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Smack Paperback – June 8, 2010
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With Smack, winner of the Carnegie Medal and the Guardian Prize for Fiction, Melvin Burgess brilliantly sketches a gradual descent into drug addiction. There is no preaching here, just the artful revelation of cold, hard facts. Burgess's use of the first-person voice--for not only the main characters but those in the background as well--brings you into the mind of every character in this homeless, hooked culture, offering a (sometimes terrible) glimpse of the motivations and transitions of each person. (Tar's personality changes dramatically over the course of the book, from sweet-natured, lonely boy to hard-edged, hit-seeking addict.) More subtle and less graphic than Beauty Queen, Linda Glovach's tale of a girl's downward spiral into heroin addiction, Smack will linger in the your mind long after its haunting conclusion has been reached. (Ages 13 and older) --Brangien Davis --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
From Publishers Weekly
Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Top Customer Reviews
This is a truly compelling book and I felt myself swept along in total sympathy with the main characters. At first it's all fun and games until they realize that you can't run away from certain basic human needs: the need for a home (which becomes a squat), the need for family (which becomes a group of squatters, who sadly are also junkies). It's only a matter of time before the lure of drugs (as a bonding ritual) takes over -- and then we watch these characters spiral downward.
I read this book right after another Amazon purchase -- The Losers' Club by Richard Perez -- and while that novel isn't about drug addiction, but a "failed," lonely writer addicted to the personal ads, I was reminded of the need we all have to belong, to feel ALIVE. The story of Smack reminds us that we can never escape from ourselves, from certain innate human needs. And when we try to break away from the more traditional ways of life, those needs, that loneliness to belong is still there. I truly love this book and would recommend it to anyone. It's beautifully written and compelling. And sadly true.
There has been a lot of controversy about this book, and whether or not it has a place in the classroom. (Some of this has been around whether a child should just READ this book on their own time.) I say the more who read it, the better. This book is much more than a cautionary tale; it's a darn good read in and of itself. And yes, it is perfectly well suited for adults as well.
The two main characters, Tar and Gemma, leave home for things that every teenager in the world has felt in some way. Tar is abused, and leaves the hell of homelife for peace on the streets. Gemma represents every teenager who is smarter than her parents and resents their control over her life. She leaves for less justifiable reasons than Tar, but her emotions are ones anyone can identify with.
There are a lot of people on the streets and in the squats--anarchists, straight-edge vegans, punks, pot smokers, and heroin users. Tar and Gemma find friends and their own form of a family, and it is very easy to see how they slipped into the world of drugs, namely heroin.
This book has shocking events in it, but the characters are so numb to it all that they describe it in a subtle and offhand manner. Girls who sell the bodies for drug money in no way consider themselves prostitutes, because they have standards and they do it "on their terms," and on and on. The reader gets sucked up in this life and I found myself wanting to smack these characters and say, NO, what you are doing is not justifiable.
This book has a beautiful ending that took me by surprise. No, the world is not covered in roses in the end, but neither has everyone succumbed to hell.
I'd like to make a comment about the appropriate age for this book. My sister is a voracious reader.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
"Smack" begins with main characters Tar, real name David, and Gemma. They are 16 and 14. They escape abusive, toxic homes by running away and joining a squat. Read morePublished 3 months ago by Andrew B
A great story. I was sad when it was over. I wanted to keep reading, because it was so good. I loved this book. 😃Published 4 months ago
Love this book. Helped thru my recovery and gave me support.Published 10 months ago by Vanessa Catherine summers
As a young adult (I'm about to be 24) I still love this book. I read it once before in high school and loved it but re-reading it after going through more life experiences just... Read morePublished 11 months ago by Catherine.3253
AMAZING book any body would love this if they have had any form of addiction or even if u just are into the psycology of an addict or even just a gret read a must for every libraryPublished 15 months ago by mike
Still haven't finished this book but I was very intrigued with it. It traps you and you don't want to stop reading.Published 16 months ago by Christian
I love reading books about drugs/addictions/self-help. It's always so interesting and eye-opening how life could be and how people struggle with drug addictions daily. Read morePublished 17 months ago by megan