Tuesday, December 6, 2011
REVIEW: Making Up Megaboy
Appetizer: Told in many different voices with striking images to match the monologues, Making Up Megaboy tries to understand a thirteen-year-old's motive to kill an elderly shop owner. Aside from speaking to admit he did kill the old man, Robbie will not speak, except to ask for art supplies so he could draw a comic of his only friend and his creation, Megaboy.
Some of the potential motives surrounding Robbie's actions include his crush on a girl from school, dissatisfaction with his racist father, not having been taught right from wrong, being an outsider, and on and on.
This novella is an interesting experiment. With no clear answers about what caused Robbie to kill someone, its up to the reader to make connections, make meaning and draw their own conclusions about what was going through the boy's head and what caused him to act the way he did.
Making Up Megaboy would be a good book to have students make arguments about, using support from the text. Since the book is so short, it would be very easy for students to make connections across the text without getting overwhelmed. It also would be a good sample project to have students explore voice and different perspectives, all circling around an event or the experience of one character. I'd also consider pairing the novella with Walter Dean Myers's Monster to show to very different approaches to trying to understand characters who face consequences for the deaths of others.
Due to the sensitive nature of the story, it is probably a book I would want to get parental permission for before sharing with students.
"It was his birthday, three months ago today. He just turned thirteen. He was too old for a birthday party, but we gave him a fancy new mountain bike at breakfast. I thought he was pleased with it. He said he liked it.
I didn't think he even knew about my husband's gun. We never showed it to him. We never talked about it." (p. 9)
"Robert kept the gun in the dresser, in his sock drawer. Robbie never had any reason to go in there.
Lord, I will never understand why he did it. I asked myself every day what went wrong, but I can't find any answers. He wasn't a bad boy. He didn't have bad friends, except maybe that Mexican boy who hung around for a while.
Why would Robbie shoot somebody on his birthday? It should have been a happy day." (p. 9)
"People in Santa Rosita are in shock about the incident that took place here two days ago, when a thirteen-year-old boy shot and killed Jae Lin Koh, the elderly proprietor of a liquor store on Main Street. The boy who allegedly committed this violent crime has not been identified officially because of his age, but classmates at the Kennedy Middle School know who he is." (p. 19).
"Me and him made up stories all the time about a superhero called Megaboy. Megaboy is kind of like Popeye in those old comics, you know? He just looked ordinary until he ate his spinach, and then his muscles popped out all buff? Megaboy just looks all ordinary until he eats these special chips. I mean, they look just like regular potato chips or something, but they're really coated with megaspice that made him all strong and everything. Mostly Megaboy takes care of little kids that are in trouble and finds lost pets and stuff. We made up stories together. Then Robbie'd draw the pictures, and I'd write the words" (p. 20).
Tasty Rating: !!!