Autobiography of My Dead Brother

Paperback | October 31, 2006

byWalter Dean Myers

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The thing was that me and Rise were blood brothers, but sometimes I really didn't know him. . . .

As Jesse fills his sketchbook with drawings and portraits of Rise, he tries to make sense of the complexities of friendship, loyalty, and loss in a neighborhood plagued by drive-bys, vicious gangs, and abusive cops.

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The thing was that me and Rise were blood brothers, but sometimes I really didn't know him. . . .As Jesse fills his sketchbook with drawings and portraits of Rise, he tries to make sense of the complexities of friendship, loyalty, and loss in a neighborhood plagued by drive-bys, vicious gangs, and abusive cops.

Walter Dean Myers was theNew York Timesbestselling author ofMonster, the winner of the first Michael L. Printz Award; a former National Ambassador for Young People's Literature; and an inaugural NYC Literary Honoree. Myers received every single major award in the field of children's literature. He was the author of two Newbery Honor Bo...

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Format:PaperbackDimensions:224 pages, 9 × 6 × 0.56 inPublished:October 31, 2006Publisher:HarperCollinsLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0060582936

ISBN - 13:9780060582937

Appropriate for ages: 13 - 17


Rated 3 out of 5 by from great book for teens While this wasn’t a book I particularly enjoyed, I absolutely see its merits. Autobiography of My Dead Brother is the story of 15-year-old Jesse who grows up in a violent New York neighbourhood. He’s smart, talented and although he’s got all the typical teenage issues – he’s not going to make decisions which adversely impact his life. His best friend is Rise. Rise is seventeen and he and Jesse have been friends since they were little. "His mother likes to tell me that when Rise first saw me, he was scared of me. She said they had a puppy and a turtle and he liked to play with them both, but when he saw me he started crying. … I didn’t remember any of that, but me and Rise grew up to be really close. He was more than my best friend – he was really like a brother." Myers’ novel opens, Jesse and his friend C.J. are at the funeral of their friend, Bobby, who has been killed in a drive-by shooting. While Jesse and Bobby are horrified by the event because, after all, Bobby wasn’t doing anything, just sitting on his stoop, Rise thinks Bobby “went out like a man.” It’s an early indication that Jesse and Rise might be heading in two different directions. Rise wants Jesse, an artist, to draw his autobiography and so the reader starts to see Rise through Jesse’s very focused lens. We see his “funny way of walking, with one shoulder higher than the other”; we see Rise’s home life (he lives with his mom and aging maternal grandparents); we see Jesse start to feel the troubling disconnect between him and Rise. Myers also captures the adults in this book very well. None of these kids come from uncaring families. While some come from single parent households, all the parents work and care and even the police are painted as fair and reasonable human beings. But there still manages to be trouble for Jesse and his friends. The book is interesting; the drawings are great (done by Christopher Myers, the author’s brother) and Myers certainly writes authentically about the experience of – in this case – African American kids who just happen to live in a neighbourhood where crappy things happen. Ultimately though, this is a story about the friendship between two kids which unravels over time. I know a lot of boys would really enjoy it.
Date published: 2013-10-28
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Awesome The book “Autobiography of My Dead Brother” written by award winning author Walter Dean Myers, was a good book. One of the main characters is named Jesse. Jesse is a 14-15 year old boy from Harlem, New York. Jesse is a kind and caring boy and a good artist. The book follows Jesse during the summer. In the book the one of Jesse’s friends asks him to draw his biography for him. The second Main Character is Rise; Rise is a 18 year old boy who asks Jesse to write his biography for him. Rise is the main Antagonist in the story. During the summer Rise go’s from a normal teen to a gang leader. At the end of the book, Rise was shot by one of his subordinates, a boy man Little Man,. This was a surprise to all the reader but, a great way to end the book. The main theme of the book “Autobiography of My Dead Brother” was violence in the city streets. In the book there are 2 factions that are causing the violence. The first faction is the police. The police cause violence by thinking that all teens are dangerous and are treated like an armed criminal. This is why the teen don’t like the police. The second faction is the gangs because they are constantly trying to get more turf. They are also commenting drive by shootings. Because of this people are scared to leave their houses in fear of being shot. This is why the main theme of the book in violence. I believe that “Autobiography of My Dead Brother” is good book. Firstly the book is well written because of the language and how it is used. The language in the book is used just like is used in the 80’s, just like the time period the book takes place. Because of the use of the language it makes the book that much better. Secondly I thought that this book was a good book because of the plot. I thought the plot was a strong and awesome plot line with a lot of twists. One of the more memorable twists was at the end of the book when Rise was shot by little man. Overall this was well written for these reasons. Overall this was a well written book and I highly recommend it.
Date published: 2013-01-16
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Book Review Book Review If you’re into books about gangs and family, then Autobiography of My Dead Brother by Walter Dean Myers is a great book for you. This book follows a boy named Jesse in the streets of Harlem, going through the struggle of drugs, friends, and family problems. In my opinion Rise has made some stupid decisions in his life, and some to the point where he ends up hurt. Rise got himself caught up in drugs and messing with the wrong people. Towards the end Rise was shot by “Little Man”. This shows Rise made some really stupid decisions and ends up dead. These two points prove that Rise hasn’t always made the right decisions in life. At the begging of the book Rise is a nice kid, but he figures he has nothing going so he turns into a gang banger and now dead. One of the main themes in the book is violence. One example of violence is Rise getting killed. This shows violence is a main part of this book because the main character is dead. Also there were points in the book where the boys were sitting on the front stoop and were victims to drive-bys. This happens often in Harlem, because it’s a ghetto, and violence usually happens in the horrible parts of the ghettos. These points prove violence is a huge part in the book. My overall opinion of the book is it’s a great book. Violence is a big part in the book, and teenagers love violence. They play all these video games about violence like war games and GTA. Also the book is about the struggle in the streets, and teens are interested in that. They like to read about gangs and street violence. The book is for teenagers, aged from 14 – 18. I truly loved this book, and recommend it to anyone. Overall this book is great. It covers every topic teenagers would love. The book is also not very long, because I know teenagers also don’t like to read. Also the book has a lot of visuals in it to really help imagine what is really going on.
Date published: 2013-01-15
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Fantastic book review! Book Review If you’re interested in books about the ghetto, or enjoy music, Autobiography Of My Dead Brother by Walter Dean Myers is a book that fits your standards. This story is about a group of boys who like to play music. They dream about using music to get them out of the ghetto but get into some trouble along the way. The main character Jesse was a 15 year old black boy with short curly hair. His friends and him created a band together. He enjoys playing music and having a band. His best friend Rise got shot and died when Jesse was 15. He has had a few rough times in his life. I could relate to Jesse because I have gone through some rough things as well. The theme in this book is that life is hard and childhood doesn’t protect us from the harsh realities. Rise starts dealing drugs because he needs to make money. The kids in this book deal with the same issues adults deal with later in their lives. Rise gets shot and killed at the age of 16. Life is hard and not everybody’s dreams come true. The message the author sent was delivered effectively and I understood it. I enjoyed this book and would recommend it to anyone who likes reality novels. Kids are drug dealing and there are drive-by’s in neighbourhoods where there are children. It shows the reality of the ghetto of Harlem. C.J and Jesse want to be musicians and create a band to start. This tells us that not all dreams come true but you can succeed if you try. Overall this book was great and I really enjoyed it. In conclusion, I enjoyed reading this book and learning about the harsh reality of the ghetto. I also learned that sometimes you may make bad choices and losing your life affects your family and friends drastically. By: Adam Forte
Date published: 2013-01-15