Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Crank by Ellen Hopkins


  • Reading level: Young Adult
  • Paperback: 544 pages
  • Publisher: Simon Pulse (October 5, 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0689865198
  • ISBN-13: 978-0689865190
  • List Price: $9.99
  • I finished this book on July 15
So, okay, first off, this has nothing to do with that movie of the same name starring Jason Statham. Good cover, though, isn't it? If you look close you can see that the words are made up of meth, and that's the main character in this book.
You might think that our narrator: Kristina/Bree is the main character, but the true force in the story is the crystal meth she becomes addicted to. Kristina goes to visit her long lost dead beat pop and on the way becomes enamored with a boy and addicted to crank. Sucks. When she comes home you almost hope she will kick it, but you know she won't. She finds boys at home who can supply her with more drugs, and, as a party favor, rape. Good times.
The downward spiral depicted here is, imo, more jarring than Go Ask Alice because it's a bit more of a narrative story. Oh, did I mention it's written in verse? Cause it is. Hopkins stories are written in a free verse style that allows the scattered thoughts of our girl anti-hero. Also, many of the poems are readable in more than one way (up and down, left to right).
I read one of Hopkins' other books and saw her speak in person (more on that in another post) and she was funny and smart. I really liked listening to her talk about her books, how they are banned and also how they are used in many rehab programs. They are really powerful stuff. But what's most interesting to me about it is this, Crank, along with its sequel, Glass are fictionalized versions of her own family. Her daughter is Kristina/Bree. I think that is really brave. What is even more exceptional, is the way she portrays herself (through her daughter's eyes) as a 40-something career and workout obsessed not perfect mother. It's very powerful stuff to know that someone who seems as reasonable and honest as Hopkins does in person can have a daughter who is a crystal meth addict.
Moral of the story: Read this book. Also, don't google meth unless you want to see the incredibly fucked up things it does to people's faces. Yikes stripes, babies.
Soundtrack: Sanctified by Nine Inch Nails. Most people think this song is about a lady, but it's about drugs.

2 comments:

Adam_Y said...

It reminds me of 'Addict', although that admittedly was a fictionalised biography. Still, enough to put you off.

Eli said...

I'm currently reading Burned by Ellen Hopkins... my first of hers. I find I really like the prose - easy to put down and pick up again. And she apparently addresses topics that aren't always easy but certainly relevant.

ps. i dig the soundtrack addition to the blog. v. cool!