Monday, July 18, 2011

Dope Sick by Walter Dean Myers

If you could go back in time and change just one moment, what would it be? Where would you start over from? Lil’ J has been shot in the arm by a police officer and fears a cop shooting will be pinned on him as the story opens. He pushes his way into what seems to be a deserted building while looking for an escape, thinking he’ll try the roof. Instead, he runs into not-quite-human-or-is-he? Kelly. Using magical realism, dialogue, first person narration and flashbacks, Myers reveals the context of this life-or-death-or-prison moment in Lil’ J’s life and invites the reader into a critical dialogue via Kelly and Lil’ J’s conversation. How does one shift one’s perspective from blaming outside sources to making one’s life “your own fault?” About once a week a student tells me or another student that Dope Sick is “fire,” which pretty much sums up the popular appeal.

Myers, Walter Dean. Dope Sick. New York: Harper Collins, 2009.

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