Saturday, February 8, 2014

Book Review: CRANK

Two weeks ago I saw this book performed as a stage play: Flirting with the Monster

It is the story of a 15 year old honor student.  It tells in poetic verse how she goes from first time user, to addict, to dealer. 

I work at a residential treatment center for teenagers with serious problems: drug use, cutting, suicide attempts, repeated assaults, etc...

As I walked the hallways this last week I saw at least three different kids reading CRANK.  I talked with one girl about the book: She told me she loved it because she could totally relate to the main character.
We then spent a half hour talking about what parts she related too, how she knew she should stop using, but she could never forget how amazing the drugs felt.  We talked about her progression from snorting to smoking, but she had never done IV.

I found that knowing the story gave me a window into the lives of the kids I work with every day. 

Do I recommend the book?
 - not to everyone.

The book is... well... real.  Yes it is fiction, but it is the most accurate portrayal I've ever read.  I talk to drug addicted kids every day.  I hear their stories.  I hear about who ran away from home, who ended up in prostitution, who was raped, who stole from their parents, who started shoplifting, who got pregnant, who gave the baby up for adoption, who got an abortion.

I hear about who's "only" using pot.  I hear the other kids laugh because they used to be the same way.

This book reminds me of so many teenage girls I work with - it scares me.  Many of them are poetic, many of them are very artistic.  This book reads exactly the way they speak.  I can hear them saying the words.  I can see them writing it. 

That's what makes the book so amazingly accurate, and so terrifying at the same time.  It's just too real.
It doesn't try to scare you.  It shows you the good and the bad.  It doesn't make the main character into a raging monster - it makes her real.  It shows her good side and bad, how much she wants to be the honor student she was, and how hard she tries to turn her back on meth, but she knows she can never really walk away.

The book is based on the real life experiences of the author's daughter.  The emotions, the stories, the hate, the rage, the fear, the sorrow, are all very real.... and it scared me to death.

Sadly - I'm moving on to read the sequel.  This is the life of too many teenagers today - and they need our help.

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