"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 1,138 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)

Have something to say? Share your comments by signing in to your account, then returning to this page.

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.