Crank by Ellen Hopkins

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22 Comments on “Crank by Ellen Hopkins”

  1. Meghan Warager says:

    Meghan Warager
    Text Response 4
    Crank

    It took me a while to get into the use of reading a book written in free verse. I understood the purpose and how it created a rhythm in the story that mirrored the crazy rhythm of a hard drug user, but it took a while to be able to get the flow of the story. Once I did manage to focus less on trying to read, and focused on the content I did enjoy reading Crank. I thought some of the free verse was very cleaver, such as the page in which it discusses virginity written in the shape of a V. Or certain pages would be written on a slant downwards which symbolized the character going into a slump, or other pages where the words would be widely spaced and looking haphazardly written, symbolizing the feeling of being high.
    I thought it was clever for the Ellen Hopkins to have a character with two types of personalities as her main character in the story. I feel like most teenagers can relate to the feeling that your parents and society want you to be one type of person, Kristina, who goes to school, gets good grades, and follows all the rules, very conforming. However, inside almost every teenager is a little Bree, curious of what lies beyond the rules and conformity. The Bree part of teenagers slips out, for some people more times than others, but I think we all can relate to either staying out past curfew or being with a boy that our parents don’t necessarily approve of. So despite the main point of the story relating to the use of drugs, or “the monster,” I think that this can still be relatable to most teens, even those who have never experimented with drugs.
    Even though overall I liked the book, I did not particularly like the ending. I wish that there was another way for Bree/Kristina to start to make better choices than her being forced to by her pregnancy. It could be the American “I want a Hollywood ending” side of me, but I wish the story showed how one could seek help when they are in this type of situation, because it never really explained how exactly she quit once she became pregnant, or how she all the sudden was able to graduate on time despite her grades being poor all school year long.

  2. carlagaynor2 says:

    About sixty pages into the book I realized that whenever Kristina talks about the monster, she personifies it as a male character. All of the other YA books I have read about drugs, I don’t remember them being personified at all. I feel that crank being personified as a male character fits into the stereotype that the drugs could inflict harm in Kristina. The adjectives Kristina used to describe crank fit the definition of a male character, also, they were for the most part, related to a male character in the book (Adam, Chase, and Brendan).
    Though I did not particularly enjoy reading this style of book, I feel that it was effective for the story line. With the text so minimal on the page, a lot of detail and extra information is left out. Instead we get the raw emotion as Kristina is turned into Bree at the hands of the monster. I felt that a lot of the times the text on the page got more abstract while the narrator was high. I felt that this accurately portrayed her thoughts on the page, and was definitely a well thought out rhetorical choice.
    As in Wintergirls, I could not find a definite Archie. All of the older characters Kristina looks up to in the book lead her directly to “the monster”. The parental figures in this book did not help much at all either. If I had to pick an Archie character I guess I would pick her older sister, Leigh. Though Leigh does not play a large role in this book, she was always offering Kristina sound advice. I feel that her absence was definitely intentional, so that Kristina could spin out of control as much as she did. Leigh may have intervened if she were around.
    The parents in this book were unbelievable. The father actually got high with her. It is believable to me to have a father character that did do crank. However, the first night Kristina got high she was snorting crank with her father (among other characters). I mean, Anthony Kiedis does mention getting high and going out to clubs with his father in his autobiography Scar Tissue. I just felt that this story was not the average story of how a kid gets into drugs.
    Then, the mother was completely clueless the entire time. Even the step-father, who one can assume does not know Kristina as well as her own mother, knew that Kristina was on something when she had slept throughout the entire day. I took this that maybe the mother just did not want to admit, or believe there was anything wrong with her little girl.

