Smack



[Reading] ➸ Smack ➮ Melvin Burgess – E17streets4all.co.uk Two teens fall in love with each other and heroin Tar has reasons for running away from home that run deep and sour, whereas Gemma, with her middle class roots firmly on show, has a deep rooted lust f Two teens fall in love with each other and heroin Tar has reasons for running away from home that run deep and sour, whereas Gemma, with her middle class roots firmly on show, has a deep rooted lust for adventure Their first hit brings bliss, the next despair.Smack

Melvin Burgess is a British author of children s fiction His first book, The Cry of the Wolf, was published in He gained a certain amount of notoriety in with the publication of Junk, which was published in the shadow of the film of Irvine Welsh s Trainspotting, and dealt with the trendy and controversial idea of heroin addicted teenagers Junk soon became, at least in Britain, one of the best known children s books of the decadeBurgess again courted predictable controversy in , with the publication of Doing It, which dealt with underage sex America created a show based on the book, Life As We Know It In his other books, such as Bloodtide and The Ghost Behind the Wall, Burgess has dealt with less realist and sometimes fantastic themes In Burgess wrote the novelisation of the film Billy Elliot, based on Lee Hall s screenplay Polyphony is typical for his most famous novelstp uscmillan author melvin.

Smack PDF ò Paperback
  • Paperback
  • 293 pages
  • Smack
  • Melvin Burgess
  • English
  • 22 June 2019
  • 0380732238

10 thoughts on “Smack

  1. says:

    Not suitable for younger readers the warning on the back cover is well worth taking seriously A classic and well deserving Carnegie Medal winner, Junk is painful to read for the reason that it is truthful, accurate and told in the voices of young people falling victim to heroin addiction They go through the various phases of invincibility delusion, adjustment to ever sinking standards, criminal behaviour, prostitution, desperate pain and physical downward spiralling while telling their lif Not suitable for younger readers the warning on the back cover is well worth taking seriously A classic and well deserving Carnegie Medal winner, Junk is painful to read for the reason that it is truthful, accurate and told in the voices of young people falling victim to heroin addiction They go through the various phases of invincibility delusion, adjustment to ever sinking standards, criminal behaviour, prostitution, desperate pain and physical downward spiralling while telling their life stories through their teenage perspective.It strongly reminded me of the true story of Christiane F., whose witness account on teenage drug addiction in Berlin in the 1970s was made into a book and later into a film, Wir Kinder vom Bahnhof Zoo It haunted me for years after I read it in my early adolescence, and it leaves me pondering on what to do with Junk Should I let my students and children read it It is very good, and it will hardly trigger a healthy and stable young adult to try drugs But it is a brutal account of violence and prostitution, and it might leave them with nightmares Should one shield teenagers from the worst hardships, or let them discover the world in all its ugliness That question always comes up when the American Library Association announces the latest banned or challenged books in school libraries Most of the time, it concerns sexuality, bad language, violence or politically motivated messages But this is teenage health and wellbeing potentially at risk I guess there is no definitive answer to what is suitable for young adults, but I tend towards letting them read whatever interests them, while being ready in the background to talk to them and offer a platform for reflection.I will go with Oscar Wilde There is no such thing as a moral or an immoral book.Books are well written, or badly written That is all This one is well written

  2. says:

    I read this years and years ago when i was about 11 so i remember it was very different reading it the 2nd time around when I am 26 Entertaining.I d rather a YA about drugs any day of the week than some shitty high school romance Fan girl etc etc etc etc

  3. says:

    5 Words Toxic, addiction, manipulation, love, realisation.This book is one of my favourites of all time It s so real and brave and gritty and it s UKYA at its absolute prime It s difficult and challenging.At the start, I always love Tar and hate Gemma By the end I ve always changed my mind about both of them This book allows me to empathise with a type of person I would usually avoid at all costs.Gemma is probably my favourite character, even though I can t stand her at all at the beginn 5 Words Toxic, addiction, manipulation, love, realisation.This book is one of my favourites of all time It s so real and brave and gritty and it s UKYA at its absolute prime It s difficult and challenging.At the start, I always love Tar and hate Gemma By the end I ve always changed my mind about both of them This book allows me to empathise with a type of person I would usually avoid at all costs.Gemma is probably my favourite character, even though I can t stand her at all at the beginning.As shocking as this book is, as controversial as the subject matter is, that isn t what the book is about The book is about relationships and growing and trying to find yourself That the main characters are all junkies is just a fact, something that makes the whole process a little harder.I think Junk is a book that everyone should read at least once

