Sunday, December 6, 2009

Have you ever heard of a SECRET READER?

Why would someone be a secret reader? Eddie Corazon is a secret reader because he needs to maintain his reputation. In LouAnne Johnson’s latest novel entitled Muchacho, she depicts the life of many teens in the U.S. today.

Eddie lives in a dangerous part of New Mexico where there are a lot of gangs, theft, and drug dealing. Eddie once saw his cousin shoot another man in the face. Many of the students in Eddie’s class do not try to do well in school because they feel like they are confined by their circumstances. Even Eddie feels like this, but for some reason he secretly reads. When the teacher calls on him, he acts like he is dumb and has no interest in school.

Eddie decides to join the dance class at his school in order to meet girls. He meets a new student named Lupe and they begin to date. Lupe is not like the other girls because she is very focused on her education and does not want to have sex. Eddie actually respects that Lupe has morals and she sees positive qualities in Eddie. After a car accident, Lupe’s father forbids Eddie to see her. Eddie’s father also sends him away to live with his uncle.

Eddie decides to change his juvenile delinquent ways so he can impress Lupe’s father and change for the better for Lupe. He also wants to change for himself after reading The Four Agreements by Don Miguel Ruiz. Eddie begins to take school seriously and even begins to write poetry, which he is talented at.

To find out what happens with Eddie and Lupe you must read this novel! The novel was just published in September of 2009. LouAnne Johnson also wrote My Posse Don’t Do Homework, which was made into the movie called Dangerous Minds.

This book should definitely be used to teach inner city students for Literature class. Many of the problems Eddie struggled with are similar to teens in CPS. I would recommend this book for high school readers because there are swear words used on a few occasions. I also think many suburban teens could relate to Eddie’s character because he has conflicts with his family and Lupe that he has to resolve.

If I were to teach this novel, I would warn parents about the some of the controversial language in the book. In addition, many Spanish words are used in the novel, so the students need to look up those words to understand the meanings.

Hispanic students will relate to this novel because Eddie depicts what it is like to be Mexican living in America. He discusses the American/Mexican controversy of immigration. There is also a part in the novel where the homosexuality controversy is discussed by the other students in his class. The teacher who teaches this book must indicate that they are not advocating any particular position, but should inform their students why these contents are in this novel.


Clarissa H. said...

I loved the movie Dangerous Minds! This sounds like a great book for both teachers and students alike to read. Along with Hispanic students, it seems like this book would also appeal to reluctant male readers. Eddie's character illustrates the conflictedness I think a lot of males feel towards school in the inner-city. Nice review!

Cindy Radcliffe said...

When I starting reading your blog I thought of Stand and Deliver and Jaime Escalante, so it is funny that this book comes from the author of the book Dangerous Minds was based off of. I agree with Clarissa's comment about it seeming like reluctant male readers would enjoy/benefit from the book as well. This book seems very relevant with its discussion of Mexican American relations, and I agree with your assessment that it could be beneficial to inner city classrooms.

Mallory Umar said...

This book sounds amazing. It seems rare that YAL targets males and this one seems to do just that. I would assing it to the whole class, it focus on race, male attitude, apathy, and uncontrollable conditions. I agree that inner-city schools should utilize this text, the reality is too similar.

Alex H. said...

It sounds like a very interesting book. We are actually having similar problems with some students at CPS. They don't want to do their work or listen to authoritative figures because they don't want to seem weak in the eyes of other gang members. It's an entirely different story when you get these kids alone, sometimes they even cry.

Hutting said...

Sounds like this would be a better read then the book I read, Messed Up. This book sound more real. Another positive Hispanic geared book.

Tom Philion said...

I'll just add quickly that the content strikes me as appropriate for a range of contexts beyond the city, though it may have appeal there because students can identify, it might have appeal in suburban and rural contexts, too, where kids may be intrigued by the difference between themselves and the characters, until they realize that the pressures and outcomes are often the same.


KMilsap said...

I think that this would be a great read for teenage boys and girls. Many teens will be able to make connections and relate to the text because teens tend to struggle with fitting in. This is not just an issue that inner city students face.