Wednesday, November 7, 2012
Gentlemen by Michael Northrop
Author: Michael Northrop
Publisher- Scholastic Press
Published- April 15th 2009
Micheal, Tommy, Mixer, and Bones are what you would call delinquents. They skate through life getting into any kind of trouble they can find. Everyone stays away from them. Mr. Haberman, their remedial English teacher, decides to not treat them any differently. He likes to call them "Gentlemen" which gets on their nerves.
One day Tommy gets in trouble and subsequently gets sent to the principal's office. Their friends initially don't think anything of him disappearing because he's done it before. But after a while Micheal and the others start to question if Mr. Haberman had anything to do with his disappearance. The book they are reading for Mr. Haberman's class, Crime and Punishment, has great similarities to their current situation. Questions start to arise. Possible hidden hints. Could it be possible that Mr. Haberman took Crime and Punishment literally? Did he kill their friend?
Micheal (spelled wrong because of his parents lack of attention to detail) is the leader of the odd group. He's the one who sees something wrong when they are with Mr. Haberman. He's actually pretty smart and perceptive that way compared to the others. I think he hides being intelligent because he has the friends he has. The relationship he has with his friends seem normal enough but then later it feels more distant than it should be. It's like they aren't really friends. That might just be because of the intense situation they are in. There is no sign of Tommy who is the nicest one out of the bunch. He is like them, angry and distant, but he's a little less than the others. He's the glue that keeps them together and without him things start to fall apart.
The relationship Micheal has with Mr. Haberman is tense because things keep coming up that gets his attention. Right away you are put into the mindset of these four delinquents and see something very wrong with the Haberman situation. There are points where you don't know what to think. It's all very high paced and incredibly mysterious. I kept going back and forth between different possibilities. Gentlemen kept me on the edge of my seat and I was thrilled to read it. The shock at the end was beautiful. I audibly made a gasping sound.
Mixer is also an in between guy to me like Micheal. He kind of follows the lead of whoever is taking charge but really I could see him as a quieter and less productive mirror image of Micheal. Micheal takes action and starts reading the book in question. The stories intertwine with their real life. It's kind of expected of him to read the book and take charge of the situation so he does. Bones is more of the extreme of the four. He's angrier than all of them. He stayed angry when everyone else moved on. No one bothers him so he doesn't really have an excuse to be so furious all the time. He's the guy you wouldn't want to meet in an alley.
So the group has varying degrees of delinquency. They actually never do anything too bad. Not anymore than what is thought a teenager does. I actually kept on imagining them as Middle Schoolers even when they drank or smoked. It might have been the cover that made me think they were younger or the way Micheal and the others spoke but I couldn't see them as any older than fourteen.
The book they were reading was deeply disturbing which I love. It made me want to read it but it was described as this book with ridiculously small type and I'm pretty sure it's a classic so... I might read it anyways because I loved this book so much. The comparison between the two books was eerily similar. It was paired up pretty well. I wonder if the author read this book as a teenager and was inspired by it even at that age. He's probably one of the few that feels that way. He was able to do what that book probably wouldn't have done for most teenagers and create an event that gets us interested in a book we otherwise wouldn't have thought of reading.
Micheal is the type of main character you root for. He puts his potential to the side but you really get to see it when he investigates his friend's disappearance. As you know this book kept me guessing and it completely exceeded my expectations. I've had this book on my TBR list for almost two years I think so to finally read it was a huge accomplishment. If more of my TBR list books were like this I wouldn't wait too long to read them. This book was crazy good and needs to be read by more people! I noticed that it had an average rating of three stars on Goodreads and I wanted to point out that I might have not gotten what the end would reveal but I think others could. It all depends on you, always. I do recommend reading this book and seeing for yourself.