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Bang! Hardcover – September 2, 2005


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"The Island of Dr. Libris" by Chris Grabenstein
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Product Details

  • Age Range: 18 and up
  • Grade Level: 7 - 12
  • Lexile Measure: 590L (What's this?)
  • Hardcover: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Jump At The Sun; First Edition edition (September 1, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0786818441
  • ISBN-13: 978-0786818440
  • Product Dimensions: 5.9 x 1.1 x 8.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (23 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,598,972 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Grade 8 Up–Even though random shootings have become increasingly common in his neighborhood, Mann is horrified when his little brother is gunned down while playing on his own front porch. Two years later, the 13-year-old and his parents are still struggling with their grief. His father believes that if he had been less loving and protective, Jason might have been tougher and capable of avoiding the shot. Mann and his friend Kee-lee keep track of the shooting deaths around them, certain that their own time may come and make them nothing more than numbers on their list. Influenced by ancient African coming-of-age rituals in which young boys are sent into the wilderness to attempt to survive, Mann's father takes him and Kee-lee camping and abandons them far from home. For two urban teens with little food or money, this is a dangerous, frightening experience that leads to crime and violence. After the boys make their treacherous way back home, Mann's father turns him out to live on the streets, determined he will not lose another son because he is too soft. This disturbing, thought-provoking novel will leave readers with plenty of food for thought and should fuel lively discussions.–Ginny Gustin, Sonoma County Library System, Santa Rosa, CA
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Booklist

Gr. 9-12. Following the death of his six-year-old son in a ghetto shooting, Mann's father made every effort to toughen up his surviving son: "If he's gonna be a man, he's gonna have to learn to chew nails and hold a gun in his hand." Approximating an African coming-of-age ritual, he abandons Mann and his friend Kee-Lee at a distant campsite. The experiment ends in tragedy when Kee-Lee falls victim to more senseless violence. Will Mann respond by spiralling into a street thug's nihilistic existence, or will he become someone who "takes trouble and makes something good out of it"? Flake's plot is relentlessly and purposefully grim as well as somewhat jumbled, with disparate story strands that include Mann's developing talents as an artist and his efforts to heal sick, abandoned horses at a city stable. But the vivid, raw voices that earned Flake a Coretta Scott King Award for The Skin I'm In (1998) and two Coretta Scott King Honors are in abundant evidence--and the complicated relationship between Mann and his father represents a welcome investigation of African American manhood, a theme that cries out for broader YA treatment. Jennifer Mattson
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

Customer Reviews

I think this great for teens and young adults.
Suzie
Everyone is giving me big responsibilities like choosing my future when I am still a boy.
Terrence Clarke
This book was inspiring,sad, cool, and kind of funny in some parts.
Amazon Customer

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

12 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Terrence Clarke on March 18, 2006
Format: Hardcover
Terrence Clarke

"Bang"

Bang Review

The book "Bang" by Sharon G. Flake is an invigorating story to read. This book shows the struggles between man vs. man, man vs. nature, and man vs. his environment. The main character in this book whose name is Mann shows the troubles that many African American males experience, such as a troublesome neighborhood, racism, and the hardships of being torn between being a boy and being forced to grow up.

The conflict of this book can be seen in many different ways. The book makes it out to be that Mann, the main character in this book's father drives him out in the woods and leaves him, forcing him to find his own way home. However I interpret it to be something much deeper, the actual conflict in this book is that an African - American adolescent is left alone to fend for himself in a white man's world.

This book has a lot of strong quotes. One of my favorite quotes from this book is on page 187, 5th paragraph, 1st sentence where Mann says "Boys aint men yet". This is one of my favorite quotes because it shows how Mann feels about the situation he is put in. which is his father forcing him to become a man when he hasn't finished living out his childhood. It is also one of my favorite quotes from this story because I can relate it to my life. Everyone is giving me big responsibilities like choosing my future when I am still a boy.

All in all this entire book is a exciting experience to read. It goes far into the horrors of the "ghetto" and how people from the "ghetto" look at the white man's influence not only the black neighborhoods but influence the whole nation. If you are looking for a good book with nonstop adventure while still having touching moment's that make u want to cry. Bang is the right choice for you.
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17 of 20 people found the following review helpful By Timothy Capehart VINE VOICE on September 6, 2005
Format: Hardcover
"The Skin I'm In" is fabulous, but I don't think this lives up to it at all. The first third of Bang! is an excellent evocation of a family and a neighborhood in decline.

After that, the book itself declines into unbelievable, author-directed silliness. Even if everything that happens to Mann after his father abandons him in the country is taken at face value, I find it impossible to believe that for a whole month no family member and no person in authority thought to look for the boy at the stable where he loved to go daily. A stable that became convienently empty just in time for him to move into it.

And to call the child Mann when the whole book is about rites of passage into manhood is just ludicrous. The final scenes of supposed redemption between Mann and his father are some of the most unintentionally hilarious scenes I have even read in fiction of any type.

The many messages of the novel are worthy, but the novel itself is quite flawed.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By The RAWSISTAZ Reviewers on December 30, 2005
Format: Hardcover
Bang! Thirteen-year-old Mann can still hear the sound of the gun which killed his six-year-old brother two years ago. He and his parents still struggle with the death and with the breakdown of their family because of it. Because his brother was gunned down while playing on their front steps, Mann will only enter the house through the back door.

Believing he is too soft for a young black boy on the brink of manhood, Mann's father decides to toughen him up so he will not be a victim of the streets. Using an ancient African ritual, he abandons Mann and his best friend Kee-Lee at a campsite miles away from home, with only a cell phone and a gun. He hopes that the struggle to get home will make men of them. But his methods are different from the African custom. In Africa boys are guided into manhood, not thrown into the streets. What results are tragic occurrences and senseless violence, which ends another life. Suddenly Mann is alone and spiraling into an almost surreal existence. As he struggles to grasp control of his life, his life preserver is his gift to draw; it is his only link to sanity. Mann becomes bitter about his life and he abandons his family; he no longer needs them.

BANG! Is a meaningful story, which is filled with disturbing circumstances. Flake delivers this raw tale with the sad, yet vivid, attitude of teenagers in urban cities. At times the story was somewhat muddled and some events were a little hard to digest, but an encouraging aspect is the relationship between Mann and his father after the tragic occurrences. His father finally accepts his own misguided judgment, and fights to recapture his son. This time he wants to be a real father. BANG is Flake's fifth book and this portrayal of inner-city life is quite sobering.

Reviewed by aNN

of The RAWSISTAZ™ Reviewers
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By JB on December 14, 2010
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I found the first part of the book to be extraordinay. The death of the main character's little brother in a drive by and the way the family reacts to it seem to me to be spot on. Unfortunately, a number of our students have had relatives and friends shot and/or killed. However, the part of the book in which the main character and his friend are left in the forest to be taught what it is to be a man rings a little false. Wouldn't somebody notice these kids were missing? Wouldn't the authorities be called in? That said, my students virtually inhale Ms Flake's books, and this one is no different in that regard. Maybe, as an adult, I thought about things a teen would over look.
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