  4. says:

    I m conflicted about this book.On the one hard, it s absolutely brilliant It really is It s slow to start, but after the first chapter I was pulled in and just kept turning page after page I was desperate to know what happened next The character voices sang to me sang to me through the pages.On the other hand, the subject matter.I m not one to mark a book down purely because of the subject matter This deals with teenager runaways, teenage junkies, spoilt bitches who get everything they ev I m conflicted about this book.On the one hard, it s absolutely brilliant It really is It s slow to start, but after the first chapter I was pulled in and just kept turning page after page I was desperate to know what happened next The character voices sang to me sang to me through the pages.On the other hand, the subject matter.I m not one to mark a book down purely because of the subject matter This deals with teenager runaways, teenage junkies, spoilt bitches who get everything they ever wanted What worries me is that there s not really enough of an impact Not enough goes wrong There s not enough to dissuade young impressionable minds from using drugs, from dipping in, from experimenting with needles and tablets and powder.Now, I m not an impressionable teenage mind I ve never done drugs, never smoked, and I only drink alcohol once in a blue moon I m 24 years old.But, in light of recent events to deal with my personal situation, I have contemplated self harm.I thought about cutting myself when I was so deep into stress, anxiety, and depression And I only thought about it because from everything I ve read, it s not actually that bad It helps with release It helps make you feel better Sure, you scar up afterwards, but I was looking for something to help me deal with my situation which, in case you re wondering, is this I m Australian, and I m as good as trapped in shitty town England for the foreseeable future Which is not fun There s a lot of other factors contributing but that s the main one I didn t do it By complete chance I accidentally opened a vein in my leg and bled all over my bathroom My fianc e kept me calm and we eventually managed to close the vein But the sight of all that blood scared me off thinking of cutting myself any.By the way, if you re reading this Don t cut yourself I am being completely honest when I say there are better ways of dealing with things You don t have to harm yourself to feel better You don t have to starve yourself or get drunk or shoot up Talk to someone you trust and they will help you through whatever shit it is that you re going through.But I was reading the book I was appalled, because here are a bunch of strong voiced characters telling us how easy it is to get into drugs, how good it makes you feel, how easy it is to quit and pick you life back up view spoiler No one dies from an OD No one fucks up their life beyond repair hide spoiler The kids run away from home one from an abusive family and the other because she s a bratty spoiled little bitch who only wants her own way and at the end of the book view spoiler they manage to pick up the pieces of their lives and live on as if they never touched the stuff hide spoiler That s what bothers me.What if someone younger andimpressionable than I picks up this book, sees how apparently easy it is to dabble in drugs, and decides to experiment themselves What if they fuck it up because it s just not as simple as the book makes it seem.I suppose that s why this book was challenged and talked about going on the banned list for a while Because of the message it sends.But it also won a Carnegie Medal, so what the fuck do I know I only know that I wouldn t want my children to read this I d only want other adults, adults who know who they are and what they want out of life to read it Adults who have decided whether or not they re into drugs, alcohol, self harm Adults who won t be swayed by such a sweet message.And I doubt that was the message, to be honest The book s not advocating drug use It s supposed to be some sort of warning It s supposed to turn kids off wanting to do drugs.I only know that if I had read it when I was younger, maybe I wouldn t have had the strength to say no when something was offered to me.And truth be told, it really is an amazing book Each character has such a distinct voice and we jump around rather a lot From a purely technical point of view, I don t like how many different characters we jump into the POV from Some of them seem completely irrelevant, telling a piece of the story that could have easily been told by someone else and therefore reduced the cast of characters But then, I realised that each and every character has something important to say Whether it s a junkie trying to come down off a high or a lonely shopkeeper who visits prostitutes It reflects the real world Burgess even says so himself in a foreword This is based on real stories, real events, and real people People admit things in this book that they d try to keep hidden from the other characters Weakness Shame Regret.I had to put it down about half way through I was fully expecting the appearance of the heroin, but I wasn t expecting the view spoiler teenage prostitution and pregnancy hide spoiler Now, don t call me a hypocrite I do some pretty awful things to my own characters But those awful things happen in a high fantasy setting it s always a bit distant from a story set in the real world, based on real damn events.Characters are never given an introduction They just randomly show up At one point, I was wondering who the fuck one character was and it turns out it was view spoiler one girl s baby hide spoiler Time jumps forward in increments from a few minutes to a few months I could never keep in my head how old they were Those are the technical issues I had with the book, but I don t think it s enough to reduce a star Eventually you could figure everything out.I suppose when it comes down to it, I didn t even really like the characters, either Gemma s a selfish bitch Tar s weak The other characters dance around the edges giving us their point of view when all I really want to do is readabout how Gem and Tar are fucking up their lives I suppose I take one star off a five star rating because that promise never came to be I was disappointed But still, I loved this book so much and I think it is important that it be read and yeah, maybe even teenagers SHOULD read it, so long as it s with a guided discussion about it as well so they can dissect what happens in the book and come to the conclusion that is Don t Do Drugs.And I know I m probably not in the best place to be reviewing such a hard hitting book because of this situational depression I m in, but I want to hug it to my chest and the same time burst into tears

