiction book club I joined recently. At no time. however, did I think I was Myers' style is so easy, so fluent that you don't notice it. Some books are all style, the author is always in your ear saying "look what I can do." I often like that kind of book. Myers, however, tells the story of his childhood simply, without razzle dazzle. Like Yeats says, ya gotta make it look easy, and Myers does. I'm told this is a YA book, and I would not have read it if it hadn't been book of the month for a non-fiction book club I joined recently. At no time. however, did I think I was reading below my grade level -- except maybe at the very end when he seems to force a resolution, wrapping up all his life from age 17 to age 61 in a few sentences. The rest of the book is so compelling I can't really complain. Myers draws a picture of himself as both brawling street kid cutting school for weeks at a time and book worm who cuts school to sit in a tree in the park and read books. He reads well above his grade level, tackling Joyce, Camus, Keats, Shelley etc at 15 & 16. To me, however, the most astounding of his reading choices is Elizabeth Barrett Browning. Mrs. Finley introduced us first to the life of Elizabeth Barrett. Here was a sickly woman who lived most of her life alone and who wrote poetry from the time she was a child. The poems we read in class were her expressions of love to Robert Browning, her husband. The poetry was personal, and I was able to understand it as a personal expression by the writer rather than as what had seemed to me to be the impersonal writing of the earlier poems I had read. Perhaps someone could be so moved by a Grecian urn that he would instantly sit down and write a poem about it, but the idea of writing to someone you loved was immediately attractive to me. The poetry had come from Browning as well as being written by her. Sonnets from the Portuguese used form and meter with an ease and grace that I envied. I wanted to write like Elizabeth Barrett Browning. I wanted to sit by my window, my small dog on my lap, and write this intensely personal poetry. The sonnet form allowed me to make my poems look and feel like real poetry without being as distant as some of the other British poetry I had read. When I was in college, an English major whose learning was mainly controlled by the New Criticism of Brooks and Warren, Elizabeth Barrett was given grudging recognition as Robert's wife and the millstone around his neck who wrote soppy sonnets. Who would have thought she would have had such an impact on a mixed-race boy growing up in Harlem in the 1950s?

  16. 5 out of 5

    Vannessa Anderson

    Each of us is born with a history already in place. ...While we live our own individual lives, what has gone before us, our history, always has some effect on us. Bad Boy was Walter Milton Myers’ memoir and a perfect example of poor parenting and horrific teachers where positive communication was not practiced. Walter Milton Myers was the fourth of five children and whose mother, Mary Dolly Green, died after the birth of her fifth child. George Myers, Walther’s father, who had two children fro Each of us is born with a history already in place. ...While we live our own individual lives, what has gone before us, our history, always has some effect on us. Bad Boy was Walter Milton Myers’ memoir and a perfect example of poor parenting and horrific teachers where positive communication was not practiced. Walter Milton Myers was the fourth of five children and whose mother, Mary Dolly Green, died after the birth of her fifth child. George Myers, Walther’s father, who had two children from a previous marriage, was unable to cope with the raising of seven children, sent Walter to live with his first wife, Florence Dean. In school, when Walter moves to Mr. Lasher’s class he excels because Mr. Lasher knew how to teach and parent Walter. I did not read a “Bad Boy” in Walter Dean Myers what I read was a young boy who was a victim of circumstances who was not taught the skills or the know how to dig his way out. We also learn how those who came before us allowed racism to beat them down rather than find ways to make it work for them and because they didn’t they taught us to follow in their tradition of riding the pity train and the only way off is death. Walter Dean Myers was an extraordinary boy who despite the odds and disadvantaged environment had wonderful mentors whose grandness he didn’t recognize until adulthood as with all children. We learned the reason for so much failure in the communities of Americans who are Descendants of Freed Slaves and how some of those failures could be rectified if the adults in these communities were dedicated in self-education. Bad Boy is a book that readers of all ages and all cultures can appreciate.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Gray

    I know of Walter Dean Myers and I've read an excerpt from a book of his, which one I don't remember, but it was so well written that when I came across this memoir of his, I was interested. Myers, as soon as he reached his teen years, struggled with his identity. Like many creative people, he didn't feel he fit in, although on the outside he could seem to be like any other young man, playing basketball, getting into occasional fights. At the same time, he loved to read and write. Myers was confl I know of Walter Dean Myers and I've read an excerpt from a book of his, which one I don't remember, but it was so well written that when I came across this memoir of his, I was interested. Myers, as soon as he reached his teen years, struggled with his identity. Like many creative people, he didn't feel he fit in, although on the outside he could seem to be like any other young man, playing basketball, getting into occasional fights. At the same time, he loved to read and write. Myers was conflicted though over what manhood meant for him, and he admits to not liking to fight--that part of him--yet liking the power he felt. The book is replete with Myers' painful musings about feeling lost and adrift. This is a good book for a number of audiences, but particularly for young people struggling with who they really are and what they want their future to be. They will find a lot to relate to in this memoir.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Sandra

