I'll shoot you!

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I'll shoot you! (English original title: Give a Boy a Gun ) is a novel by the American writer Todd Strasser, who writes under the pseudonym Morton Rhue and who also wrote the novel Die Welle . The novel was published in the USA on September 1, 2000, and in German in 2002 .

The work is about a rampage between two students who were bullied by their classmates . It was the first school shooting novel to be published after the Columbine High School rampage in 1999. The fictional plot is similar to the Columbine rampage, but Rhue began his research for the book before it happened.


Students Gary Searle and Brendan Lawlor are bullied by classmates above them in the school's social hierarchy. The two students discharge their pent-up aggression in a rampage in which they shoot a classmate and a teacher. Eventually, Gary shoots himself and Brendan is overpowered and beaten into a coma by classmates.

The author writes from the perspective of different people who were in contact with the gunmen, but it is mainly about comments from these people, which Gary's stepsister Denise Shipley has compiled. In addition to the parents of the two, classmates, former friends and teachers report on their impressions and thoughts regarding Gary and Brendan.


The novel takes the form of a literary montage . The story is told from the perspective of a journalist or investigator in the form of quotes, subsequent statements from those affected, chat logs, emails, diary entries and farewell letters.

main characters

Gary Searle (Chatalias Dayzd ) has reddish brown hair, big round eyes and is a bit thicker. His parents are divorced and previously had a lot of arguments. After his parents' divorce, he lives with his over-anxious and constantly worried mother, Cynthia Searle, who tried to get at her son's problems through a psychiatrist. His father never gets in touch or pays alimony, which Gary never got over. Gary is a good student and the best at the computer. He is mysterious, at times rather withdrawn, polite, reliable, but very closed. Even in elementary school, he was teased because of his excess weight. He no longer sees any meaning in his life and spends a lot of time in front of the computer. When everything gets too much for him, he kills himself with a shot in the head during the rampage.

Brendan Lawlor (Chatalias TerminX ) is of medium height , athletic and very thin. His parents Tom and Samantha Lawlor are friendly, kind and helpful. Brendan's parents cannot understand their son's behavior, but try to cope with it on their own. Brendan is a loud, but very good, reliable student. He is intelligent, moody, quick-witted, always a little nervous and suspicious. He has a big problem with injustice and doesn't put up with anything. Otherwise, he's a good athlete and runner, he loves video games, especially Doom . Before he came to this school he lived in Springfield (which is not located). He did not want to move to Middletown and therefore finds it difficult to integrate into the school. After the killing spree, he is in a coma because his head was badly injured by the hostages freed. A court must decide whether the life support devices should be switched off.

Allison Findley (Chatalias Blkchokr ): An outsider and Gary's on-off girlfriend. She also often hung out with the two of them and had many adventures such as drunk driving, sometimes she was shocked by her way of thinking, she was also shocked when she noticed that the two were planning to kill everyone in the rampage. Even though Gary had told her not to go to prom, she turned against them the night of the killing spree and tried to get them to stop.

Dustin Williams : Brendan's Middletown neighbor and African American football player. He is neutral towards the whole thing. He always had something to do with Brendan, but couldn't understand him or his way of thinking. Brendan struck him as strange.

Sam Flach : A football player who especially humiliated and bullied Brendan. He terrorized Brendan with little things every day. Brendan hated him the most. On the night of the rampage, Brendan shot him in the two knees so he could never play football again because the sport made Sam feel so great and great that he terrorized others who he thought were a little worse than him.

