TeenLit Book Reviews

October 2000

145th Street (short story collection)

Walter Dean Myers

Myers writes ten fiction short stories that are a powerful collection of stories about people with strong emotions in often desperate situations. The rating is a 4, on a 1-4 range, with 4 the best. The audience is young adult, age 13-16. There are many characters in each story. All characters are inhabitants of 145th street, in New York's Harlem. Although the stories are brief intrusions into the difficult lives of many characters, there is time in relatively few pages to get to know people suffering with problems of violence, drug abuse, and loss, and the relief they experience with friendship, humor, love and irony. A favorite story is "Angela's Eyes," about Angela, who has prophetic visions about death. She dreams about events before they happen, and that gives her power and status in her rough neighborhood. The story is also humorous with details about mundane life, such as breakfast food (eggs) mixed in with themes about death, and Angela's inability to rid herself of her visions which have become more of a burden and curse than a gift. The book makes a strong impression on the reader, leaving you wanting each story to be a short novel, but still giving you something from the contained unit of the short story.
Reviewed by Katie. Grade: ----- in , -