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Book Review: All The Right Stuff by Walter Dean Myers

After his father is shot and killed, Paul Dupree finds a summer job at a Harlem soup kitchen. Elijah, the soup man, questions Paul about tough life choices, even though Paul would rather be playing basketball. Over the summer, Paul begins to understand the importance of taking control of your life.

 All The Right Stuff
By: Walter Dean Myers
Publisher: Amistad
Release Date: April, 24th 2012
Reviewed: Hardcover

All The Right Stuff has been my favorite "New" recent read. I was delightfully surprised by the change of pace and tone in this book. What made it so refreshing was the lack of plot driven antics.  This book is not some fantastical tale about a long lost love interest or the protagonist fighting impossible odds to save the world or his family or anything along those lines. No, the point of this book is the get you to think. I love to teach and to help people understand or consider new subjects or even new ways of thinking and this is exactly what the author has done with this literary work.

Through his choice of very realistic and relateable characters Walter Myers begins to lay the foundation for helping the reader explore what is, for most of us, a new world view. Paul Dupree ends up with a summer job working for an older man named Elijah. From the very first day Elijah begins to question Paul on his world views and forces him to consider the lifestyle and life choices of the people around him. This is done in a humorous "sensei/student" manner as Elijah also teaches Paul the practical skills of making soup in his soup kitchen. Somewhere along the lines very attentive Readers will recognize that they are in fact the character Paul, and the Author is Elijah.  This story was not written for the purpose of entertainment (although this is also accomplished) but for the purpose of bringing awareness to an issue that is masterfully disguised behind the trappings of a story. Often times I caught myself stopping and pondering the very same question that Elijah asked Paul to consider. I also found myself rereading certain passages or sections of wisdom that Elijah or some other character would relate just so that I could properly digest and understand it better. The ability to cause the reader to ponder his own life and society is what made this book so great to me.

I would absolutley recommend this book to anyone who is looking for a book that is more than just a story. If you are wanting to think, and to feel challenged and even a bit more informed than I suggest you try this feel good story about living life with "your eyes open."

I give All The Right Stuff five out of five bookshelves

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