Give a Boy a Gun

ISBN-10: 0689848935
ISBN-13: 9780689848933
Edition: 2000
Authors: Todd Strasser
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Book details

List price: $7.99
Copyright year: 2000
Publisher: Simon Pulse
Publication date: 4/1/2002
Binding: Paperback
Pages: 208
Size: 4.25" wide x 6.75" long x 0.50" tall
Weight: 0.220
Language: English

Todd Strasser was born in New York City. While still a child, Strasser and his parents moved to Roslyn Heights, New York on Long Island. Strasser attended the I.U. Willets Elementary school and then the Wheatley School for junior high and high school. Strasser went to college at New York University for a few years, before dropping out. He lived on a commune, and then in Europe, where he was a street musician. While he was in Europe, Strasser wrote songs and poems in letters to his friends. He decided to try writing. Upon his return to the United States, Strasser enrolled at Beloit College where he studied literature and writing. After graduating, Strasser worked at the Middletown Times Herald-Record newspaper in Middletown, New York, and later at Compton Advertising in New York City. In 1978, he sold his first novel, Angel Dust Blues. Strasser used the money to start the Dr. Wing Tip Shoo fortune cookie company. For the next 12 years, Todd sold more fortune cookies than books. n 1990, Strasser moved to Westchester County, N.Y., where during the next few years, he wrote various movie novelizations, including Home Alone, Free Willy, Ferris Bueller's Day Off and Jumanji. In 1993 he wrote Help! I'm Trapped in My Teacher's Body and since then has written 16 more Help! I'm Trapped... books, as well as several other series. All together, he has published more than 100 books. Strasser is alos a speaker at schools and conferences when he is not busy writing Strasser has won numerous awards in the course of his career, including the 1995 New York State Library Association Award for Outstanding Children's Literature for the Help! I'm Trapped Series, several State Literature Awards, the 1996 International Reading Association Children's Choice as well as the 1996 Children's Book Council Children's Choice for Give a Boy a Gun and the 1996 American Library Association Best Book for Teens. He won the 1997 American Library Association Notable Book for Abe Lincoln for Class President, the 1988 American Bookseller Pick of the Lists, and was a 1988 Edgar Allan Poe nominee from the Mystery Writers of America.

Introduction
Around 10 P.M. on Friday, February 27, Gary Searle died in the gymnasium at Middletown High School. After the bullet smashed through the left side of his skull and tore into his brain, he probably lived for ten to fifteen seconds.
The brain is a fragile organ suspended in a liquid environment. Not only does a bullet destroy whatever brain tissue is in its path, but the shock waves from the impact severely jar the entire organ, ripping apart millions of delicate structures and connections. In the seconds that follow, the brain swells with blood and other fluids. The parts of the brain that control breathing and heartbeat stop. One doctor described it to me as "an earthquake in the head."
At the moment of Gary's death I was in the library at the state university, where I was a sophomore studying journalism. As soon as I heard the news, I went home to Middletown, determined not to leave until I understood what had happened there.
Returning to Middletown was like stepping into a thick fog of bewilderment, fury, agony, and despair. For weeks I staggered through it, searching out other lost, wandering souls. Some were willing to talk to me. Others spoke because they felt a need to defend themselves even though no one had pointed an accusing finger at them. Some even sought me out because they wanted to talk. As if speaking about it was a way of trying to figure it out, of beginning the long, painful process of grieving and moving ahead.
Some refused to speak because it must have been too painful. For others, I suspect it was because they had learned something about themselves that they were still struggling to accept -- or to conceal.
I spoke to everyone who would speak to me. In addition I studied everything I could find on the many similar incidents that have occurred in other schools around our country in the past thirty years.
The story you are about to read is really two stories. One is about what happened here in Middletown. The other is the broader tale of what is happening all around our country -- in a world of schools and guns and violence that has forever changed the place I once called home. The quotes and facts from other incidents are in a different-style print. What happened in Middletown is in plain print.
This, then, is the story of what I learned. It is told in many voices, in words far more eloquent and raw than any I could have thought of on my own. It is a story of heartbreak and fear and regret. But mostly it is a warning. Violence comes in many forms -- guns, fists, and words of hate and contempt. Unless we change the way we treat others in school and out, there will only be more -- and more horrible -- tragedies.
-- Denise Shipley
Copyright � 2000 by Todd Strasser

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