  3. Caley says:

    Caley Goldblatt

    I think that the letter to the reader in the beginning of CRANK really helped clarify what sort of experience Ellen Hopkins had with this “monster.” If the book would not have had that introduction where she described how the book is based on her daughter’s life I think I would have spent a good portion of the book thinking how credible the information is and how she knows about youth drug culture today, since she had not been a teenager for years when crank started to show up on the streets. As we talked about in class, the intro gave her ethos and earned my trust as a reader.
    Another really great thing about the novel, the best thing in my opinion, is how it was written. She is using the poems, and the form of the book as a tool to tell the story in a certain way. I especially like when she sets certain words apart and right justifies them. So you can read though the full text, but then in you go back and read what is on the right it will give a different message as well. Just like her daughter’s personality the book is very layered, and split between straight storytelling and lyrical verses. Something that was surprisingly hard for me was to remember to read the names of the chapters. I was so eager to know what was happing next that I would blow right past them and then realized that I didn’t know the setting for the dialogue because I didn’t read the title “in the bowling alley” or “driving around.” I had to consciously remind myself and this alerted me to the fact that, as I reader, I typically don’t stop and read the seemingly “unimportant” parts. However this form forced me to take it slower and really think about why Ellen set it up the way she did.

  4. shanita316 says:

    Crank means to get started or get ready and also clever play on words. Hopkins title choice is interesting because it is not only the name of the drug, but it tells us what the drug does to you. This book touches on the issues of drug, addiction and teen pregnancy and how it alters Kristina’s life. Hopkins constructs her main character by giving her two personalities, Kristina (the goody too shoes who gets good grades and follows societal expectations) and Bree (who explores life’s, gets introduced to sex, drugs, and addiction). Both personalities allow for the readers to see how life on both ends of the spectrum and the dangers of peer pressure, drugs and addiction. I love Kristina’s reference to Crystal Meth as the “monster” because it made me think of “tweens” and teenagers and how her innocence was taken away. “The monster” being a metaphor of peer influence and how Kristina’s life is negatively impacted.

    Kristina’s father being absent in her life in my opinion affected her choice of boys I think. Her first encounter with Adam was hanging out with him and being introduced to drugs, falling in love with Chase who was soon leaving to college and Brendan who raped her. The story being written in free verse allows for the reader to be better understand the ideas of the effects of drugs.

    On another note, I do not approve of how the story does not show the other consequences of being a drug addict. Bree does not get into any trouble for doing drugs. She quits for her baby and she graduates with her class. Hopkins should have shown the consequences of getting high, the effects of it on the body and how it affected her child. I guess I just wish this book did not have a fairy tale ending. In Wintergirls, Lia starts to recover, but Anderson makes sure we know the repercussions of having an eating disorder. There are drug addicts who recover, but in my opinion most stories don’t play out that way. No more Cinderella story endings!

  5. Hannah Sorgi says:

    Hannah Sorgi
    Crank

    This is an identity crisis on crank! The fact that this novel is a specifically written in free verse is crucial to how this book is interpreted. If this book had been written any other way it would not have given feeling to readers. The free verse left the reader having an ability for interpretation yet, Ellen Hopkins, chose those specific words. Free verse is both confining as well as mind opening. The way the free verse conveys how Kristina/ Bree is thinking. Crank makes you scatter-brained. I agree that this book was hard to get into, but once I was into it…I could not put the book down. The free verse rhythm did not allow for any pauses.

    The identity crisis between Kristina and “Bree” was something I think that defines teen angst. Teens are always trying to figure out who they are as they go through experiences. That part I could relate to. I have never done crank and never will do crank so I was hard to relate to the main characters of the novel. I think the Kristina and “Bree” concept is a lot like when people say they are a different person when they drink or smoke. Something almost very teen encounters.

