Bad Boy Book Summary

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The book that I chose to read for our book review was Bad Boy: A Memoir by Walter Dean Myers. The book tells the story of Walter and his relationship with race and social class. While not first understanding the implications of “being black”, Walter begins to see how his race affects him and the ways in which the world interacts with him. Walter is raised by his father’s first wife and her husband, who to him are his parents. Walter has a love for church and his neighborhood and takes great pride in living in Harlem. Walter’s mother works odd jobs, sometimes being a stay-at-home mom, while his dad works and his sisters are in school. Because Walter and his mother spend so much time together, much of which is rich in conversation, Walter learns…show more content…
He is put into speech therapy classes, where speech takes over everything in his world that he is good at. Many of Walter’s teachers warn him that they have heard stories about him and threaten him to be on his best behavior. Walter finally gets his first male teacher, Mr. Lasher, who helps to push him like no one else had pushed him before. Walter is placed into SP class or Rapid Advancement class, during this time he begins to learn about slaves, and becomes uncomfortable with what he was learning because it did not fit the values that he was being taught. Walter’s family begins to fall apart, his Uncle Lee dies, leaving his father depressed, his mother begins to gamble and drink, and Walter begins isolating himself from his family and his friends when he realizes the ways in which his race affects him. Walter begins high school and does not know how to fit in with the people around him, he starts writing more, and going to school less, especially as race becomes a more prominent issue in his life and the way people portray him. When Walter decides to make school a priority again, it’s too late and he’s left to feel…show more content…
However, when Walter’s school needed his parents in the school, Walter was able to get rid of the letters/not tell his mother about the problems, therefore his mom was not aware of the problem. Had Walter’s parents and the teacher been able to sit down, there could have been a different outcome to Walters education. Epstein states “With frequent interactions between schools, families, and communities, more students are more likely to receive common messages from various people about the importance of school, of working hard, or thinking creatively, of helping one another, and of staying in school.” (1995, p.701). While we do not know how Walters education could have been changed, had there been a better mode of communication between the school and his parents, he may have been able to get the help that he needed. Since the school had made attempts to reach Walter’s parents, and when she received the notes his mother came to the school, the biggest factor in the little parental involvement was Walter. Along with the interference of the notes by Walter, playing a role in the education of Walter, so did his social class. Walter mentions many times throughout the book that while his family always had enough money to eat, his family struggled sometimes to make ends meet and money seemed to be an issue for much of his childhood.

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