Friday, April 2, 2010
Parents, would you give your kids Crank?
I'm hoping that this blog post will be a discussion starter for teens and parents of teens and just people in general. Crank is a YA/Teen book written by Ellen Hopkins, based on her daughter's life and struggle with Meth addiction. I decided to pick it up because this book is HUGE in the middle schools right now. So many t(w)eens are reading it (as further evidenced by the tattered condition of my library copy) that I felt like I should get informed, so I picked it up.
"Life was good
for a little while."
When I started reading this book, I thought there was no way on earth that I would let my daughter (15) read this. The first half of the book is full of the excitement of drugs, language, sexual references/content/innuendo/experimentation, and even though you see the path of destruction that Kristina/Bree is on, the danger of it all is exciting. I don't know why destructive behavior is so attractive to some people, especially teens (or I should say it was to me as a teen), even when they see the ramifications played out in someone else's life, but it is. Maybe because they never believe the consequences will find them.
"And it occurred to me for one uneasy moment
that every move I had made lately might have
started a landslide."
I know that it is supposed to be "real" so that kids will relate. But how can I introduce my daughter to this world? You may be thinking, "You're so naive....she already knows about it!" but she doesn't. At least not in the kind of detail that Crank provides. HOWEVER.....
I kept reading. The second half of the book is absolutely loaded with the consequences of a life on drugs. Kristina's life spirals out of control. Her need for "the monster" leads to more drugs, which leads to theft, juvenile detention, alienation of family and friends, failing in school, cutting and drinking blood, hating herself, rape, and eventually pregnancy and having to make the choice of whether or not to keep her baby. I found myself thinking about Kristina, and what may have happened to her if she had come across this book when she was a teen. Would it have saved her? I think that is the hope of the author ("Kristina's" mother).
There are so many teens out there struggling with the things in this book. If just one of them picks up Crank and sees that there is hope, than this book has done it's job. I'd also recommend it to parents that are wanting to know what life can be like for teens. If your teen is reading this, you as a parent should be reading it too. There are so many things that you can talk about with your teen after reading this book, and if they are being introduced to this world of drugs, sex, and destruction, it shouldn't be alone.
So, I guess the bottom line is that I'm torn. I wish I could pass this on to my daughter, so that we could use it as a discussion starter, but there's just too much graphic detail about sex etc. for me to feel comfortable. But, I do understand that being so graphic helps people to understand just what an enormous impact that using drugs can have on your life. I'd love to hear your thoughts on this book! Were the graphic details necessary, or could the same point be made without such detail?
If you're a teen, have you read Crank? What did you think? Do you know anyone going through these things?
If you're a parent, would you give your teen Crank? At what age? Have you read it?
Looking for help? http://www.teen-drug-abuse.org/
If you'd like to know more details about the content, go to Crank on Parental Book Reviews.