I read Melvin Burgess’ book, Junk ages ago and wanted to share my thoughts about the book.
Junk is a book about a group of teens who get caught up in all sorts of dodgy dealings, from drugs, to stealing to even prostitution. Two teens run away, Gemma who is loud and confident, and Tar, shy and quiet. They fall in and out of love and we see their lives unravel through the years.
I thought Junk was incredibly clever and well written. It is written in first person and has lots of the characters’ opinions and view points in. It was a book that needed to be written. We see how easy it is to get into drugs, smoking, alcohol and more when Gemma and Tar start to live with two other teens in a squat.
We see Gemma become reckless and full of herself after she leaves her parents. Whereas Tar, beaten up by his dad and abused by his mother, starts to make friends and a life for himself. But that all seems to change when Gemma meets Lily, a quirky girl in her own world. They become instant friends and Gemma decides to live with Lily and her boyfriend Rob. Tar, being the hopeless romantic he is, chases after Gemma and decides to live in the squat with them.
Everything is fine at first. Until they start smoking hash and then get on to Heroin. Their personalities change over the years. They become less caring, depressed and even more irresponsible.
I think it was important for Burgess to put this book out there to one, explain to people what addiction is and how hard it is to come off, and two, how anyone, literally anyone, can get into the same situation Tar and Gemma found themselves in. Like Melvin said, he didn’t want to write the book at all, but he knew he had to.
I thought that the character development in this was phenomenal, even if it wasn’t a good character development. It showed us how peoples personalities can change when on drugs. After all, these kids were impressionable, they were both only 14 when they left their parents.
It’s no wonder Tar got addicted to drugs so easily coming from the family he had. But he should have recieved help before it got to that point. But at the time, he didn’t think he needed help, he just made out as though they were having a bit of fun and could easily come off the drugs if they wanted.
But unfortunately it’s not that easy. Things don’t always go to plan. And that’s what I love about this book; the way Burgess is so honest with the readers. He doesn’t shy away from the topic of drugs, sex or anything. He openly discusses it and I found the book to be an eye opener.
I look forward to reading Melvin’s other books!
Until next time, love, Vee x