    This is a memoir of Walter Dean Myer's early life and probably targeted to middle school students; however, his is a compelling story of growing up in Harlem mid century that would speak to someone of any page, particularly since he ties his own story to an explication of his history as a reader/writer. Particularly interesting is a comparison he makes between himself and Mersault from The Stranger.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Maddy

    Walter Dean Myers is an incredibly influential YA Author, and it was a pleasure to learn about his background. It was pretty slow, but he has a charming story-telling voice. It was powerful to learn about how he had overcome so much to get where he did: From a father who couldn't read and social injustice, to a successful author.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Trit

    It had bad language and the book is about a kid that gets into fights well he did'nt like school he liked to read. well the kid had his appendix removed. when he was sick

  21. 5 out of 5

    Phil Jensen

    Parts of this were really interesting, especially the early portions. Some of the later chapters went off the rails. It felt patched-together.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Michelle Stimpson

    This is a stark reminder of how important representation is. I couldn't help but imagine how much easier his high school years would have been if he'd seen himself in the literature he was consumed with. I don't think it is coincidence that the real breakthrough in his career came when he was introduced to the literature and mentorship of other black writers. One piece of advice really stood out: "He [John O. Killens] counseled me always to think of my body of work rather than to concentrate too This is a stark reminder of how important representation is. I couldn't help but imagine how much easier his high school years would have been if he'd seen himself in the literature he was consumed with. I don't think it is coincidence that the real breakthrough in his career came when he was introduced to the literature and mentorship of other black writers. One piece of advice really stood out: "He [John O. Killens] counseled me always to think of my body of work rather than to concentrate too heavily on a particular book. It was, I believe, good advice." It is Myers' body of work that makes him stand apart in the field of young adult literature. The volume alone, is impressive, but also his contributions in the inspiration and mentorship he has given other authors. It is fitting that he went on to be the Ambassador for Young People's Literature and helped fuel the #WeNeedDiverseBooksMovement.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Maggie Merillat

    Bad Boy was a pretty good book! This book is about Walter Dean Myers, a boy who wanted to be a writer. He would go to his school and get put down by so many people at his school, especially his teachers. He was very discouraged but he kept on dreaming about being a writer. He always loved to read and write and was so confident that he would end up becoming a writer. I really liked reading the parts about his school in this book. I also enjoyed the parts where it showed the different racial issue Bad Boy was a pretty good book! This book is about Walter Dean Myers, a boy who wanted to be a writer. He would go to his school and get put down by so many people at his school, especially his teachers. He was very discouraged but he kept on dreaming about being a writer. He always loved to read and write and was so confident that he would end up becoming a writer. I really liked reading the parts about his school in this book. I also enjoyed the parts where it showed the different racial issues at that time period. It was very interesting and a lot of the stuff said in the book were very surprising. I also like seeing Walter grow as a person and become more and more mature in each chapter. I didn't like how repetitive this book was. I feel like he repeated a lot of stuff he'd said before and that made me dislike it more. This book was overall a really good book and really made people think about the things that happened between white people and African Americans during the 1940s and 1950s

  24. 4 out of 5

    Sherri

    I can't believe I haven't read this until now. Despite a teacher's advice to "never stop writing," Myers skips school, gets involved with some gang members, joins the army, and finally ends up as a manual laborer. That teacher's words come back to him, however, and eventually he rediscovers how important it is to him to use his brain and write. He also discovers the short story "Sonny's Blues," and even meets James Baldwin. Until reading Baldwin, he didn't feel empowered to write about the urban I can't believe I haven't read this until now. Despite a teacher's advice to "never stop writing," Myers skips school, gets involved with some gang members, joins the army, and finally ends up as a manual laborer. That teacher's words come back to him, however, and eventually he rediscovers how important it is to him to use his brain and write. He also discovers the short story "Sonny's Blues," and even meets James Baldwin. Until reading Baldwin, he didn't feel empowered to write about the urban black experience. In high school, he was only exposed to white male authors, many of them British. These ideas are still SO important today. This book about education, curriculum, community, and role models should still be read by adults and teens in addition to Myers' awesome fiction.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Emma Gagen

    I thought that this book was going to be a little easy for me, but after I read it, it turned out to be an amazing book. This boy, Walter Dean, is struggling with depression as he fights through racism and unequal rights in Harlem, New York. His only outlet is his reading and writing, but even that has gone dry. I absolutely loved this book and it's strong message!

