Seriously? I Read That?

Posts Tagged ‘Lesley Choyce

The Book of MichaelIs life something that can picked up where you left off? The Book of Michael by Lesley Choyce tackles that very question. After being wrongfully accused and convicted of the murder of his girlfriend Lisa, sixteen year old Michael’s life is over. Or so he thinks. After six months in prison Michael is released. The real killer confessed. But for Michael, freedom isn’t what he imagined. Innocent is still guilt in some people’s eyes. Michael is forced to live and grieve in a world that let him go to prison for a crime he did not commit.

Oh, I’ll admit it took a good number of pages for this book to grow on me. Initially, reading The Book of Michael reminded me of the Covenant House books my grandmother used to get in the mail. Good boy from good family meets bad girl from bad family. Bad girl introduces good boy to bad things like rap music and baggy pants. Good boy gone bad smokes a little weed and next thing you know he’s in prison. Thankfully, that tone didn’t continue for too long, and the novel transformed into a rather well-done piece of work. I was even pleasantly surprised at the relatively positive portrayal of teen sex and the importance of libraries in prisons.

There’s a nice twist at the ending that might polarize readers, but I thought it added something extra to the book. It shows that sometimes redemption and justice isn’t something juries, judges, and lawyers can give. Sometimes it’s something that has to be internally created on one’s own terms, as Michael finds:

“at times the world is not such a terrible place after all. It has given us permission to get on with our lives as best we can. And I am convinced that this is enough.”

While not the best piece of literature ever written, I think The Book of Michael is a necessary work, and would probably make a good fiction companion to No Choirboy: Murder, Violence, and Teenagers on Death Row by Susan Kuklin.

Rating: 3.5 books on I Ching out of 5.

The Book of Michael by Lesley Choyce
Published: October 4th 2008 by Red Deer Press
Binding: Paperback, 224 pages
ISBN: 0889954178
Reading Level: Young Adult


Where else you can find me:

Books That Go Bump in the Night- Halloween and scary books for kids and teens. My other blog.