Bad Boy by Walter Dean Myers
A Memoir

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In a memoir that is gripping, funny, and ultimately unforgettable, New York Times bestselling author Walter Dean Myers travels back to his roots in the magical world of Harlem during the 1940s and 1950s. Here is the story of one of the most distinguished writers of young people's literature today.

As a boy, Myers was quick-tempered and physically strong, always ready for a fight. He also read voraciously—he would check out books from the library and carry them home, hidden in brown paper bags in order to avoid other boys' teasing. He aspired to be a writer.

But while growing up in a poor family in Harlem, his hope for a successful future diminished as he came to realize fully the class and racial struggles that surrounded him. He began to doubt himself and the values that he had always relied on, attending high school less and less, turning to the streets and to his books for comfort.

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About Walter Dean Myers

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Walter Dean Myers is the New York Times bestselling author of the first Michael L. Printz Award winner, Monster, and the current National Ambassador for Young People's Literature. He's been writing since he was a child, and he's now considered one of the preeminent authors for young people. He lives in Jersey City, New Jersey, with his family. You can visit him online at
Published October 6, 2009 by HarperCollins. 228 pages
Genres: History, Education & Reference, Young Adult, Biographies & Memoirs, Literature & Fiction, Children's Books, Romance. Non-fiction

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Kirkus Reviews

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His attempt to show how his life was constructed, moreover, results in a rather deterministic text from which one has the sense that much was left out, and his musings on the effects of institutionalized racism on his development as a young man and a writer become didactic interruptions plunked i...

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The New York Times

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In an epilogue, we learn that after the Army, Myers remembered being encouraged by a teacher, who said, ''Whatever you do, don't stop writing.'' Once he began, he says, ''I couldn't stop.'' Eventually he became the accomplished, prolific author he is today.

Oct 21 2001 | Read Full Review of Bad Boy: A Memoir

Publishers Weekly

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A gifted student with advanced reading skills and a speech impediment, Myers early on turned to literature (and comic books) as an enlightening and stabilizing force in his life.

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Publishers Weekly

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and a high school English teacher who spots him outside the guidance counselor's office and says, ""Whatever happens, don't stop writing."" Perhaps the most poignant and carefully crafted chapter involves the 16-year-old's thought process in response to his guidance counselor's question, ""Do you...

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