Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Give a Boy a Gun: Disturbing Yet Awesome

Mrs. Cabaj's freshman English class is reading Give a Boy a Gun by Todd Strasser, and since I was working with them on a research project about school violence, I thought that I would read it, too. Like Stuck in Neutral (see previous post), Give a Boy a Gun is about high school students struggling with some pretty intense issues. Gary and Brendan are considered outsiders by the popular kids at school. They deal with constant bullying, especially from one of the most obnoxious football players, and often talk about how awesome it would be to slowly and painfully kill the worst offenders. Although it is highly disturbing, I really liked this book because it is told completely in flashbacks and from memories of students, teachers, administrators, friends, and family members of the two boys AFTER they took the school hostage and the town had dealt with the aftermath of their violent attack. Also, facts and statistics about gun violence and quotes from newspaper articles about real life school shootings are at the bottom of most pages. All in all, this was a fast read that spoke to an extremely serious and highly important issue facing our country today, so I'm giving it 4 out of 4 Bananas. For another author's perspective on school shootings, try Nineteen Minutes by Jodi Picoult.


Lori said...

I read this Freshman year with Mrs. Cabaj too! It is to this day one of my favorite books that i read in school. I think what makes it so good is that it has a story line that we can all relate too because we have seen it happen sooo many times before. I also thought the part at the end when it shows you all the previous school shootings was very interesting.

Mrs. Duell said...

Thanks for your comment, Lori! For me, the mix of the fictional story and the real-life facts about gun violence and about various school shootings really gave this novel its impact. Plus, it is written in such a simple, yet compelling style that I think most readers would enjoy it. Thanks again for reading!