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AUTOBIOGRAPHY OF MY DEAD BROTHER by Walter Dean Myers Kirkus Star

AUTOBIOGRAPHY OF MY DEAD BROTHER

By Walter Dean Myers (Author) , Christopher Myers (Illustrator)

Age Range: 12 & up

Pub Date: Aug. 1st, 2005
ISBN: 0-06-058291-X
Publisher: HarperCollins

Jesse and his friend C.J. are trying to come to terms with “the violence that blows through our community like the winds of winter.” With a friend carrying a gun, another dealing and one in jail for robbery, Jesse sees first-hand what drugs are doing to his Harlem home. “Sometimes,” he says, “the corner of 149th Street looked like an ad for some desperate Third World country,” or a vision of hell from Dante’s Inferno, which Jesse is reading in school. The autobiography Jesse is making of his best friend Rise, with photographs, drawings and cartoons, shows Rise changing as he gets involved with gangs, and the cartoonish character of Spodi Roti represents Jesse himself as he questions his life and community, looking for answers. The innovative illustrated novel format is effective, essential to Rise’s autobiography and to Jesse’s own quest for understanding. Though the story is starkly realistic, there is always hope in the gifts of Jesse the artist and C. J. the musician, of schools and churches and of caring parents. (Fiction. 12+)