What They Found: Love on 145th Street

Common Sense Media says

Powerful, intense short stories of love in the inner city.

Age(i)

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Quality(i)

 

What parents need to know

Educational value

The author gives readers a lot to think about: Are we all really born with the same chances in life? Is the difference between right and wrong always obvious? What personal strengths or characteristics are necessary to persevere in tough situations?

Positive messages

Explores how loves blossoms in a variety of ways, even in the most difficult situations.

Positive role models

The characters struggle to show love and caring despite often desperate situations

Violence

Mentions of child abuse, fighting, gang initiation, a knife fight, and a stabbing in the eye; several people have or seek guns; a beating with a pool cue; IEDs and snipers in Afghanistan; a young man is killed in battle.

Sex

References to making love, homosexuality, a naked girl tries (unsuccessfully) to seduce a boy, teen pregnancy, a teen has sex with an adult (not described).

Language

One use of "p---y" to mean a weakling. Muslims are referred to as "rag heads," which is compared to the N word.

Consumerism

One mention of Armani.

Drinking, drugs, & smoking

References to drugs and drug abuse including crack and marijuana; teens are stoned and addicted. Some cigarette smoking. But this behavior is not glamorized; it's used to show how difficult the world these characters inhabit is.

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that these are stories about life in the inner city and in Afghanistan. There is plenty of violence, sex, and drugs, though nothing is described, just referred to -- and the intense material is really used to illustrate the tough neighborhood the protagonists inhabit. Indeed the characters in this book struggle to show love and caring despite often desperate situations. The author gives readers a lot to think about: Are we all really born with the same chances in life? Is the difference between right and wrong always obvious? What personal strengths or characteristics are necessary to persevere in tough situations?

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What's the story?

In a series of related short stories that mostly take place in one neighborhood in Harlem, but also follow one character to battle in Afghanistan, this companion volume to 145th Street explores how loves blossoms in a variety of ways, even in the most difficult situations. Some examples: a very young girl struggles to care for her sick mother and even younger brother; a hardened street thug can open up when helping disabled children, but not with the girl he loves; and a teen considers holding up an old woman to buy his son a birthday present.

Is it any good?

QUALITY
 

Veteran author Walter Dean Myers is interested in the many variations of love -- parents and children, friends and relations, siblings. Only in some of these stories does "love" mean romantic love. Even installments about men and women (or boys and girls) are more about the caring than the romance, and the many ways that caring shows itself. Even though these are short stories, there's an emotional depth to them that is, at times, breathtaking.

Unlike authors who awkwardly try to reproduce street dialect in a vain attempt to seem authentic, Myers can make his characters real and vivid without swearing, and include the realities of sex, drugs, and violence without wallowing in them or resorting to graphic descriptions. He has been writing, and winning awards, for a long time now, and this book shows both the heart of a dyed-in-the-wool humanist, and the confidence that comes only with experience.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about short story collections. What makes them fun to read -- or is there anything about them that makes them less compelling than a novel?

  • What other books or movies take place in the inner-city? What are the similarities that you see in those stories -- and how does this representation compare? Why do you think stories like these are important?

Book details

Author:Walter Dean Myers
Genre:Short Stories
Book type:Fiction
Publisher:Random House
Publication date:September 1, 2007
Number of pages:243
Publisher's recommended age(s):14

This review of What They Found: Love on 145th Street was written by

About our rating system

  • ON: Content is age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • PAUSE: Know your child; some content may not be right for some kids.
  • OFF: Not age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • NOT FOR KIDS: Not appropriate for kids of any age.

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Quality

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Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging, great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging, good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging, good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging, okay learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

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Teen, 14 years old Written byMonserrath March 3, 2009
AGE
2
QUALITY
 

WHAT A GREAT BOOK

WELL ITS STRATED BY A BOOK REPORT SO I PICKED A BOOK I STRARED TO READ IT IT WAS A GREAT BOOKED. i READ LIKE 3 TIMES ALREADY I DID GREAT ON THE BOOK REPORT KNOW I HAVE TO PRESENT IT TO THE WHOLE CLASS.
Teen, 15 years old Written bynappyhead09 January 13, 2009

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