Crank by Ellen Hopkins
*click on either the image or the link to read the synopsis or purchase a copy of your own*
My Rating: ★★★★★
flashed me back to a time
when Mom and Dad were still together
if you could call
miles apart together.
Having divorced parents and knowing firsthand what it’s like to have to deal with the constant bickering, words thrown at each other back and forth between two people you love, this verse struck very close to home. I was pulled right in.
Maybe he wasn’t perfect.
But he was still my dad.
I have only ever read one other book quite like this one (Go Ask Alice by Beatrice Sparks), and that was a few years ago, so it was no surprise to me when I found this book overwhelming from beginning to end. Despite the whole book being written in verses and me being rather confused in the beginning (I was seriously wondering if there were some printing issues with my copy until I finally figured it’s supposed to look like that), I felt touched by this book in a way not many books have done for me before. It was poetic. It was powerful. It was able to address sensitive matters in such an eerily beautiful way that was almost daunting and frightening.
I didn’t have a clue how to kiss.
Didn’t really want his hands, investigating the hills and valleys of my landscape.
Crank not only opens your eyes to reality—a reality that could have well been yours, because addiction shows no mercy and does not discriminate—it also makes you think back on your teenage years (or if you’re still a teen, perhaps this book put a lot of things in perspective for you) and the times when you may have been pressured; times when temptation may have been difficult to resist. Fortunately for me, I was a very reserved and introverted teenager. While I kept to myself, it did not mean I was unaware about the world of drugs and the way some of my own friends have abused some of these drugs. Which brings me to my next point.
While I was reading this, I thought about the fact that this book is categorized under teen fiction. For a moment I asked myself, “why would such an explicit book be exposed to teenagers?! This should be filed under adult fiction!” Then I reflected on my own question and gave myself an answer. Books like Crank—especially books like Crank—should not be hidden away from teenagers. This book could be a huge wake up call to some. And that might be exactly just what some needs. This could very well be that book that saves one person’s life. Why hide a book that has reality spilled all over its pages? As a matter of fact, I’d go as far as saying this should be one of the literatures that is a required read for high school students (much like how Go Ask Alice was a part of the curriculum in the English classes in the high school I attended). Knowing especially that this book was inspired by the author’s own experience—and a very real one at that—with her daughter’s drug addiction, it shows that these things are not impossible and anyone could be vulnerable. Even the reserved and introverted and “goody two shoes” individuals.
If I had read this book while still in my early teenage years; still on the brink of finding myself, it would have scared the living hell out of me. It would have made me promise myself to stay away from drugs. Even reading this as an adult scared me to my wits. Teenagers are not the only ones vulnerable. Again, I truly believe that addiction does not discriminate.
self with your
self, you don’t
always like the person you find
A reality slap, anyone? Another one of the many things I appreciated about how Ellen Hopkins tackled this book is that she mentions the things some of us are too afraid to say out loud let alone simply admit to ourselves. This verse itself can apply to a majority of people, whether you are in deep with drugs or never touched a drug in your life. Ellen Hopkins did not only address the monster that is drugs—meth in this case—she also addresses the monster that lives inside some of us.
The problem with resolutions is they’re only as solid as the person making them.
I truly believe in this book and its potential to save lives. For all I know, it has already done that for one or more individuals. This is another one of those books that will forever have its own special (and rather dark) place in my heart. It is impossible to read this book and not come out a changed person. Read it for yourself and you’ll see what I mean.