    The one thing that I have noticed with all of the books we have read is the ending, whether I feel okay or not. This ending left me uneasy, even though the last part of the novel was entitled “Happy Endings”:
    I’d like to give you .
    But I’m not really sure
    how this story ends myself. (Hopkins,536)

    The monster will forever speak
    to me.And today,
    its calling me out the door. (Hopkins, 534)

    This is unsettling, yet realistic. Ellen Hopkins’ daughter was addicted to crank and inspired Crank as well as the other books in the series. The personal experience of the author lends itself to the authenticity of the novel. Crank is scary, but real, and it should not be censored. As a mother, Hopkins wanted to inform other young adults of the dangers and consequences of being addicted to drugs. Teens need to learn about drugs, as well as self-discovery of their identity.

  6. Eliss Manon says:

    Eliss Mañon
    Adolescent Literature
    Michele Polak
    September 25, 2011
    Crank

    I could have sworn I read this book before, a long time ago but as I started reading I realized that the only reason I assumed I read this book was because everyone around me was reading it at the time and I finally understood why. The way that Ellen Hopkins organized the book, I thought that it was brilliant! It made me want to keep reading and not put the book down, sure it was long but the form of her writing, as if it were a poem, was what drew me in. Another thing I connected with was when I was reading about how she has never kissed or has been touched by a guy so she was nervous, I was definitely able to connect with her and they way she laid it all out I saw myself in her shoes and it reminded me how we all go through it once in our lives. That part was realistic as well as everything else in the book.
    The Monster in the book was really powerful and her description of the drug and the outcomes of it was very accurate, I actually felt like I was in the book with her, as if I got high to. She did a really good job animating the characters emotion. It made me wonder if Hopkins was an addict, either that or she really did a good job in researching about it. I’m sure she connected with the issues dealing with the boy but with the “Monster”; she had to get accurate sources to have been able to make her book so successful.
    As I kept reading I tried to see which characters would fall under the description of Archie and honestly I did not see it at all. At first I thought it could’ve been here mother because she did try to talk to her about her vacation, but not as in giving her advice. Her father was defiantly a no because he was allowing her to try the monster and asking her if she was a virgin and all that, I did not even see him as father figure at all.
    Like most YA literature Hopkins tries to relate to her readers and if you couldn’t relate to it she wanted you to know the outcomes of trying and/or doing all these bad things, so that you can learn the lesson before you even attempt to do it.

  7. lmaalexander says:

    Reading Crank for the second time, I definitely saw this book differently. I think that when I read it previously, probably when I was in ninth or tenth grade, I was strictly focussed on the story that Hopkins was presenting. I got lost in the world of Kristina and Bree and didn’t pay too much attention to the structure of the book. On this second read, however, I saw things much differently.

    What really stood out to me when I read Crank this time was how masterfully Ellen Hopkins mixes a teenagers voice with stunningly beautiful prose. For example, in the section entitled “I Don’t Know” Kristina is celebrating her 17th birthday at Chase’s house and after she has done crank and ecstasy, someone brings out a razor and everyone begins cutting each other and drinking each other’s blood. The first lines “I don’t know whose blade it was, whose idea it was. I don’t remember saying yes. I know I didn’t say no,” are simple, direct and almost without emotion. Once they have started cutting, however, the language Hopkins uses changes dramatically. “Offered my own to those who would partake. Fever. Fire. I was on fire. Time hesitated. Solid earth gave way. Strong arms caught me, carried me into the cool of outside.” These words are dramatically different and filled with emotion and imagery; they don’t resemble the average thoughts or words of most teenagers.

    What was also interesting about the style of this book was the structure of the words themselves. It is written in prose, but on many pages the normal font text and the italic text can be read as two separate conversations, often contradicting each other. What I also thought was interesting is that very rarely do we see exactly what Kristina says. When Hopkins presents us with dialogue in the form of the italic/non-italic texts, we get direct quotes from the people Kristina is talking to, but we never know exactly what she says in return. Hopkins often paraphrases Kristina’s dialogue, or presents what she says in a much more abstract manner versus the direct quotes of the people she is speaking with.

