Most teenagers expirement with all kinds of things these days, this includes drugs.
This might seem as a cliché, but Smack ( It’s called ‘Junk’ in other countries ) is a book about teenagers, drugs, squatting and about love between the two main characters called Gemma and David ( better known as ‘Tar’ ).
First, let me tell you something about the writer of the book, he is called Melvin Burgess, He was born in England in 1954. He got known thanks to the book Smack, which was published in 1996.
Thanks to the book he got well-known in England. All his work has been published quite recently.
As I already told in the introduction the story is mostly about two teenagers called Tar and Gemma. Tar fell in love with Gemma when he met her at the beach, and Gemma liked Tar but didn’t really love him. When Gemma met Tar he didn’t have a home, he ran away from his parent’s home because he had a real hard time there : He had been beat up by his dad a couple of times. His dad and mom are both alcoholics and Tar is trying to help his mother with the household, but even his help isn’t appreciated by his father. Gemma on the other hand has no real issues with her parents but she decides to run away anyway. She joins Tar who sleeps in a little vacation house at the beach and lives on the street. After a while Tar gets help from a man called mr. Scholl ( a.k.a. Skolly). Skolly tells Tar about some squatters which are squatting a new house, and Tar could live there with some other people. Richard is the one squatting the home, he does it all the time to help the homeless to make something of themselves or atleast survive. Tar gets placed in an house with Vonny, Jerry and Richard. Tar is by far the youngest of the four people but even though he is the youngest they invite him to smoke a joint. This is the first time he used drugs in his live.
After Gemma ran away Tar asks her to come live in ‘his’ house for a while. After a while Vonny doubts if it’s good for Gemma to stay there. The reason behind that has to do with Gemma and drugs, she keeps pushing it further and further. Gemma changes a lot, not only from the inside but also her appearance, she becomes a real punk.
When the squatters are having a party at their home Gemma meets a new girl, called Lily. Gemma was so impressed by her, by everything she did. The girl talked to her and they became friends, also with Lily’s boyfriend Rob. Gemma introduced Tar to Rob and Lily and Tar also like them. This moment is a real turnover for the story. Rob and Lily both use heroin from time to time. After a while Tar and Gemma decide to live in their house because Gemma isn’t welcome at Vonny’s and Rob’s. Tar and Gemma start to use heroin together with Lily and Rob from time to time. They all think they are the ones deciding if they want to stop or not. What could go wrong? Well, pretty much everything.
When I started this book I thought it would be a real cliché, I was pretty wrong. This book was a lot different from other books with the same subject. It used the perspectives of a lot of characters in the book, this has been a real help to understand the characters and the choices that they are making. But on the other hand, it can make them even more mysterious, which is also nice. I would definitely recommend this book to anyone who likes reading about issues with drugs. It makes you even more aware of the dangers of drugs. You learn to actually ‘understand’ heroin addicts, or at least it makes you ‘hate’ them less.