Junk PDF Print E-mail
Wednesday, 21 January 2009 23:42

Melvin Burgess

  Gemma and Tar have runaway from home. For Tar, leaving Minely is necessary to escape from violent, abusive parents. For Gemma, it is an opportunity for adventure. However, their dreams of an exciting new life turn into a nightmare as they become entangles in the seedy world of heroin addiction.

  Initially the pair believe that they are just having a bit of fun with their new friends, seasoned addicts Lily and Rob, but before too long realise that they no longer have the luxery of choice. Gemma and Tar plunge deeper and deeper into the hell that comes with being an addict.

  What will it take for them to face their demons and escape frpm their drug induced prison? Will they ever be clean? Overcoming their cravings brings problems of its own, making the rebuilding of their lives an even bigger challenge.


  When it was published, junk caused a great deal of controversy as people questioned its suitability for a teen audience. Burgess pulls no punches when describing the horrors of an addicts lifestyle, such as; lying, cheating, theft and prostitution to name a few. Junk does not glamorise heroin abuse,  nor does it leave the reader unaffected by the destructiveness of drugs.

   The story is told from the point of view of different characters, mainly Tar and Gemma. The reader is shown how even intelligent people from, in the case of Gemma, can fall into heroin's grip. As the plot progresses, it becomes clear that life is not the long party described by Lily. In fact, what may initially seemed like ultimate freedom is in fact a life long prison sentence, It is ironic that as Tar gets out of the young offenders institute, he realises that he can never be truly free.

  The lengths that the characters will go to in order to score their next fix is shocking. It is also disturbing that even having a baby does not create enough incentive to stay clean for Lily, resulting in the baby also suffering from addiction. The most distressing point is that such things do actually happen and Burgess should be applauded for daring to highlight it. Junk is a depressing but brilliant book which I found very difficult to put down. Aimed at the older end of the age range, I would definitely recommend it.



Last Updated ( Wednesday, 21 January 2009 23:47 )
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