I’m moving through my bookshelf a little slower than I would like to, but school does come first. I just finished reading a book that took me almost 3 years to finish. The book is “Sleepers” by Lorenzo Carcaterra. I found this book to be a bit of a drag in places, but all in all, not bad.
the book is about a 13 year old boy named Lorenzo, but they call him Shakes because he likes Shakespeare. Shakes and his friends, Michael, John, and Tommy live in Hell’s Kitchen, a neighborhood in New York City. I guess you could say they are like typical teenage boys. They like to cause a little trouble, but nothing serious. One day, they decide to steal a hot dog vendors cart. They accidentally push the cart down a flight of stairs and nearly crush a man to death (and if you think that’s not possible, try pushing one of those carts all day. They’re heavy!). The man survives, but the boys are still sentenced to a year in Wilkinson Home For Boys. While in the home, they endure unimaginable forms of tourture from the gaurds. Everything from physical abuse to sexual abuse to just down right humiliation.
After nearly 10 years, two of the boys finally get their revenge on the worst guard, Sean Nokes. Now, I won’t say what happens from there because that is the bulk of the book. Even though I enjoyed reading this book, I probably wouldn’t read it again. There was nothing particularly unique about this, except for the way Hells Kitchen is portrayed. To the outsider, it’s a rough and sketchy neighborhood. But to people who have spent their whole lives there, it’s family. Those kinds of neighborhoods are getting harder to come by today.
Another thing that did stick out was at the end, the author tells a story about him and his 3 friends before the incident happened. I believe he did this so the reader can make a comparison between how things are now, how easy and free spirited they used to be, and how they can never go back to that. It makes me think about myself when I was 13 years old. I was so happy and carefree. I’ve tried to go back to that, but so much has happened that I can’t.
If you’ve read the book (or even if you haven’t) what is your take on the messages in the book?
Also, if you’re not interested or too busy to read the book, check out the movie.