Tuesday, April 16, 2013

"Glass" Review -- Guest Blogger

Hi everyone! My name is Ashley Lysiak and I’m currently a graduate student at Nazareth College. I am in the Literacy Education program there and love reading YA novels. My ultimate goal is to become an English teacher for middle and high school students, so I am constantly on the lookout for books that teens would love.

I decided to read Ellen Hopkins' Glass after reading Crank, which is the first book in this three-part series and is told through free verse poetry. The series focuses on the troubled life of a girl named Kristina and is told from her point of view. Because the story is told from her point of view, the reader gets to experience first-hand all of the issues that Kristina is struggling with. Kristina sees herself as an average, boring, and worthless teenager and has never really felt important; she is constantly searching for something to make her life more exciting. Well, she finds that "something" one summer after visiting her dead-beat father. Kristina gets addicted to crystal meth, also known as crank, glass, blow, ice, or simply "the monster," as she refers to it. But she had no idea what she was getting herself into. Sure, she had heard about "the monster," but what she didn't know when she took that first hit was that crystal meth is one of the most highly addictive drugs in the world, and that eventually it would consume her every waking thought; what she didn't know was that once she'd met "the monster," it would be nearly impossible for her to part with it. After reading Crank and experiencing all of the pain and struggle that Kristina went through, I became invested in the character. I had to find out how her story ended. 

Now I know what you’re probably thinking: This book is 680 pages long and it’s poetry…I don’t know if I can really get into that. Well, don’t be put off by the daunting size of this beautifully written novel because, believe me, it’s worth getting into.

Despite the fact that Kristina thinks she is in control of her addiction, her actions speak otherwise and the reader can clearly see how quickly she spirals out of control. One by one, she alienates and distances herself from everyone that she cares about in her life: her family kicks her out of the house, her newborn son is snatched away from her, she stops speaking to all of her “boring” old friends, and she irreparably damages her relationship with the “love of her life.” Just when you think Kristina couldn’t possibly have anything else to lose, she finds herself in even more serious trouble…trouble so real and frightening that it’s questionable whether or not she can survive living this kind of life much longer.

Another unique quality of the Crank series is that every page is a new surprise; not only does Hopkins provide you with a heart-wrenching and emotional story, but she also experiments with the way the words are set up on the page. Oftentimes, the page layout of the poem coincides with the main idea of it. To give you an example, in one poem Kristina is talking about her money troubles, and Hopkins cleverly creates a money sign with the words of the poem.

That being said, because it is poetry and some of the poems are only a few sentences long, it's a very fast read so do not be alarmed by the sheer size of the book. The entire time I was reading this novel, I was hoping that Kristina would finally realize the damage that she was doing to herself and to everyone around her. Does she know the pain that she's causing her family? Does she know the harm she's doing to herself? Does she care? This book will take you on a journey of emotional highs and lows; at points you'll want to physically hurt Kristina, at other times you'll want to embrace her. Will she ever be able to pull herself out of this dangerous and life-threatening spiral? Will she ever really be free from "the monster"? You'll have to read to find out.

No comments:

Post a Comment