Friday, January 7, 2011

Review: The Cruisers by Walter Dean Myers

Rating - 3
Young Adult

Zander Scott and his friends, Kambui, LaShonda and Bobbi are students at the DaVinci Academy for the Gifted and Talented in Harlem. Unfortunately, their grades are slipping and Mr. Culpepper, the assistant principal, is just waiting for the opportunity to kick them out of the school. Part of the problem is their alternative newspaper, The Cruiser, which allows them to present their own unique point of view to the rest of the students. They are given one last chance to stay. The school has begun a study of the Civil War. Instead of just learning dry facts and dates, the school has divided the students into the various factions who were present at the time of the War...confederates, slaves, plantation owners, etc. Zander and his fellow Cruisers are presented with the task of bringing the factions together peacefully and preventing the Civil War altogether. As the students get into the project, the students representing the confederacy begin acting out their roles a little too realistically, causing much friction among the blacks and other minorties, resulting in fights and ill will among all of the students. Zander and the Cruisers have their hands full trying to avoid a second Civil War...right in DaVinci Academy.

Walter Dean Myers is a prolific writer and knowledgable voice for African-American teens. He has tackled tough issues facing teens and presented those issues in a realistic way. "The Cruisers" takes on the issue of racism today, by illustrating how those same issues caused the Civil War. Myers' voice is casual and humorous, making his work very readable. This particular book, however, is a little "preachy" at times. It feels like the author is trying to teach a lesson rather than present the situation through realistic dialogue. Other than that, the book is a fast, enjoyable read, providing lots of food for thought and discussion and leaves the reader wanting to see more of the Cruisers.

Kevin R. Free narrated this Book-on- CD by Brilliance Audio

1 comment:

  1. I just finished Ape House by Sara Gruen. It would have seemed entirely implausible except that we had watched a video about bonobos by Sue Savage-Rumbaugh and it is not far fetched. Actually the human story was more implausible than the bonobos! but quite entertaining nonetheless. Currently working on a youtube vid about our orang friends at the zoo. The book gave me some good ideas on how to articulate our interaction with them.