John Santangeli Letter-Essay #3: Lockdown

Recently I have finished reading Lockdown, a 247 page book by an American writer named Walter Dean Myers. Myers is known for publishing young adult literature for example one of his books which is the one I read Lockdown, and his book Monster. Myers wrote over 100 books including nonfiction and picture books. Myers was married to Joyce Elene Myers but she sadly passed away. Myers got re-married with a woman named Constance Brendel which she passed away the same year Walter did. Myers was born on August 12, 1937 in Martinsburg, West Virginia. Myers passed away on July 1st, 2014 in Manhattan, NY. One of Myers’s famous quotes are “When I began to read, I began to exist.” What I suppose it means is that when he begins to read he becomes more alive, open. He begins to see himself as his reader what his potential is. As I read Lockdown a book I never read from an author I have never heard of as an amazing book filled with jam-packed action and fighting I’ve never seen in a book this intense.

In the book Lockdown, the main character is named Reese Anderson and he is in Progress which is a juvenile jail, and he’s been in there for 22 months. How he was put in Progress was from stealing prescription pads from a doctor. Reese has recently started the work program which lets him out of “jail” earlier than his release, because all Reese wants now is to just be a regular guy. At the work program Reese feels more like a human than a animal in a cage. What Reese has to go threw at his work program though is that he has to collect the trash from all the elderly people’s rooms while the elderly people give him a dirty look. Back at Progress stuff has brewing which makes it hard for Reese to come out with and early release. He found out and inmate, Diego, is planning to have a fight with Reese’s friend Toon and 11 year old as an initiation for a gang. Just before the fight Reese stands up to Diego and stops him because Reese is more capable, stronger, and older than Toon is. Diego backs down from it when Reese defends Toon, but one of Diego’s initiators “King Kong” which is who they call him comes up and stares Reese dead in the eye. Seconds later they get into a fight. King Kong throwing punches, Reese doing the same. Reese grabs King Kong by the ankle and yanks him to the ground. Just as King Kong was gonna get up to do more a security guard name Mr. Pugh comes over and stops the fight and goes report it to the warden. Reese gets called in by the warden and some stuff goes down. The warden which is Mr. Cintron gives a big talk to Reese. He tells Reese he put him in the work program for a reason. He thought Reese had more than just how he was because he was excelling in school and had the highest GPA. Mr. Cintron doubts himself and tells Reese if he should give him a second chance and lets him stay in the work program or he writes Reese up and send hims upstate to a jail where he can pick fights whenever he want and where King Kong will be heading in a couple days. Mr. Cintron makes a decision and gives Reese another chance. At Evergreen where Reese works he meets an elderly person who was held in a children’s camp in Japan in World War 2. His name is Mr. Hooft. He tells Reese how much worse he had it than Reese is having it at Progress. In the epilogue we see Reese and Toon out of Progress going their separate ways in the world to wherever their path takes them and that’s the end.

Lockdown was such an amazing book. I loved it in one part where Reese gets visited by his mom and sister, Icy. Icy explains to Reese how she wants to run for mayor of New York and wants peace through all races, She was talking about how she would end hunger in the world. This part just makes it weird and kinda funny because throughout the book it’s only about how Reese is journey through progress and at the work program but the author adds a part only stating how Icy wants to become mayor of NY. The author add some signposts which were Aha Moment, Contrast and Contradictions, Memory Moment, and Words of the Wiser. One of a contrast and contradiction moment in the book was when Reese stand up for Toon just before the fight and Reese has not done that in the book until that part.

Well this book was amazing from an author I never heard of. I would recommend this book to some who hasn’t read this yet and I would reread it again. I would rate this book a 9 out of 10 almost reaching the tenth spot but I’ll save that for later.


John Santangeli

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