Crank by Ellen Hopkins is a uniquely written story about a suburban teen tweaker. What I most enjoyed about the novel was the unique writing style. Each page organizes the words into poetry, both physically on the page and rhythmically within the structure. Adolescents typically do not enjoy reading poetry, and Hopkins has managed to find a way to make poetry accessible and enjoyable for teenage readers. I found the plot very interesting, as it continually unexpected turns. The downward spiral of suburbia due to the influence of narcotics is beautifully described through Hopkins’ novel.
With that being said, there were aspects of the novel that I did not care for. Although the novel was horrifically realistic, this mixture of poetry and prose does not allow for extensive character development. Typically a six hundred page novel has depth for every character, but this novel left many characters static and flat. Which, considering the restrictions of the poetry form, is understandable. To be honest, that is the only issue that I adamantly dislike about this book.
A book like Crank is surprisingly easy to connect to. The readers will typically be a part of suburbia. After all, they have access to a library or a Barnes & Nobles to get the novel in the first place. Although speed is not a common street drug in the suburbs, it is normal to know someone who has fallen into the trap of narcotics. I can personally connect with this novel from a female perspective. I have felt the pressures of drug use in parties, and luckily in my teenage years I was responsible enough to decline. However, this book makes you truly think about the fact that addiction comes easily, and can happen to anyone. [SPOILER] I can also connect with this book because I had several friends during my teenage years who became pregnant. Although some of them did abort, a few chose to raise their baby. Finally, I can connect with this book, as well as most readers, because rape is much more common than you would think. Although I have never been in that awful situation, a close friend of mine was a victim. The aspects and plot of this book are real. Whether or not they may seem far -fetched, rape, drug use, and pregnancy occur even in the suburbs.
To be honest, Crank would be difficult to integrate into a classroom curriculum due to the graphic nature of the book. However, this novel could be included in a “Book Pick”. Students would be provided with four or five books of the same social content, and be able to pick the book they want to read. All of the students would have the same assignments, and would work in groups according to the books they have chosen to read. Crank would need to be approved by the parents of the readers, however. This book, although written for adolescent readers, is graphic in both sexual and narcotic ways. Crank would be an excellent book to discuss during a unit about monsters. A teacher could teach Crank with other monster-related stories. For example, one could teach Frankenstein, Twilight, The Hunger Games, etc. Also, this novel could be used to introduce poetry to unwilling students. This form of poetry is much more accessible that what students are used to. Style, structure, form, and creative license would be excellent topics to discuss during this reading. This book, despite its dramatic downfalls, gives a plethora of opportunities to teach in the classroom....Continua