Secondary characters

  • Chelsea Baker : A new classmate. This has done well at Middletown High School, but soon realizes how difficult it is to be popular at this school. Since she is dating Dustin Williams (who is a football player) she is relatively popular.
  • Beth Bender : Liaison teacher. She knew something was wrong with Brendan, but he didn't want to speak to her, so she dropped the matter and took care of the other students who volunteered to come to her with problems. She should have asked because she noticed that Brendan was not doing well. On the evening of the killing spree, she tries to change Brendan and Gary's mind.
  • Brett Betzig : friend of Brendan's in Springfield.
  • Deirdre Bunson : A cheerleader friend of Sam Flach. She and Sam Flach were the "leaders" of the athletes / cheerleaders , she too only respected people who were athletes or cheerleaders or in one of the hip cliques.
  • Paul Burns : football player; freed himself as the handcuffs were not tight. Then free Dustin Williams and other hostages.
  • Ryan Clancy (Chatalias Rebooto ): A good friend of Gary and Brendan's, is also an outsider. He was Gary's best friend until Brendan moved to Middletown. He was often out with Gary and Brendan, knew of problems they had but didn't know they would go that far.
  • Kit Conner : neighbor of Brendan's family in Springfield.
  • Allen Curry : Headmaster; he didn't quite catch what was going on at his school; he supported the athletes and even if he knew that what they were doing with the other classmates was wrong, but he didn't want the city not to like him or he was stupid of the sports teacher, the parents of the athletes, his students and other teachers Was looked at when he had athletes detention. He was shot in the chest on the night of the prom, but survived.
  • F. Douglas Ellin : Young high school biology teacher. He thinks that he could explain everything that happens at the school biologically to the students and that everything is completely normal, and that you only have to intervene when things get really bad.
  • Dick Flanagan : 9th grade English teacher.
  • Emily Kirsch : friend of Brendan. She didn't have that much to do with either of them anymore. She was no longer an outsider, she always had something to do with the school cliques and had been warned by Brendan not to go to the prom where the rampage was taking place, but she knew nothing about it. Without them, more likely would have died in the rampage.
  • Stuart McEvoy : Gary's 6th grade teacher at Middletown Middle School.
  • Jack Phillips : Brendan's neighbor. A gun fanatic.
  • Denise Shipley : Denise Shipley is Gary's stepsister who compiled the comments summarized in the book. She also graduated from Middletown High School three years before the rampage. At the time of the rampage, she had been studying journalism for two years. In the book she more or less takes on the narrative role.


In his review in the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung in 2002, Hans-Joachim Neubauer confirmed that Rhue was “depressing topicality” in view of the rampage in Erfurt and called the text a “sober, sad and exciting record of isolation, bitterness, revenge and hatred”.



  • Morton Rhue: I'll shoot you guys! Ravensburger Buchverlag, Ravensburg 2002, ISBN 978-3-473-58172-6 . (German language edition)
  • Morton Rhue: Give a Boy a Gun. Simon & Schuster, New York, NY 2000, ISBN 0-689-81112-8 . (original in English)

Secondary literature

  • Reddig-Korn / Maier: Materials for teaching practice. Morton Rhue 'I'll shoot you guys'. Ravensburger Buchverlag, Ravensburg 2003, ISBN 3473981141
  • Herforth, Maria-Felicitas: Morton Rhue: I'll shoot you! (Give a Boy a Gun). King's Explanations and Materials (Vol. 429). Hollfeld: C. Bange Verlag 2005. ISBN 978-3-8044-1815-8

Web links

Individual evidence

  1. ^ A b Joni Richards Bodart: They Hurt, They Scar, They Shoot, They Kill: Toxic Characters in Young Adult Fiction. Rowman & Littlefield, Lanham, MD 2016, ISBN 978-1-4422-3081-1 , p. 61.
  2. Readable - Internet recommendation and review magazine. (No longer available online.) In: lesebar.uni-koeln.de. Archived from the original on July 20, 2016 ; Retrieved July 20, 2016 . Info: The archive link was inserted automatically and has not yet been checked. Please check the original and archive link according to the instructions and then remove this notice. @1@ 2Template: Webachiv / IABot / www.lesebar.uni-koeln.de
  3. limited preview in the Google book search
  4. limited preview in the Google book search
  5. ^ Todd Strasser author of Fallout, and many YA and middle-grade books - Connect Give A Boy A Gun to Common Core. In: toddstrasser.com. Retrieved July 16, 2016 .
  6. a b c d limited preview in the Google book search
  7. limited preview in the Google book search
  8. limited preview in the Google book search
  9. limited preview in the Google book search