This is a book about meth. It is a story of a girl with heartache and tragedy in her life, although nothing that support and family can’t help you through. Laurel has all that, but when she’s offered meth for the first time she naively and sort of unquestionably takes it anyway. Perhaps she didn’t realize what it was? Regardless, she’s immediately transformed. It fills up the holes inside of her much more quickly than they were healing on their own. And like it will, meth quickly takes over her life.
It is an interesting contrast between how lyrical the book is written and how ugly meth is. The sores, the scratching, the desperation, it is all there in the book, but because Woodson can write with grace, this isn’t what I would call a gritty book.
There are interesting religious references. Laurel grows up in Pass Christian, a gulf coast town in Mississipi, she loses her family to a flood (caused by Hurricane Katrina), Her father moves her to a town named Galilee, where she eventually meets Moses, a boy who symbolically parts the flood waters helping her find her way to recovery and home.
This is a beautifully written book. I will say that I had a hard time connecting with Laurel. I felt held at hands length away. I felt sorry for her, but I didn’t empathize on a level that I expected to. In any case, I did appreciate how these were average everyday kids that fell into this. They weren’t typical “at risk” kids. I also appreciated how clearly it was shown that recovery is incredibly difficult, often more so for meth than other drugs. What would have driven this home would have been a meth fact page/resource list at the end.
Book Source = Library Copy