The November Criminals Summary & Study Guide

Sam Munson
This Study Guide consists of approximately 50 pages of chapter summaries, quotes, character analysis, themes, and more - everything you need to sharpen your knowledge of The November Criminals.
This section contains 769 words
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The November Criminals Summary & Study Guide Description

The November Criminals Summary & Study Guide includes comprehensive information and analysis to help you understand the book. This study guide contains the following sections:

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Munson, Sam. The November Criminals. Simon and Schuster, New York, 2010. Kindle AZW file.

Addison Schatch is a high school senior filling out a college application that requires him to write an essay listing his best and worst traits. Instead of the 1,000 words the application dictates, he writes the novel-length answer, which includes details about his life, his relationships, an his faults – which overwhelm the one good deed he claims to have done.

Addison is a drug dealer, selling marijuana to a client base of mainly students at John F. Kennedy High School in Washington, D.C. When he and other students arrive for their first day of their senior year, Addison learns that fellow student, Kevin Broadus, was one of three people murdered while working at a coffee shop. The murderer has not been found. The story touches Addison, even though he barely knew Kevin and had no interaction with him, and Addison sets out to solve the case.

As is always the case, Addison's relationships affect all aspects of his life. He claims to have no friends his own age other than a girl named Phoebe who insists on being called Digger. Though they have a sexual relationship, they also have an agreement that allows no emotional entanglements. Addison's father is largely an absent parent, though the two live together. Addison found his mother's body when he was only seven, and he never talks about that with anyone, including his father.

Addison begins printing off batches of flyers in the office at school and manages to steal Kevin's file. When he and Digger look through the file, they realize that Kevin was an ordinary teenage student, and dismiss the idea that drugs or gangs played a role in the murders. One morning, Addison picks up marijuana from his supplier, Noel, and Noel claims to know that Mike Lorriner was the killer. Addison believes little of the stories Noel tells, but he latches onto this detail, mainly because he has nothing else to go on. Addison tells Digger, and they find Mike's phone number. Addison makes the call, though he and Digger are high, and Mike calls right back with threats, saying he got Addison's number from his caller ID. Addison goes to the police, hoping to put them on Mike's trail, but they dismiss his information. When Addison gets home, he finds that Mike has hurled a brick through the living room window.

Addison and Digger go to Noel's house where Noel tells the whole story, as he heard it from someone else. Noel's bodyguard, David, gives Addison and Digger a gun, and they quickly discover that Digger is a much better shot. They take the gun to Mike's house and Addison throws the brick back through Mike's window. Mike releases a dog and Digger kills it. They talk to Mike long enough to know that he could not possibly be Kevin's killer.

Digger is quiet on the way home and she makes it clear that she does not want their relationship to continue in the current manner. She refuses to talk to Addison at all in the days to come. Addison continues to post flyers and Kevin's father calls Addison's pager number. Addison goes to Kevin's house and, after a short talk with Mr. Broadus, realizes that the police are withholding an important detail about the crime that makes Mr. Broadus believe the killing was random, and the killer will never be found. Mr. Broadus also tells Addison that Kevin was dealing drugs. Addison has 12,000 dollars, proceeds from his recent drug activity, and he leaves that at the Broadus house. Addison collapses at the house, having been walking around with a virus for some time. He is hospitalized and accepts that the murder was random by the time he is released. He immediately shuts down his drug business, destroying and discarding everything.

When Addison returns to school, he discovers that Mr. Broadus used Addison's drug money to establish an annual writing competition in Kevin's name. The first winner begins to recite her essay, about the violence of modern black men, and Addison is horrified. He looks around and sees that everyone else is equally uncomfortable with the content of the essay, and he interrupts, leading the students in an irreverent song about Hitler and telling unconscionable Holocaust jokes. He is expelled, and that is when he writes this essay. He relates the story, constantly reminding the reader that he is writing for the college application committee, and making the point that interrupting the essayist is the only good action he has ever performed.

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