Study Guide

Crank Foolishness

By Ellen Hopkins

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So you want to hear the whole story. Why I swerved off the high road, hard left to nowhere, recklessly indifferent to those coughing my dust, I picked up speed, no limits, no top end, just a high velocity rush to madness. (Introduction.5-8)

To say that Kristina goes off the deep end in this book is kind of an understatement—maybe jumping out of a plane with a parachute that almost doesn't open is a better analogy. Still, these early lines from the book give us a taste of the ridiculous risks she'll subject herself to.

The white stuff was a different story. He'd stay up all night, eating zip, bowling and snorting line after line. Rent money, right up the nose. (He Hadn't Changed After All.3)

If you take a minute to really zero in on Kristina's dad's behavior, it's clear drug use is an awful waste of time. You deprive yourself of sleep, blow all your money, and as if that's not enough, you have to actually recover from the high. How Kristina's dad still has a place to live is kind of beyond us.

I watched hands, hard and etched, like granite, light a match with finesse. Do you have any bad habits?

I could have made up something. Instead I shook my head. Want any? (His Mom Was at Work.3-4)

Well that's a haunting line. Kristina's dad might be partially to blame for Kristina's descent into the world of drugs, but Adam is ultimately the one who introduces her to his vices. The cavalier attitude of his question—"Want any?"—shows the foolish attitudes so many of this book's characters have toward dangerous, destructive vices like drugs.

Things went from weird to worse.

I mean, there I was, snorting crank with my dad, my boyfriend, and his other girlfriend.

Something majorly wrong with that picture. (Like an Idiot.1-3)

Yep, Kristina, this situation is indeed completely messed up. It's not only foolish, but actually almost ends up being really dangerous—the mixed company of their drug party leads Kristina to get angry and venture into the streets of Albuquerque alone, where she is almost raped.

She's hurt real bad. Who? Lince. What? Fell (or jumped) from the balcony. (His Demon Showed in His Eyes.2)

It's not just the physical effects of crank that do pointless destruction to the body—under its influence, Lince either has an accident or deliberately jumps off the balcony out of anger over Adam's rejection. Fortunately she recovers, but this isn't always the case for people in the same situation.

Too damn bad. Pretty girl.


Hard to believe we just partied together.

He really didn't get it, turned back to his TV. (Dad Asked Where I'd Been.5-8)

If you want to slap some sense into Kristina's dad when you read this, you're not alone. Lince is in critical condition and all he can think about is that she is pretty and they partied? Talk about a meaningless view on life.

I mean, who wants to trudge through life, doing everything just right? Taking no chances means wasting your dreams.

How can I explain the pure chilling rush of waiting to do something so basically not right? No fear. No guilt. (I Hid Out in My Room Until Dinner.7-8)

It seems like Kristina basically does a 180 from her initial view on life, which is to please her family and live up to her expectations. Maybe that isn't exactly healthy either, but there has to be some middle ground between totally foolish recklessness and living in fear of other people's expectations.

My new friends and I were far enough gone not to care that teachers cruised by us Avenue bums, researching potential troublemakers. (The Next Few Days.4)

Kristina's not only totally lost sight of pleasing her parents, she also doesn't seem to care much about what her teachers think anymore. To use her words, she's "too far gone" to realize that her foolish commitment to drugs is earning her a bad reputation.

I don't know whose blade it was, whose idea it was.

I don't remember saying yes. I know I didn't say no.

The knife was sharp. One knick at my wrist. It didn't event hurt. It didn't seem wrong.

Rust in my mouth. Rich, red salt. I drank it down, asked for more. (I Don't Know.1-4)

Doing drugs is destructive enough in its own right, but drinking other people's blood is a whole different brand of stupid. The senseless behavior Kristina subjects herself to leaves us stunned that a pregnancy is the worst of the consequences—this girl is gunning for disease and death.

Plus, in Sierra Living, a complementary piece on the horrors of meth:

How it eats big holes in the brain, destroys the pleasure center. How it shows up in X rays as big black dead spots spoiling gray matter.

How quitting is next to impossible and even those users who suffer through often never fully recover. (Snow Day.2-4)

The statistics are in, and reading them awakens Kristina to something she should have been aware of all along: Drug use is foolish. Meth destroys your mind and body, derails your life, and leaves relationships in shambles. Luckily, this piece moves her to wise up and take mature action regarding her life choices, as well as her pregnancy.

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