Jul 9, 2009
Review | Smack by Melvin Burgess
Like so many teenagers, Tar and Gemma are fed up with their parents. Tar's family is alcoholic and abusive, and Gemma feels her home life is cramped by too many restrictions. The young, British couple runs away to Bristol in search of freedom, and finds it in the form of a "squat." This vacant building is also occupied by two slightly older teens who share everything with Tar and Gemma (including their heroin habits). For a while, everything is parties and adventures, but slowly Tar and Gemma find themselves growing more and more dependent on the drug--whose strict mandates are even less forgiving than those of the parents they fled. As Gemma says, "You take more and more, and more often. Then you get sick of it and give up for a few days. And that's the really nasty thing because then, when you're clean, that's when it works so well..."
Thoughts: I read this book in high school, and I remember being shocked by such a powerful story. It is written in several stories, of everyone who meet Tar and Gemma, two fourteen year old runaways. They, along with two older teens, go through many struggles on the streets after leaving their lives at home and soon find themselves dealing with an addiction: heroin.
This book is well written and the different points of view made it more interesting to read and easier to follow the different events. I thought the characters and the writing style made this book very realistic without the lecturing, and I recommend to everyone.