Friday, 2 October 2009

Friday Flavor (1) A.S King & Glass & Crank by Ellen Hopkins

Friday Flavor says hello to all the readers of Serene Hours today. To kick everything off, this week we have A.S King - the author of The Dust Of 100 Dogs - here with us. Since this is the week of banned books, her post is dedicated to one of the unfortunate titles.

Last month, I picked up a copy of Ellen Hopkins’s CRANK and was immediately hooked. (I have since read the sequel, GLASS, and it’s just as brilliant.) It’s a very real look at the life of a girl who has fallen for crystal meth, and I loved it for so many reasons, I’ll have to only list four, or else I’ll go on forever.

1. It’s well-written and real. The dialogue is perfect. As a writer, this means everything to me. Especially the real part. More on that in #3.

2. It’s written in verse, but manages to hook as well as—or better than—most novels do. I read and write poetry, but nothing that could achieve what this does as a gripping continuous story. I don’t mean to single this written-in-verse thing out, but it’s important to note that this type of novel, one that takes risks in form, is a hard sell in any genre or market. This form, mixed with the challenging subject matter, is genius. Rock on Ellen Hopkins.

3. The realities of drug addiction are not pretty and I think CRANK and GLASS did an amazing job portraying the effects an addict has on a family, and gave a chilling first person account of being completely chained to the monster of crystal meth. Ellen Hopkins didn’t hide anything, and I’m happy about that, because addiction is a serious topic and it’s important to understand how things can turn ugly. It’s important to know The Truth. This brings me back to how real these books are. Young adults have been watching TV and movies about substance abuse for years, and they know the subject. But CRANK and GLASS journey deep into the inner thoughts of an addict and thoroughly explore the awful decision-making that accompanies addiction, and by doing so, these books are an amazing education for teen and adult readers who may not yet grasp the realities of drug addiction. The best part about this is: these books are not preachy or didactic. They serve, instead, as a visual map of a road open to all of us, and show us that down that road lies horror.

4. Did I mention that I read it while vacuuming? Because I did. That’s got to be the best mark of a good book ever. And it’s a heavy book, too, so the one handed vacuuming-reading was not easy.

Because I’m only catching up with my to-be-read pile, I bet most of you out there have already read at least one of Ellen’s books, but if you haven’t, you have to pick up CRANK. It’s one of the best books I’ve read this year.

A.S King with her beloved copy of GLASS.

Have you ever read any stories by Ellen Hopkins? What's your view on banned books? Share your thoughts with me and Amy.

1 comment:

Diana Dang said...

I've never read any of Ellen Hopkins novels (I am not fond with poetry) but I don't think they should have banned her novels. From what I hear, her books are amazing and quite real.