  5. says:

    Junk is the drugs book against which I judge all drugs books, and so far nothing s come close to matching Melvin Burgess s unflinching portrayal of Bristol s City Road in the 1980s through a heroin addled lens.Burgess has no time for either hushed, poetic contemplations on heroin or clumsy, moralistic incitements to Just Say No Without pretension, he wades into his milieu with its squats, street kids and punk music and matter of factly delivers a taut, compelling drama Two naive 14 year ol Junk is the drugs book against which I judge all drugs books, and so far nothing s come close to matching Melvin Burgess s unflinching portrayal of Bristol s City Road in the 1980s through a heroin addled lens.Burgess has no time for either hushed, poetic contemplations on heroin or clumsy, moralistic incitements to Just Say No Without pretension, he wades into his milieu with its squats, street kids and punk music and matter of factly delivers a taut, compelling drama Two naive 14 year olds poor, abused Tar, the son of two alcoholics, and his restless, reckless girlfriend, Gemma run away from home and, over the course of the novel, they drift into drug addiction and slowly dig themselves deeper and deeper into a hole out of which they can t climb.However miserable their comedown, Burgess doesn t cheat and pretend there s any black and white to be found in heroin addiction the initial sense of freedom is intense, the good times are sweet and the friendships genuine The characterisation is sharp and wonderful, which helps to stop the novel from devolving into either a morality tale or a dark fantasy sequence The teenagers feel like teenagers lofty know it alls until, gradually, the reader realises they ve been beaten down into adulthood.Even peripheral characters like old codger Skolly or do gooder Richard are nuanced, displaying both sympathetic quirks and hard to like weaknesses Burgess skilfully uses first person narrative to catch his characters in their lies and contradictions It adds an important layer to what, at other times, feels like a straightforward teen novel.I hadn t read Junk for a few years and I wondered if some of its gleam might have worn off for me But no I m still mesmerized by Lilly in her string vest I still catch myself hoping that the perfection of the characters heroin highs can last forever I still sob at the broken pieces that are left at the end

  6. says:

    Meet Gemma and Tar, two 14 year old friends Tar is a nice lad, thoughtful, intelligent and full of puppy love for Gemma, but Tar is also the victim of abuse from his parents Gemma is a devoted friend, likes a good time and is all for helping Tar She has parents the opposite of Tar s, they care too much and show this bytbeing too stric for Gema s liking Both end up on the streets of Bristol to escape their parents, fall in love and get involved with fascinating but destructive couple Lily and Meet Gemma and Tar, two 14 year old friends Tar is a nice lad, thoughtful, intelligent and full of puppy love for Gemma, but Tar is also the victim of abuse from his parents Gemma is a devoted friend, likes a good time and is all for helping Tar She has parents the opposite of Tar s, they care too much and show this bytbeing too stric for Gema s liking Both end up on the streets of Bristol to escape their parents, fall in love and get involved with fascinating but destructive couple Lily and Rob who lead them further and further into squalid existence They head into a devastating spiral of destruction from the first time they chase the dragon Melvin Burgess holds nothing back, it makes for an addictive if slightly stomach churning read The story is told from different points of view of the various people involved in the lives of Gem and Tar which makes itchilling and horrifying as the main characters think they have a grip on their addiction and can stop anytime they like As the reader you can see what is going to happen and it is very realistic Any prejudices and preconceptions you have ever had about junkies will be confirmed but also dispelled in this book, it punches real hard and even though you can see the destruction and know it s not going to end well, you can still feel empathy for the characters, especially Tar A brilliant read that will remain with you and should be a lesson to all

  7. says:

