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Booktalking "Handbook for Boys: a Novel" by Walter Dean Myers



Jimmy Lynch learns about self-efficacy and choosing your own destiny at Duke's place, a barbershop. Duke Wilson even hires Jimmy to help him move a friend as an excuse, Jimmy thinks, just to get an opportunity to talk to the boy some more. Maybe the barber is bored, Jimmy surmises, after his wife died. Needs something to do.

Jimmy is lucky to escape a juvenile detention facility as punishment for assaulting a student. Instead, he enters the community mentoring program. Duke starts talking about philosophers and what they said hundreds of years ago. He told Jimmy that life doesn't work, you have to make it work for you. Some guys in the barbershop never contemplate such questions. 

How to define success? Different things constitute the good life for different people. If you want a minimum-wage job, the guys tell Jimmy, don't bother to read. Drugs can ruin people's lives, and sex can produce babies and many child-support payments.

Lonnie G winds up in jail again.

Duke gives a running commentary of the drama and people's lives that play out in the barbershop. Jimmy braces himself for Duke's rundown of the customers after they exit the store.

Handbook for Boys: a Novel by Walter Dean Myers

I like the tile of this book, which implies that boys could learn some life lessons from this book. It inspires the reader to think about efficacy in life, thinking of goals and pursuing them. 


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