Thanks Jana from HarperTeen for this great book!
IQ "One time when my pops wasn't being too stupid he said the streets were like quicksand covered with whip cream. You knew when they were slowing your ass down, but it always came as a surprise when you got sucked under." Reese pg. 99
So I know almost nothing about the streets, but based on what I've read/seen/heard the above quote sounds pretty accurate. it's probably really hard to be about something, trying to get an education and go far in life when you're surrounded by bad influences. It's definitely easier to just go with the flow, do what everyone else is doing whether you live in the ghetto or the suburbs.
This was my first guy book by Walter Dean Myers (I've read Crystal, which will eventually be reviewed here) and I think it was a great book to introduce me to him. I can't wait to read more by him!
Lockdown explores an unlikely friendship between fourteen-year-old Progress inmate Reese and a man he meets through his work program at a local senior citizens’ home. When Mr. Hooft is finally able to open up about his harrowing past, he gives Reese a way to reenvision his own future.
My favorite character is Icy, short for Isis. Icy is Reese's 9 year old sister. She's only 9, but she already knows what she wants to do with her life. She wants to be president of the United States and feed all the hungry people. "So my campaign is that you give everybody free food for four years.... Then they would be fed for four years, we couldn't afford to pay for a war, and people could turn their attention to doing stuff for themselves and be happy." She sounds really cute and very smart. She basically becomes the woman/runner of the house because her mom is a drug addict, her oldest brother (Willis) is trying to be a 'thug' (the book's words, not mine!) and her other brother Reese is in jail. She cooks and gets to school on her own. I don't know if I would have done that when I was her age and I don't think my little brother or sister would ever go to school on their own either (well maybe my sister).
Reese really grows in the story. He makes mistakes and doesn't always learn from them. I really like this fact, because in life as much as we try, we make mistakes. But we don't always learn from them, often we ignore them and then repeat the same or a similar mistake. In many books that I read, people make a mistake and then they learn from it, this is good but also frustrating because life doesn't always work that way. Watching Reese's character development is fascinating and the writing is done so well, that you feel you are right there with him, rooting him on.
I also loved the whole 'criminal gets mentored by elderly guy' element but Mr. Myers gives it a nice twist. Reese doesn't want to work at the nursing home and Mr. Hooft doesn't want Reese in his room, helping him. Their arguments were not just entertaining, but they also had some really enlightening discussions.
All in all, I really liked this book and I learned from it. It especially gives you a glimpse into the life of juvenile delinquents "what all the guys knew was that there was a world on the outside and we didn't belong in it. Maybe we could get over once in a while, but we really didn't fit in." I've always been a believer in rights of inmates. I think they should be allowed to vote and (depending on the crime) once released there should be more programs that will help them get employed and more employers willing to hire an ex-convict (it does depend on the crime, I don't expect someone to hire a murderer or rapist unless they've been proved innocent, which seems to be happening quite a bit lately). In short, we should help them adjust better to life back in main-stream society. This book got me more interested in learning about prison reform (I live in Chicago and it's well known that the Cook County Juvenile Facility is a terrible place so I'm curious as to how it could be bettered, along with other juvenile halls/jails around the country).
I highly recommend this book, short book (247 pages), but a very good read. Not a lot of humor, but not very depressing either. 14 and up