    Wow This was a powerful book.Tar and Gemma are fourteen year old friends Tar comes from an unhappy background, filled with abuse Gemma comes from a smothering family when all she wants to do is have a good time When Tar decides to run away, Gemma supports him and then decides to join him on the streets of Bristol, thinking that being homeless for a while might be a bit of a laugh and alleviate the boredom of her existence.Once in Bristol, the pair live in a squat for a while and get involved Wow This was a powerful book.Tar and Gemma are fourteen year old friends Tar comes from an unhappy background, filled with abuse Gemma comes from a smothering family when all she wants to do is have a good time When Tar decides to run away, Gemma supports him and then decides to join him on the streets of Bristol, thinking that being homeless for a while might be a bit of a laugh and alleviate the boredom of her existence.Once in Bristol, the pair live in a squat for a while and get involved in the punk scene Gemma is determined to sample all the delights a thriving city has to offer.Including heroin.This wasn t an easy read at all I consider myself moderately unshockable, but there are some fairly graphic descriptions of heroin use, violence and prostitution that made me cringe but it was definitely a worthwhile one It read like a Trainspotting for teenagers, although in some ways it was evendisturbing because the characters are so young After a fairly slow start, the action ramps up and towards the end I couldn t put it down As a reader you have to just stand by and watch as these people flush their lives further and further down the toilet Without giving anything away, there is redemption of sorts at the end It s not what I would call a happy ending, exactly, but it s a satisfying one.The narrative is told from multiple first person viewpoints, which is a tricky thing to pull off but here it actually works because you get Tar and Gemma s stories from lots of different directions New narrators only come in once they ve already been introduced as characters, so you kind of get a feel for who they are before they start moving the story along You have the main characters Gemma and Tar who take up most of the narrative, but other characters chime in too, like a kind of smacked up Greek chorus.There was plenty of character development in the story, considering the MCs use a whole bunch of heroin to effectively smoosh out any actually emotions they might be experiencing Gemma is probably the best developed character She goes from this deeply irritating brat at the beginning of the book to a thoughtful, battle scarred woman by the end Tar doesn t develop quite as much, but his reason for getting involved in heroin was to blank out his horrible home life, so I guess that makes sense.Like I said, this isn t a happy read, but I d recommend it to anyone

  8. says:

    4.5This is a tale of a group of runaway teenagers who end up addicted to smack junk, aka heroin We watch the characters spiral out of control, thinking oh, I ll just be able to quit when I want to which we find out is definitely not the case Love happens, pregnancies happen one in which the baby is basically born an addict as well , and death happens in one occurrence Every chapter is told from someone else s perspective, which was one of my favorite aspects of this book We hear about the 4.5This is a tale of a group of runaway teenagers who end up addicted to smack junk, aka heroin We watch the characters spiral out of control, thinking oh, I ll just be able to quit when I want to which we find out is definitely not the case Love happens, pregnancies happen one in which the baby is basically born an addict as well , and death happens in one occurrence Every chapter is told from someone else s perspective, which was one of my favorite aspects of this book We hear about the addicts from their perspective as well as the perspectives of others Great book for those who don t know what it s like to experience the disease of addiction, as well as for those who have walked that path before be it their own or someone close to them May be triggering for anyone in recovery

  9. says:

    This book was recommended to me by a heroin addict, a beloved person who has since tragically died from an overdose I m still immersed in grief and read this to look foranswers As difficult an account as it was, it definitely unsparingly showed the reality of what it s like to be under the influence of such a devastating drug I can t even imagine what it s like to live with such an addiction but this was the closest I came to glimpsing what so many people have fallen victim to The hor This book was recommended to me by a heroin addict, a beloved person who has since tragically died from an overdose I m still immersed in grief and read this to look foranswers As difficult an account as it was, it definitely unsparingly showed the reality of what it s like to be under the influence of such a devastating drug I can t even imagine what it s like to live with such an addiction but this was the closest I came to glimpsing what so many people have fallen victim to The horror of it is eye opening and harrowing Heroin takes away one s dignity, identity, values and personality and replaces all of that with a person unrecognisable to themselves and those who love them It creates a need so intense for the next fix that everything else is obliterated I had previously read Beautiful Boy A Father s Journey Through His Son s Addiction and consider that to be the best perspective of what it s like to helplessly watch your loved one become someone you don t know while under the influence of heroin Smack, orignally called Junk , is now it s counterpart for me as the most accurate story of the addict s perspective In many ways this addiction is a terminal illness The rate of recovery is low but not impossible A very important drug called naloxene counters the deadly effect of an overdose and needs to be readily available in our society The alternative is a mounting death toll and aching hearts as lives are ripped apart There is no doubt in my mind that this is a disease and not a choice The stigma of addiction needs to be removed sopeople can be saved and better treatment options are developed for rehabilitation We are losing wonderful, loving people by the minute Heroin is a cheap drug and can be acquired easily There is not enough public knowledge of its effects or help for those who are afflicted I hope to be part of the change somehow

