Monday, November 17, 2014

Graphic Novel Review: "Yummy: The Last Days of a Southside Shorty" by G. Neri

In the summer of 1994, eleven year old Robert "Yummy" Sandifer made the cover of Time magazine:  Cover 9/14/94

Eleven years old.

He had killed a fourteen year old girl, and was killed himself.

Eleven years old.

This graphic novel takes a look at Yummy's life, and how he ended up in the position he was in.  Because, honestly he was only eleven years old.  A child.  A child who found a sense of belonging in one of the neighborhood gangs.  A child with a gun in his hand and something to prove.

This is told from the point of view of a boy around Yummy's age, who grew up in the same neighborhood with Yummy, and who's older brother was in the same gang as Yummy.  This boy, Roger, takes the reader through his inner turmoil over what happened - what it meant, what it means for the future, and how a kid like Yummy got caught up in it all.

The art is stark black and white panels that ooze emotion.  The character's faces - especially their eyes - clearly express their tension and fear with the reader.  This was a tragedy - but have we learned?  Have things changed?  Not really in this neighborhood, according to the author's note.
The events in this book happened twenty years ago, but the story and its themes are still relevant today.

Yummy:  The Last Days of a Southside Shorty
by G. Neri
Illustrated by Randy DuBurke
Lee & Low Books, 2010
96 pages
Source:  Library


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