"If you could do it all over again and change something, what would it be?"

by myzticrhythmz@evpl on Friday, March 6 2009, 3:23pm. Viewed 1,208 times.

This is the big question for Jeremy Dance, aka Lil J, in Walter Dean Myers' Dope Sick. Lil J is a 17-year-old on the run, part of a drug deal gone wrong in which an undercover cop's been shot. He finds himself hiding out in an abandoned building in the company of Kelly, a weird vagrant with a television that can show Lil J's past, present, and maybe his future. It's Kelly who asks Lil J the question about what he would change in his life if he could, and much of the book covers Lil J revisiting his downward spiral: a painful home life, drugs, jail time, fathering a child.

This is a fascinating book where a kid from the streets is compelled to stop at a pivotal point in his life and consider that he may actually have options. He wasn't a bad student, has a gift for the rhythm of rap, and seems to care for his son and the child's mother.

Walter Dean Myers has taken a very contemporary, real-life situation and infused it with a bit of mysticism and fantasy. He also leaves the reader with some questions: Who was Kelly?A real, "spooky" guy? A ghost? A drug-induced hallucination? Will Lil J be able to turn his life around?

And by all means, stick around for the ending. It's not what you'd expect.

Comments (2)

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gawell@evpl wrote
on Tuesday, March 10 2009, 8:53am

Sounds like soemthing two of favorite writers,

Charles Dickens and Phil;ip K. Dick.

Bufkinite@evpl wrote
on Tuesday, March 24 2009, 4:55pm

Walter Dean Myers writes so plainly beautiful about the gritty, down-and-out side of life that he's hard to put down.  The last book I read by him was "Harlem Summer," and it was very good.  Looks like I'll have to read this one.