  8. Shane Samuel says:

    When I first opened the book I did not think I would get into it because of the way that Hopkins’ wrote the story, but once I started I could not stop. Crank reminds me so much of the novel Go Ask Alice, and The Perks of Being a Wallflower because in all three novels the main protagonist appear to be somewhat naïve yet intelligent individuals, who find themselves being exposed to this whole new world that they did not “know” existed. Now that I think about it, a lot of these novels have the same story structure (where is the individuality in that?). In spite of this, I liked the whole “good girl gone bad theme” and I found this book to be a page turner the use of verse to tell Kristina’s story definitely contributed to that because it helped propel the story because it invites you into Kristina’s mindset—her need for crank. Hopkins did a great job at portraying the horrible affects that drugs has on your life and I am happy that she did not sugarcoat it as in the case with shows such as (16 & Pregnant, Teen Mom and Secret Life).

    Hopkins’ ability to show the reader the highs and lows of trying drugs is commendable, I am happy that it was not a happy ending because I felt it sent a powerful message to young readers. Do I think this book would, stop all teens from doing or even considering drugs—no, but I definitely think this book would serve as a wake up call.

  9. Luke Lyons says:

    These books are gradually becoming more and more intense. In Stargirl, my major concern was whether or not Stargirl was going to conform to normality or not. In The Perks of Being A Wallflower, I was worried about Charlie fitting in. In Wintergirls, I just wanted Lia to take a bite of something. I don’t know how I feel about Kristina. I don’t know if I worry for her or if I don’t care about her life disintegrating into nothingness. Whether it was one or the other, emotions were there.

    I was extremely fond of the rhythm of the book. It allowed me to understand Kristina’s voice through more thoroughly than many of the other books that we’ve read. The only book that comes close so far is Wintergirls. The free-verse narration style gave Hopkins a plethora of options to portray Kristina in any way she found fit. I saw every page as a blank canvas for Kristina to throw her soul on. Before even reading a page, I would try to predict what emotions Kristina would try to evoke. No matter how many similarities any two pages shared, no two pages looked the same. I give kudos to Hopkins for that feat because filling about 540 pages of uniquely formatted narration or dialogue isn’t easy – especially when a character is taking meth, getting raped, and trying to raise a bastard child.

    Overall, Crank was a great read. It was a little hard to keep up with the momentum of the book because of how it was laid out but once you get into it, you get into it. Besides this initial hindrance, Crank is a great young adult novel. The plot is enjoyable, and throwing a distinct format on top of that make for a New York Times bestseller.

  10. Katie McLean says:

    Crank– the title, the cover, the format all created the visuals the reader needed to understand Kristina/Bree. I absolutely loved the prose; this book could not be told in nearly an effective way had it been done with conventional language and format. It compares to the tricks and styles that Anderson used in Wintergirls, yet the impact is distinctly different from one another.

    It is hard to say exactly what the spacing is for, what went into the decision-making of when to create formations amongst the paragraphs, or when to spread out the words? I loved the use of repetition in the prose, it made the reading speak so much more. During the times of being on drugs, I could imagine this pattern, and Kristina’s evident disconnect from the world, when not under the influence.

    I am very curious to discuss this text in class, and especially those that chose to listen to the book– if anyone did. I could see how an audio reader could either produce an amazing storytelling of Crank, or it could fall flat. The voice is so specific.

    After reading the book I realized I can’t picture Kristina/Bree. I didn’t feel connected to her, and I’m not sure if that’s why I can’t imagine what she looks like…. But I do think it’s telling that I can still enjoy the book and feel sucked into it yet cannot even picture the main character and her family. I think that does make Kristina a less reliable narrator; the reader cannot grasp anything except for what is going on in her head, and her addiction.

  11. Lindsay Webster says:

    I’ve always tried to avoid reading books written in verse… up until taking this course, I’d been succeeding on this quest. CRANK didn’t really change my mindddd, but I’m willing to explore other verse-narratives because I’m curious if I just didn’t like this book for it’s character, or for the way it’s written.

