Thursday, September 07, 2006

Street Pharm

Street Pharm, by Allison Van Diepen

YA/Realistic/Urban/Canadian Author - Brooklyn setting

Street Pharm tells the story of Ty Johnson. A Brooklyn teen who seems to have it all. He's sauve, he's good looking, he's the king of the streets. Literally. While his father does time in jail, Ty is running the family business. The family business happens to be the most successful drug hustling ring in Brooklyn. Written in what a white middle-class girl from the Ontario suburbs can only assume to be excellent slang, Ty tells his own story to his readers. The book is fast-paced. Ty is a complex character - he is charming and likeable, yet he is a drug dealer, and he has many other flaws and insecurities. I was really liking the book, and picturing giving it to certain kids I know who like to read grittier things. Then we got to the end of the book. All of a sudden, that which had been this edgy, clear, real image of the struggles of Ty to keep his business on top while also trying to be a teen figuring out his own life, turned into a utopian unrealistic tale of redemption and new outlook. It left me feeling short changed and cheated. It felt like a lie.

That said, I liked this. I'd still recommend it to readers. It was still something new and different. If I were Ebert and Roeper I might give it one and a half thumbs up.

1 comment:

Maggie said...

Sounds like an interesting read. CM reviewed it too. They felt the same way about the ending that you did.