  10. says:

    This review contains some spoilers as I mention things that happen in the story to make some pointsWell, let me sum up this book in one gif and I feel this is really appropriate Oh, first off I need to say that I m REALLY CONFUSED about how this is a children s book I mean, it won the Guardian Children s Fiction Prize, among others, and I had to read this for my Children s Literature module I well, I would not let my child read this under the age of like 15 It s full of drugs obviousl This review contains some spoilers as I mention things that happen in the story to make some pointsWell, let me sum up this book in one gif and I feel this is really appropriate Oh, first off I need to say that I m REALLY CONFUSED about how this is a children s book I mean, it won the Guardian Children s Fiction Prize, among others, and I had to read this for my Children s Literature module I well, I would not let my child read this under the age of like 15 It s full of drugs obviously, and they re going on about how great they are it s like , sex, OD ing death, rape, attempted murder, theft, vandalism, prostitution, underage pregnancy, homelessness, abuse, domestic violence, prison, it s literally all in this and it s likewoah Not suitable for a child, that s for sure Anyway, getting that out of the way with, this was required reading for university that I actually kind of dreaded reading because I don t tend to read things like this Surprisingly, I quite enjoyed it It follows two 14 year olds Gemma and Tar who run away from home to be together although it s not very romantic because the girl is literally likeI love youthenI don t like youand it s proper frustrating and they mix with the wrong crowd As in, some other homeless youths who do heroin and, to sum it up, get them addicted First, we have David Tar is his nickname due to his constant anti smokingyou ll get tar in your veinsor something along those lines which he preached in his pre heroin days I actually liked him a lot At the start he was kind, hopeful, he saw the beauty of the world and his irritating girlfriend Gemma I ll get to her in a minute. and I found him to be pure Sometimes gullible, stupid and weak, but I guess everyone has their weaknesses Sadly his got him addicted to drugs and he struggled the most to get off it He took so much shit from everyone, especially Gemma, and I just felt so sorry for him He had it so bad and I just hugs him Sadly he was a completely different person at the end of the book and that s the harsh reality of his lifestyle And speaking of, I need to rant about Gemma This bitch She was basically some spoiled brat who couldn t get her own way at home so she ran off, became homeless and treat Tar like her little bitch And basically the main reason I hate her her need to be accepting started the whole drug shit in the first placeI will forever blame her for the way Tar ended up It makes me mad that she becomes irritated with him at the end due to his issues with getting off the heroin when it was her fault in the first place, fucking cow Anyway, I know she s not a real person but still, it really grinds my gears Anyway, she is always on and off with Tar, not to mention she basically calls him a boring basic bitch before they do the drugs and as soon as they do them, he s all interesting Fuck you.I just me no like her Lily and Rob were the bad apples in this, they were really bad influences and reading about them was just like reading about two people who were literally gone and who are past helping completely Especially Lily I mean, in real life, she d scare me because she s just completely bonkers She loves drugs so much that she even does drugs while holding her baby and then breastfeeds, and injects whilst pregnant It s just awful I won t even start on the parents because none of them will get Parent of the Year awards Especially Tar s, JFC.The POV s in this story are interesting because it s so many people throughout the story, and it s always cool to see what everyone s thinking in specific parts of the book with a topic like this Parents, each of the heroin kids in the house, people they know who don t agree with the lifestyle, it s all fascinating Sometimes I m likewait, who is this again but that s because I don t always pay attention My own fault.I also feel like the story is written kind of like a diary It s really weird, its such an unusual way of being written Some words were written as if they were saying them like mouf instead of mouth.It s quite a long book but I think it was really interesting I don t know much about drugs or anything but I do think it opened my eyes to what goes on in the world Funnily enough when I took a break from reading, I turned the T.V on and saw a documentary from Louis Theroux about heroin addicts and I had to watch I felt really helped me understand things in this book and get what s going on Anyway, in conclusion, let me round this off by saying this isn t a book for children, lots of bad things happen and nobody really catches a break, drugs are bad, this book is not It was funny at times but kinda depressing to see some young hopefuls throw their life away because of something so horrible Give this to a teen and it ll be a wake up call, a good example of what they could end up like if they do drugs.Don t do drugs, kids

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