Tuesday, November 24, 2009


Myers, Walter Dean. Fallen Angels. Scholastic, 2008 (c1988). 336 p. PBK $6.99 ISBN 978-0545055765

SUMMARY: "Seventeen-year-old Richie Perry, just out of his Harlem high school, enlists in the Army in the summer of 1967 and spends a devastating year on active duty in Vietnam."

RISKS: Vulgar language - including racial & homosexual slurs, graphic violence, horrors of war

EVALUATION: Though not always easy to read because of the harsh, authentic content, this is a beautifully written tribute to young soldiers that have experienced war. In very much a diary style, Myers writes in the most convincing first-person voice of a young man who is continually realizing what a messy, crazy, difficult, jarring event he has volunteered to be a part of. But this book is not just the horrible. However unpleasant the realities depicted, Myers chooses just the right details and just the right humor needed to buoy both the characters in the story and the readers, for an ideally balanced reading experience. While I would not recommend this book to everyone (namely those with little tolerance for violence), I do wish everyone could read it.

READER'S ANNOTATION: Everyone knows that war is hell, but somewhere in that hell Richie has to find a way to stay human and come to terms with the horrors he sees happening to those around him.

TOPICS: historical fiction; military; wars; Vietnam War; African Americans;

AWARDS: Margaret A. Edwards Award, 1994; Coretta Scott King Author Award, 1989; Parents' Choice Gold Award, 1988

Ages 13-17

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