  26. 4 out of 5

    Elena Palomba

    In this memoir, you are taken on the early life of a young buy, Walter. As Walter grows older he realizes that everywhere is not as racially fair as his home of Harlem, New York. Going through school, he frequently gets in trouble for his short temper and will to fight. Will he be able to go above the racial standards and grow to reach his full potential and follow his dreams? I like this book cause it showed a good inside point of view of racism. . I would recommend this book to anyone who is i In this memoir, you are taken on the early life of a young buy, Walter. As Walter grows older he realizes that everywhere is not as racially fair as his home of Harlem, New York. Going through school, he frequently gets in trouble for his short temper and will to fight. Will he be able to go above the racial standards and grow to reach his full potential and follow his dreams? I like this book cause it showed a good inside point of view of racism. . I would recommend this book to anyone who is interested in memoirs or someone looking for a different style of writing like a memoir.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Emily A Naftzger

    This certainly wasn't the most enjoyable Myers book to read or the best written, but I think it's always difficult to examine one's own life, and after learning more about about Myers' story, I can only imagine that his process was infinitely harder. Despite a few flaws though, the writing is brutally honest and thought-provoking. Most importantly, the perspective is interesting and possibly even more important now than when the book was originally published.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Zakeema Wilson

    This Book is truly inspiring to me. I say This Because I hide a lot of talents I have because I fear I wouldn't do anything with them as I get older. Talents such as poetry and singing I hide a lot because I feel I wouldn't make anything out of them. This book truly made me realize that I don't have to hide anything. I can express the way I feel or anything I want to express in my own way not caring who has to see me or who has to say something. The difference from me and the main character is t This Book is truly inspiring to me. I say This Because I hide a lot of talents I have because I fear I wouldn't do anything with them as I get older. Talents such as poetry and singing I hide a lot because I feel I wouldn't make anything out of them. This book truly made me realize that I don't have to hide anything. I can express the way I feel or anything I want to express in my own way not caring who has to see me or who has to say something. The difference from me and the main character is that he is a Male And I a Female. It would be harder for different sexes to respond to different judgements of things people say about them. This book is truly amazing in my eyes.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Harper

    I thought this was a great book. At first I was expecting it too be too young for me, but it turned out to be very well written and told in a somewhat intricate but also clear way.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Sam Johnson

    Walter Dean Myers portrayed his life beautifully in Bad Boy: A Memoir.When reading this nonfiction book you find yourself truly in this boy’s life.You’re thoroughly intrigued by wondering what will happen next. The story is a first person view of Walter, a young black boy living in Harlem. You travel through Walter's life as he finds his path. You start the book by describing Walter’s family. Walter lives with two white parents after his mother dies. As a young boy, Walter is much bigger than th Walter Dean Myers portrayed his life beautifully in Bad Boy: A Memoir.When reading this nonfiction book you find yourself truly in this boy’s life.You’re thoroughly intrigued by wondering what will happen next. The story is a first person view of Walter, a young black boy living in Harlem. You travel through Walter's life as he finds his path. You start the book by describing Walter’s family. Walter lives with two white parents after his mother dies. As a young boy, Walter is much bigger than the other kids. He also has a speech deficiency. When teased or taunted(by mostly white kids)Walter finds himself fighting. Walter is labeled as a “bad boy”. As he grows older Walter starts to enjoy reading and writing. Despite not being able to speak well, Walter spent many hours reading lots of literature from comic books to famous poetry. Walter does better in school and is put in higher level classes and a smart high school. Then, he finds out about prejudice against him and realizes the thing he loves is frowned upon by his peers. Walter has to decide whether he will continue following the rules or if he will go back to his old ways. Anyone who is confused about where they fit in the world, loves reading, or is a teenage boy will love Bad Boy: A Memoir. Myers writes as if he is in that moment and you are captivated. I found myself thinking and doing the same thing that young Walter did. You will definitely relate to the struggles and triumphs of adolescent life.This wonderful book makes you think about the way you judge people and what it’s like to be yourself,while interesting you in a true story.

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