Tuesday, May 20, 2008
Tweaked by Katherine Holubitsky
I suppose I should be thankful that BC Ferries takes so much of my hard-earned money. After all, it frequently allows me a few hours of assured reading, especially while I wait for hours in ferry line-ups. So, yesterday on my way back to Victoria after a long weekend in Vanouver, I finished another of the young adult books my publisher sales rep. daughter has recommended. She had warned me that Tweaked, by Katherine Holubitsky, was not an easy read and she was right. It wasn't easy, but it was incredibly insightful.
Holubitsky wisely gives us a glimpse of normality before thrusting us headlong into hell. Gordie and his older brother Chase are every kid, building forts in the ravine. Holubrintsky hints that all will not be well when the oldest pushes the limit and clears a whole section of the forest. Still, it's hard to imagine the nightmare that lurks in the Jessup family's future.
Told from Gordie's point of view, the story vibrates with the rawness of the recently burned. Gordie's home is fast becoming a living hell that is known to any family living with an addict who will lie, cheat, or steal to get their next fix. Neither an assault charge (which later becomes a murder charge when the man dies) nor the self-inflicted death of one of his friends is enough to turn Chase away from the drugs he craves. Nothing is safe, including the $2000 Gordie loans his brother to pay off his brother's drug dealer, nor Gordie's prize base guitar which he discovers his brother has stolen, nor even the family home which has been mortgaged to get Chase out of jail and pay for his legal bills.
It's hard to watch a brother or a son disintegrate before your eyes, and just as hard to watch a family self-destruct trying to help them. Reading Tweaked was not easy. But then, it isn't meant to be. The author is no preacher. She paints a picture that is as stark as it is real. She tell a story that is harsh but gripping. However, I suspect, as she must surely hope, that if you follow Chase and Gordie's literary path, you won't be inclined to follow the real one. I guarantee that it's well worth the read, and it may just change the way you look at the world, or the choices your students or your kids make. Read Tweaked today.