"Outside a dog a book is man's best friend, inside a dog it is too dark to read!" -Groucho Marx========="The person, be it gentleman or lady, who has not pleasure in a good novel, must be intolerably stupid." -Jane Austen========="I don’t believe in the kind of magic in my books. But I do believe something very magical can happen when you read a good book."-JK Rowling========"I spend a lot of time reading." -Bill Gates=========“Ahhh. Bed, book, kitten, sandwich. All one needed in life, really.” -Jacqueline Kelly=========

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Yummy: the Last Days of Southside Shorty by G. Neri

This graphic biography, Yummy: the Last Days of a Southside Shorty, is getting quite a bit of attention in the literary world this year so I thought that I would read and review it. Unlike most graphic novels that I've read, this book has a very disturbing theme: juvenile crime, gangs, and murder. Though an easy book to physically read with it's black and white illustrations, it was a difficult book to mentally read. There are no easy answers when it comes to gang and juvenile crimes. Kids raised in poverty or without proper parental supervision may find acceptance and a sense of "family" with other gang members. But the gangs may ask of them to commit crimes, even murders as a kind of sick initiation.  Should young children, in Yummy's case-- eleven years old, be treated like adults when they commit such heinous crimes?  And how can a person be rehabilitated if they have never been "habilitated" in the first place? The book doesn't offer any easy answers, it mainly just points to the problem and challenges the reader to do things differently.

G. Neri, the author, said about the situation and about Yummy specifically:
When Yummy's story first broke, I was teaching in South Central Los Angeles...I remember following Yummy's story day by day. A couple of students heard about it and we argued whether he was a victim or a bully. When Yummy was found dead and all the facts came out, I wasn't sure who the bad guy was. There were no winners in this story, only losers...So, was Yummy a cold-blooded killer or a victim? The answer is not black-and-white. Yummy was both a bully and a victim--he deserves both our anger and our understanding. Other answers, however, may be clearer. Like the preacher at Yummy's funeral said: make up your mind that you will not let your life end like Yummy's.-Author's note at end of book
Though Yummy: the Last Days of a Southside Shorty is about a disturbing topic, I still recommend it if for no other reason than it calls us out of our complacency.  Here is a link to a sample of a few pages of Yummy by Geri Neri which shows the wonderful graphic designs.  Check it out!

(Yea for me.  This is the first book from yesterday's list of Books I Resolve to Read in 2011 that I have completed...just 9 more!)

1 comment:

  1. I am glad to hear you think this is worth reading as it is on my TBR list and I was looking forward to it. I also liked Greg Neri's Surf Mules


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