The Book of Michael
Red Deer Press (2008)
Reviewed by Neha Kashmiri (age 14) for Reader Views (8/08)
“The Book of Michael” by Lesley Choyce is an incredible story. I don’t usually put my opinion of the book until the very end but this book was just amazing.
Sixteen-year-old Michael Grove served half a year at the Severton Correctional Institution. He was convicted of the murder of Lisa Conroy, the girlfriend he loved very much. After that half-year, the real murderer confesses. Michael is released but very much emotionally damaged. He soon finds out that even a wrongful rap for murder is a hard thing to escape from.
Michael slowly, slowly returns back to a not-so-normal life after finding it impossible to hide. Returning to life isn’t as hard as he thinks though. He finds some unlikely friends who help him hide from the press and stares and give him advice; then as quickly as peace comes to his life it is shattered by a single letter — a letter from the real murderer begging for help. Michael finds it hard to ignore and just as quickly as some of his friendships are formed they are lost. But these are his choices.
“The Book of Michael” is so much more than I expected. I thought Michael would be either too whiny or so tough he’d be annoying. But he really and truly isn’t either. You never really see the ending coming and it’s not what you want from him. But it’s his choice. The book has many quotes from the “I Ching” and many other philosophic quotes made by his cynical grandmother. As Michael reflects on the events leading up to his imprisonment, his voice is truthful and serious. Lesley Choyce is an author who has a writing style which is realistic and original. He is definitely an author I’ll read in the future.