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The Great Monroe High School Fire Michael Cooney

The Great Monroe High School Fire

Michael Cooney

Published September 2nd 2014
ISBN :
Kindle Edition
102 pages
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 About the Book 

The Great Monroe High School Fire is based upon events surrounding the unsolved arson fire that did major damage to James Monroe High School in the South Bronx over thirty years ago. The characters are inspired by the young people who lived andMoreThe Great Monroe High School Fire is based upon events surrounding the unsolved arson fire that did major damage to James Monroe High School in the South Bronx over thirty years ago. The characters are inspired by the young people who lived and survived in that era of gangs, drugs, and a failing educational system. The narrator, Joey Sanchez, lives astride the worlds of his Italian mother and his absent Puerto Rican father and is influenced by the very different people in his life. There is his impoverished mother whom he cannot bear to disappoint. And there is his closest friend Sapo who joins him in a frenzy of graffiti writing while they are still at Junior High 22, and who later leads him to deal marijuana to students at Fordham University.Joey differs from his peers not only in his mixed ancestry but in his inability to accept the limitations of life in the Bronx. Beginning with a box of old books brought home by his mother, he seeks to understand a larger world through reading and through people he sees as possessing the knowledge he lacks. There is Siobhan, the college student who seems to love him and the eccentric English teacher, Miss Bonsecour, whose friendship with the boy brings unwanted attention to them both.The events of the story occur as much of the South Bronx was being consumed by fires whose origin has never been fully explained, a time just before the crack and AIDS epidemics swept away so many lives. It was, in Joey Sanchez words, a time when books were burned and the Dark Ages returned.