BAD BOY: A Memoir
Walter Dean Myers, , read by Joe Morton. . HarperChildren's Audio, $24 (0pp) ISBN 978-0-694-52535-5
Myers provides a sincere, friendly and unscripted introduction to this chronicle of his life, quickly engaging listeners. But Myers's vocal presence is too short-lived. Though Morton enthusiastically takes the baton and gives a competent reading, he can't match the obvious tone of familiarity the author has for his subject; the actor remains one step removed from the heartfelt revelations and introspective nature of the text. Myers's fans will likely overlook this shortcoming, happy to hear more about his childhood in 1940s and '50s Harlem. Myers describes his "coming up" as a series of scrapes and fights with neighborhood kids, teachers and gang toughs that earned him the bad boy title. A gifted student with advanced reading skills and a speech impediment, Myers early on turned to literature (and comic books) as an enlightening and stabilizing force in his life. He often found it difficult to adhere to the structure and discipline of the public school system and was continuously noted for poor conduct. His speech troubles encouraged teasing, making matters worse. By high school he rarely showed up for class, though kept on reading great books recommended by teachers and never gave up his aspirations to write. In the end, this warts-and-all story of a dream realized makes for an entertaining listen. Ages 12-up.
Reviewed on: 07/09/2001