    Hm. I just thoroughly, passionately, decisively, unabashingly (yeah, new word), STRONGLY-DISLIKE Kristina/Bree. This does not mean though, that I dislike those of you who connected with or related to her on some level. This is purely between her and me.

    My biggest problem with the book was that I didn’t feel like we KNEW Kristina before she became Bree. And even after she became Bree, who the hell was that, either?!? We have about 9.4 words (thank you verse!) of Kristina– a little background story, her getting of the plan, quick transition of daddy to dad, let’s meet Adam etc.– before Bree emerges. I realized on pg. 324. Her mom corners her and a room, and she says, “You’ve got so much promise…” Now, I know that this is just a clichéd thing that SOMEONNEEE has to say in any book on addiction, but it annoyed me, because we never saw the promise! We saw broken Kristina for about five, two-syllable word pages before an entire new character took over the story– and I feel like so much of our emotional page-turning angst is supposed to be based in the fact that we want KRISTINA to get her life back! But we don’t even know who that is…. but I guess neither does she. IS THAT THE POINT!??? Gah I hate verse.

    Ok here’s something I LIKE about verse (bet you didn’t see this coming 😉 ) I like that Ellen Hopkins has the power, BECAUSE of her chosen prose, to manipulate the shape of the words to reflect what they are saying. Example: pg. 191. She’s talking about “Home Sweet Home” and the words are shaped like a house.

    That’s it- no more applause for verse. BUT I have some for Ellen Hopkins. For a long time I refused to pick up Ellen Hopkins’ books– for no reasons that were directly against her– strictly because of the prose. A couple years ago, the bookstore where I worked received a poster in honor of banned book week with a poem by Ellen Hopkins.

    This is a link to an article (a really good one!!) with the poem all the way at the bottom: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/ellen-hopkins/banned-books-anticensorship-manifesto_b_744219.html

    Reading the poem made me fall in love with Ellen Hopkins, and I allowed myself to pick up CRANK off the shelf. I still had no interest in reading it, but I didddd notice the most important thing that I loved about the book, and which multiplied my admiration for Ellen Hopkins times 3.7 billion. The first example is on the very first page!! The prose is separated in two distinct columns, and though you’re supposed to read it all in order– vertically down the page– if you decide to read the words in their own columns, IT STILL MAKES SENSSSEE!!! HOLY CRAP SHE IS BRILLLLIANT! Pg 1 is only the first example, it carries throughout the book. Pg. 293 is another one of my favorites. The first column reads, “I didn’t belong to my mom anymore.” Gahh beautiful.

    Ok I’m done. In conclusion: I still hate verse, but Ellen Hopkins definitely rocks my socks 🙂

  12. Lindsay Webster says:

    plane* planeplaneplane. not plan. although, she definitely strayed from the plan too- just ask her mom. I don’t think drug addiction and pregnancy was on there anywhere… HAH!

  13. Lindsay Webster says:

    dang nabbit. Off* off the damn plane, okay!? I refuse to acknowledge any other typos.

  14. Stephanie Haddad says:

    Crank was such an interesting read—I’ve never read a book where a story was written in verse so I struggled in the beginning adjusting to the vast amount of blank space per page as well as the positioning of words and overall sentence structure. It was until I stopped focusing so much on the format of the story that I actually started to appreciate this unique style of writing. The placement and italicizing of words become so much more valuable to the story’s meaning that it becomes almost impossible to put the book down. Through the format of the story, the reader can get some idea of the complex and convoluted world that drug addicts live in. There is no straightforward way of thinking since the brain is no longer thinking for itself. The way Crank was written seemed somewhat reflective of the drug’s abuse and effect on the mind and body. Thus Hopkins allows for a great deal of interpretation and analysis of the main character’s different personalities.
    In some sections of the story it almost seems as though the words placed to the side interconnected and formed their own little poems, for instance “anywhere anytime anyway I could. The monster and I had become—best friends” (174-175).
    The author’s note was very important to me—the story was so much more fascinating to read knowing that a mother was describing her own daughter’s thought process. I can imagine Ellen Hopkins struggled quite a bit in writing this story revolving around a detrimental drug touching the life of her own flesh and blood. I gained respect for Hopkins as well as a significant amount of trust in the details told in the story. She really hit the bull’s-eye in describing a dual personality for the main character- Kristina, the perfect daughter who steers away from peer pressure, and then there’s Bree, the exact opposite—the person who spirals down to a place that no one ever wants to go.
    I thought the ending of this story was realistic in that we don’t live in a world that always delivers us happy endings—a wonderful story that teens struggling with drug dependency and identity issues could connect to.

