Yummy: The Last Days of a Southside Shorty


4 stars

Criminal or kid?  Murderer or misunderstood? 


 In this graphic novel based on a true story,  eleven-year-old Roger tells about the life of his classmate Robert, a young boy nicknamed Yummy.  Yummy, like many other kids in the inner city, never had a real childhood.  He was taken away from his abusive drug addict mother at a young age and lived with his elderly grandmother.  His grandmother loved Yummy, but with 19 others living with her, she had little money or time to give him.  Yummy could come and go as he pleased and often  did - leaving his home for days at a time.  Before long Yummy found a place he could belong - where he would be taken care of if he just followed their orders and proved his worth.  Yummy joined the Black Disciples, the same gang the narrator's brother, Gary, belonged to.  


Yummy begins his venture as a member of one of Chicago's toughest gangs with a petty crime spree - shoplifting, fighting, breaking and entering, and stealing cars.  Yummy never planned on killing anyone - despite having been given a gun by his gang.  He only meant to scare away a few rival gang members hanging in their 'hood.  When Yummy fires his gun as a warning to others, the stray bullet hits and kills a sweet, innocent young girl who was only sitting outside her apartment.


Suddenly, Yummy is on the run -  an 11 year old boy now wanted for murder.  Yummy trusted his gang to take care for him, and he couldn't understand why everyone now hated him and wanted him captured.  He wasn't a killer.  It was just a mistake.  Yummy would give anything to take it back and give the pretty young girl, Shavon, her life back...


Roger thinks he knows his classmate Yummy, but he suddenly realizes life is not white and black.  Yummy could be ruthless and mean, but he also was still just a lonely little kid who never had a chance for a good life.  When Yummy  is captured and killed - not by the police but by his own gang family-Roger realizes the young girl Shavon is not the only victim in this tragic turn of events.