Sunday, January 9, 2011

Good Behavior: a memoir

Henry, Nathan L. Good Behavior: a memoir
Bloomsbury see St. Martins 2010 262p 17.99
978-1-59990-471-9 hs/adult VG
Henry started killing animals and gutting them when he was quite young. He dabbled in Satanism, loved guns, terrorized fellow classmates, was charged with arson, and landed in county jail after an armed robbery all before age 17. Gritty reading. Grades 9+.
Nathan Henry is now married and working in a medical office. That is a far cry from his past life. He grew up in a small midwest town yet shows the hardened personality often associated with life of an inner city youth. Henry chronicles his life, remembering himself killing animals, his father’s pessimism and tendency toward abuse, his father’s treasure trove of guns and porn and conversely his parents abiding love. At an early age, he and a friend kill and gut animals and terrorize fellow classmates. As they grow older, they perfect their gun skills and lock breaking abilities, embrace Satanism and commit petty theft. At school, Henry is the rebel, constantly breaking rules and defying teachers, even setting a fire in the detention room. Arrested and placed in a juvenile detention facility, he is released to continue his lawless life, setting out on a road trip that culminates with an armed robbery and time in the county jail. Henry relates all this, complete with coarse language, in alternating chapters that mesh his past experiences with time spent in the county jail. The reader meets his family and friends, his girlfriends and lovers, his cellmates and jailers. A rough, raw, no holds barred look at a juvenile delinquent’s life. Yet, Henry is intelligent and by the end of the book, there is hope that he will become a contributing member of society. Grades 9+.
Recommended where gritty, no holds barred biographies of teenage criminals are needed and will be accepted. The coarse language must be considered before purchase. Suitable for high schools that can take the realism found in this book. McNicol,Lois
Juvenile Delinquents

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