Saturday, December 5, 2009

The Book of Michael

The story "The Book of Michael" is based on the life of Michael Grove a sixteen year old boy who is convicted for the murder of his girlfriend, Lisa Conroy. Michael is a troubled youth, involved with sex, drugs, and negative influences. There is a lot of media attention surrounding this case, and the public wants Michael to be tried as an adult. He is tried as an adult, found guilty, and given a harsh sentence for murder. He ends up serving only six months jail time, at the Severton Correctional Institution. He loved his girlfriend Lisa very much, but the evidence before the murder is overwhelming, causing him to be unjustly convicted. The autopsy showed that Michael had sexual relations with Lisa before she was killed, and this DNA evidence condemned him to a guilty verdict. After six months the true murderer confesses and Michael is released from prison.

After Michael is released from prison, he is emotionally damaged. The freedom he imagined was not as gratifying as he hoped. He finds it very difficult to be accepted by society by being stereotyped as a murderer. Although he was found innocent of the crime, people were still pointing their finger at him as the true murderer. His neighbors and kids at school looked at him like an ex-con and a dangerous person who should be avoided. The story ends with uncertainty about Michael's life, where he continues to struggle with choices between right and wrong.

The author Lesley Choyce writes in first person narrative. The reader is able to feel what Michael is going through, when in prison and when people are being judgemental once he is freed. The book also gives insight about the current social issues such as a youth being tried as an adult. Personally, I believe that a sixteen year old is still a child and should be tried as one. When children are committing heinous crimes, as a society we have failed them. They didn't get the rehabilitation they needed when the first signs of criminal behavior were emerging. Children can not vote, get married, drink alcohol or engage in legal contracts because their brains are not mentally or emotionally fully developed, therefore they should not be tried as adults. In Illinois and Michigan the minimum age for being tried as an adult is 17. I strongly believe that children who commit crimes can be rehabilitated and live as productive members of society.

1 comment:

Paige said...

This sounds like a very good book. The plot seems to be very deep. I think that critical discussions and assignments could be brought up based on this novel. I agree with you when you say that a 16 year old should not be tried as an adult. I do not think that it is fair to ever try anyone under the age of 18 as an adult, because they are not adults and that might partially account for why they made the bad choice to begin with. I enjoyed reading your post and am really interested in reading this book just to see what the evidence showed and if there were any other suspects in the investigation. Also this book reminds me of the girl who went to study abroad and one of her roommates ended up getting murdered and she went on trial and was convicted. Apparently there was no DNA evidence that put her at the scene of the crime, but she still got the guilty verdict.