Saturday, April 23, 2011

Carmen ~ Walter Dean Myers ARC review

April 26, 2011

Walter Dean Myers Carmen is set in Spanish Harlem. With enough twist on the tale that you don't have to know Carmen to like this story (but not so much that if you already do, you can't love this, too).

Carmen is the girl in the neighborhood-the city even-who draws every guy's attention, she's hot as the soaring temperature. When Carmen falls for Jose she's sure he's not like the other guys she's around every day--he's not a gangster, in trouble with he law. Jose seems like a good guy.

But Jose has a temper.

When Escamillo comes to town, the rapper, producer, singer, businessman has every one's attention. And Carmen has his.

Carmen's fed up with Jose always needing to get his way; she's a girl who does her own thing no matter what anyone says.

Jose's not going to get her out of her rough neighborhood--but Escamillo just might.

If only Jose were willing to let that happen.

Carmen is written as a play--complete with dialogue, stage directions, and scene descriptions. The scene descriptions and stage directions make reading a lot of fun because it's very easy, even with the short length and lack of exposition. It leaves you wanting to see the story performed.

Sometimes it's a little hard to keep all of the characters straight when dialogue is doing back and forth. Carmen would make a great book for school reading (or performing ;)) where each character can be assigned to someone. That's likely where this book can be enjoyed the most--where there's a bit of performance and all of the characters will be most easily distinguishable (due to being read by different people) allowing everyone to really follow the whole story with no confusion.

It's still the classic Carmen story at it's base, but has been changed enough to really be interesting to a different (younger?) audience.

It's great that you can still get such a sense of who the characters are in a short book (that is written as a play, too).

I'm thrilled that I read Carmen and it left me wanting to explore more versions of Carmen--both literary and performance/movie ones :)


thank you to Jennifer at Goodman Media and Egmont for my review copy of this book


  1. I've read a few Myers books. I'll look into getting this. Thanks for sharing your thoughts.

  2. @Medeia

    Thank you. I don't think I've read any of his other books, though they are on my list.

    Thanks for commenting :)


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