  15. Christopher Shanley says:

    This was brilliant- I mean it was horrible and disgusting and it killed a little bit of my faith in humanity but it was brilliant all the same. The style in which it’s constructed- a series of linear poems makes this book. Bree describing what she’s going through in a rational manner wouldn’t work- it’s the stuttery alternately present and checked out style of the book that puts the reader in a place to embrace it. There’s a risk in writing in this way that the reader might get lost but I found (with a few minor exceptions) that I was never too far from where I thought. I finished wishing that this were how we taught kids about drugs- the danger is not to others or even to you as much as it is a danger to your soul. We really get to see Kristina consumed here- swallowed by a beast that she can neither comprehend nor understand until she’s been through the cauldron. I have friends who while not quite in this position are frightfully close- and the kind of lucid passivity unwritten with fear I hear here rings so true.
    Brendan is another character I found amazingly realized. What Hopkins does so well is tease us with the possibility that he is somehow abnormal and uniquely cruel- it’s kind of a lifeline to our faith in humanity. Inevitably though we come to see that he is no more than someone who has embraced the coldness- who relishes seeing it spread on some level if only to distract himself for a moment from its crackle on his own skin. Bree’s rape rings as a condemnation of the comodification of women more strongly even than it rings as a personal tragedy. Her experiences is marked by her own confusion and even though she comes quite quickly to the realization that she has been wronged her thoughts turn to passive revenge not active vengeance. The suggestion that women always sell out that virginity is a mere item of inventory and that consent is at best illusionary are by no means at the core of this book but they are certainly a present theme.
    It’s refreshing as a man to see this handled without reservations- there is no obfuscation or suggestion that what happened was inevitable. Nor is it suggested that Brenden was driven to it- he took what he did because he didn’t have the balls to do so in a way that would lift him up. He victimizes himself in the end- his suffering nowhere near that of his victim but at least a wsorm to sit and rot his spirit as time marches inexorably on.

  16. sbuckleit says:

    Crank is like a series of mirrors reflecting one another; content reflects form, which mirrors content back at it. What do I mean exactly? The poem-like style of the book makes it almost choppy to read, and it gives the reader fragmented impressions of what’s going on in Kristina’s head. At the same time, the ways that the words are arranged on the page reflect the mood of the current subject–when Kristina is sad they trickle downwards, when she’s high they’re scattered around the page like snow flakes. Content reflects form reflects subject.
    There are numerous examples of this throughout the book–a giant V points downward on the page when Kristina is discussing losing her V card; on page 488 the blocks of words look like the cinder blocks she’s describing; there are shapes that could be hearts or downward arrows when she’s leaving Adam behind… This technique engages young readers by breaking up the monotony of a normal book page. It forces kids to think about words as a form of communication aside from just what they mean.
    Another way Hopkins uses form is to accentuate certain words. For instance, on page 286 she separates down, down, down, so far down, let me come down, from the rest of the words on the page. This device functions so that when you read the whole page it flows (the first down is part of down pillow, and so on) but when you read them separately they still make sense.
    At first I wasn’t sure how I felt about the form–it was hard to get used to at first, and I had to fall into a certain rhythm for it to read smoothly. Once I’d adjusted, I decided that it was pure brilliance. Hopkins captures Kristina’s battle with the world in a way that made me like her enough to hope she realized her mistakes in the end but still understand where her power struggles came from.
    The ending was iffy. Hopkins impresses upon the reader that you don’t just come back from using meth–which is a good way to warn others away from substance abuse. But what about meth users who read the book? It gives them no hope for recovery, no belief that they may one day be able to vanquish their monster for good.

