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A Hero Ain't Nothin But a Sandwich Mass Market Paperback – February 1, 2000


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Product Details

  • Age Range: 12 and up
  • Grade Level: 7 and up
  • Mass Market Paperback: 128 pages
  • Publisher: Puffin (February 1, 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0698118545
  • ISBN-13: 978-0698118546
  • Product Dimensions: 7.1 x 4.4 x 0.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 3.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (25 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #282,712 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

Dope. Smack. Junk. Heroin. No matter what you call it, you can't change the fact that 13-year-old Benjie is on it. Oh no ... he's not hooked, though. He could stop anytime ... really. But why is a young kid like Benjie using at all? Originally published in 1973, Alice Childress's novel remains one of the most profound explorations of an addict's world ever written. What makes this novel different is that Childress points no fingers and offers no easy answers. Her characters' moods and motivations are complex, fresh, unexpected, and courageously real. Woven into Benjie's own ramblings about his situation are the thoughts of those involved by association--his mother, stepfather, friends, the pusher, and teachers at his school. This narrative technique creates a rich, heroic portrait of the social and psychological circumstances of addiction, love, and family. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Review

Novel for young adults by Alice Childress, published in 1973. Presented in 23 short narratives, it is the story of an arrogant black teenager whose fragmented domestic life and addiction to heroin lead him into delinquency. -- The Merriam-Webster Encyclopedia of Literature --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

12 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Arman Sheffey on April 12, 2000
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Childress does an excellent job of putting the perspectives of all the characters associated with Benjie or to his problem in this novel. Point of view is a defining characteristic of this novel. Within the twenty-three first person narratives, the reader hears the dialect, different knowledge levels, and thinking processes of all the character's, from the local drug pusher to Benjie's high school teachers. This made the plot a bit harder to follow at first, but had it been written any other way it would have lost a definite sense of authenticity.
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on March 4, 2000
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Powerfully and courageously honest about the lives of the young, African-American heroin addict Benjie and those around him ... There are no easy answers in this book. I think it's a story people need to hear, whether we want to or not. I couldn't put it down; I will never forget it; I only hope I learned from it. Moving and amazing.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Shelby on April 29, 2003
Format: Mass Market Paperback
I thought this was written in an unusual, which is a good change. Instead of one narrator, each chapter had a different one. Some spoke more than once, and some only once. This book gave the perspective of many different people, but all about one topic: heroin. A 15 year old boy, Benjie, has a heroin problem and this shows how it affected his mother, "step-father," grandmother, teachers, friends, and even the dealers. This book deals with death, addiction, and overcoming addiction. I think it is a great read for someone in early high school.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By B. Wolinsky on July 9, 2010
Format: Mass Market Paperback
"A Hero Ain't Nothin But a Sandwich" isn't really about "Benjy", the book's advertised protagonist. It's really about the different people in an inner-city neighborhood, and how they view life. The characters include his passive mother, his hardworking stepfather, his narcissistic grandmother, his caring, yet frustrated white teacher, his black teacher who's obsessed with Black Power, his best friend (with whom he's become estranged), the local pimp/pusher, etc.

Each of these characters speaks in a short monologue. Their talk revolves around 13-year-old Benjy, but they end up talking about life in general. Their neighborhood has crumbled, their municipal (and religious) leaders are mired in corruption, and business has stagnated. Life seems hopeless, but I find that the only one who tries to keep his head up is the stepfather. He's the smartest one in the book. He desperately wants to send his stepson to live on a farm, away from all the bad influences of the city.

The end of the book has a tirade from the stepfather that I think is a must-read for kids. A White social worker says that the boy needs some good heroes to look up to. The stepfather says "what about me, I'm supporting three people plus Uncle Sam on my paycheck, and I can't claim any of them as dependents, so why can't I be seen as the hero?"
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on January 6, 2004
Format: Mass Market Paperback
I read this book a couple times, why I read it more than once was because the First Time I read it I was too young to grasp anything from it. Now I notcie how serious the book and though there is so much fowl languge in the book it seems theres a reason for it. Also when I read the book at times the character Benji made me mad, and sometimes dissappointed at him, because his point of view on Society, but now I realize he's an angry crack head in denial trying to hide what he knows he is...A Pot Head...
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Sade on May 29, 2002
Format: Mass Market Paperback
The novel "A Hero Ain't Nothin But A Sandwich" is a great novel.I enjoyed reading it. This novel is about a young boy name Benjie who is growing up in a gang bang niegborhood. Benjie has been introduced to alot of bad things like drugs(herion). Benjie is trying to deal with school related activites and the temptations of doing drugs. Beening the age that Benjie is, he has alot of people influencing him to do things he knows that he should not do. This novel is so interesting in many differnet ways because it tells the book from different points of views, like his mom, grandma, best friend, and other people. You get to find out their thoughts on life and on Benjie. To find out if Benjie gets hooked on drugs of does the right thing ,you should read this novel.
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6 of 8 people found the following review helpful A Kid's Review on December 8, 2004
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Hi im 13 years old and im from the ghetto but i loved this book this book was good and got my atendtion all my teachers were shock i go to horce mann middle school and this book relate to how i am around that and trying to make and i would become a lawyer so this is the best book i ever read and keep reading this book.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Parent's Eye on March 14, 2006
Format: Mass Market Paperback
I read this book because my son had to read it and I wanted to be able to discuss it with him. Due to the urban idioms, at first I found it difficult to understand the dialogue. Once I figured it out I found the book rather interesting. A 13 year old boy, Benjie, from Harlem is faced with several disturbing choices. Eventually he puts himself in a situation that he is not mature enough to handle and makes a bad choice, which is to try heroin. Once he makes that choice he struggles with the acceptance of being a heroin addict and repeatedly denies it. Yet, all the signs of an addict exist. Ms. Childress uses other characters to explain the ripple effect that occurs in the boy's life and how it has affected the other lives. I recommend the book, however, it is a tough read for young people.
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