    Sarah Buckleitner

  17. Daphney Etienne says:

    Where do I start? I’m going to stick to the rhetorics.
    Ahmazing.
    The cover is black with the title Crank written in white. In my book, the word is 3D and looks like it’s written in chalk in someone’s hand writing. Beside of the black and white contrast, it makes the title stand out even more. I can’t think of any book where the whole cover was all black. When I look at the cover, it feels like I’m staring into a never ending dark space, which is the place where Kristina/Bree resides. Crank the drug becomes the center of attention in this dark space. As with every drug, it basically is the center of attention of the person’s life.

    Hopkins is a skilled author. The whole book is written in poetry form.
    It gives the book a rhythm that prose would not have. Like briefly mentioned in class, it’s the rhythm of a drug addict’s thoughts.
    It’s not just poetry, but the shapes and the space the poem took stood out to me. For example, pg 100. has a whole page,
    “And I,
    didn’t
    give
    a
    damn”
    I mean, can’t you just feel the “I don’t give a them” attitude.

    Also alliteration in various parts, and my favorite in poetry, repetition. The part where she us talking about the kiss is simply amazing. (pg 271)

    All this technique helps the young reader to read the text how it’s meant to be read.

    Truthfully, it made it more enjoyable for me because I am on twitter/tumblr a lot and I notice what I appreciate about them is that the writing on these sites are so short. You may be reading a lot of it, but it never really feels like that much, and it’s more entertaining reading different thoughts on the same topic.

    My one concern with this book is the length. If you put it in a regular prose format, it would be a very short novel. However, I wonder, would a young reader even go near this book because the size would scare any young reader.

  18. Evan Phail says:

    I wonder why Ellen Hopkins included the author’s note at the beginning of the book instead of at the end. Right off the bat it told me that Kristina/Bree was going to get pregnant and give it up for adoption. And for readers who might have missed this, the note would have reinforced the baby’s existence and safety at the end.

    From a story point of view, I couldn’t latch on to any of the male love interests. They were all boring and cliché. I wasn’t convinced that in such a short amount of time Kristina would start crankin’ with Adam/Buddy. What’s her motivation? She’s already on the fence whether she likes her dad because of his addictions, why would she jump into ‘his’ world. And why would Adam fall head over heels for her when he had Lince…Of course none of it matters once Kristina goes back home.

    I also found it interesting that 208 pages into Crank did we meet “Sarah—my best friend since 4th grade.” I question why Sarah is even important in the story. If she’s Kristina’s best friend since 4th grade, why do we never really know who she is?

    I did like the steady decline of Kristina/Bree. However, I felt that Ellen Hopkins wrote more on the glamorized feeling that Kristina had. I felt that the ‘monster’ could have actually been brought out even more. For example p 484-485 when she goes through withdrawal. It gave glimpses of pain but I really needed to see the suffering that Ellen Hopkins wants us to experience. In the end, Kristina is still addicted but she isn’t punished in any way. Everything works out ‘all right’, whatever that means.

    Don’t get me wrong, the way Crank was written was amazing. The free verse worked so effectively and the language was very good, especially p 34, my favorite passage “Cool drips/on chipped bathroom/ porcelain/ chh-ka-chh/ sleepy branches/ scratching bedroom/ glass.” With free verse, we could have many messages written on a page which I though went along with the exhilaration of the different drugs that Kristina/Bree was taking. The verse also was effective depending on the setting, place, weather, time, etc.

    Rhetorically, I thought there were many holes in Crank, however from a story point of view and a stylistic point of view, Crank was still a strong book.

  19. Evan Phail says:

    To reply to my own post- There were many instances of the ‘monster’ coming out, so I take back my previous comment. However I think I may have become numb to the effects on Kirstina/Bree because I just didn’t care enough about her character.

  20. Yuliana Baez says:

    “Crank” is slang for a low purity, crystallized methamphetamine that is administered in a powder form. Crank, like all other Methamphetamines, is a stimulant that acts on the central nervous system to increase heart rate and alertness of its users. Highs on the drug last between 8 and 24 hours, and often include a violent “crash” period where the user tends to be prone to aggression. The drug received the nickname “crank” because it was often smuggled in the crank cases of vehicles.

    I agree with Luke these book are getting more intense as we gradually progress in the semester. This was the first book I did not really get into. I don’t know what it was about it but I was just not a big fan of it. This is why I don’t really have a lot to say. I did enjoy the rhetorical side to it.

    It was very hard to pick up the momentum of the book because of the way it is structured. For example the beginning of the book, “Flirtin’ with the Monster”:

    Life was good
    before I
    met
    the monster

    After,
    life
    was great.

    At least
    for a little while.

    There are two messages in this first chapter if that is what we are calling it. You can read it literal how it’s supposed to be or you can look at the right side which reads. The monster was great. For a little while. The second not so obvious message was more powerful to me than the actual literal interpretation of the book. Other than this I just couldn’t really get into the book so much.

    I don’t think I would read this again if I had the choice.

  21. Daphney Etienne says:

    It’s been bothering, so I must comment on my post. it’s written in meth, not chalk. duh!
    loser of the year much?

  22. Celeste Smith says:

    First off, let me say that I hate poetry, or at least I thought I did before reading this book. I say this because most of the time, I don’t understand its purpose because it seems that the poet could have said their message just as easily in prose. In this book however, I not only understood Hopkins’ choice to use poetry, but actually enjoyed it. I was particularly struck by Hopkins’ ability to create two poems at once. One of my favorite examples of this was on page 217, with the right poem being I no not, with the I’s and not’s being repeated. This emphasized to me that Kristina didn’t know how to reign in Bree and Bree didn’t know about Kristina’s wishes since she ignores them. I also enjoyed the various shapes of the poems. Some particular examples that stood out to me were two that had a “v” shape (examples on page 169-170, 312), which I took to mean both virgin and vagina, and page 319 has a “falling” shape which represents Bree falling to the monster. By reading not simply the words, but the words in the pattern and shape they were in, it emphasized to me the “real” and literal nature of what Bree was going through.
    Besides the format of the book and the format of the poems affecting me, the subject matter did as well. It was such a rich, detailed account, made even more so because it was told from Bree/Kristina’s perspective. The book revealed a new world, which surprised me as I wasn’t aware of it, even now as a twenty one year old. Even though I may be aware of sex, pregnancy, and rape (now, not neccessarily as a younger adult), I was not aware of crank in any sense (except that it existed), including not knowing it was meth until I read the book. Although we unfortunately don’t get a very detailed development of Kristina as a character, I think I can safely guess that my life was like hers. Although I saw the kids out on the smoking sidewalk in high school, I assumed they were all smoking cigarettes. I have never known anyone that has does hard drugs, let alone known of its power and consequences.
    It surprises me that this is a book meant for adolescents. Although I am well aware that I was sheltered before I came to college, parts of this book made me very uncomfortable, particularly the rape scene. Although I agree that it is important to be educated about such topics as those involved in this book and that reading about them isn’t going to cause them, I still find it hard to grasp that young adults are reading this book. I wonder how they view and take in this information and perhaps more importantly, how they cope with it. Perhaps knowing this would help me to understand further how this challenging book, topic wise, is meant for adolescents.