Critical Thinking Through Literature
Julio Baez, M.S.
January 09, 2013
The author wrote a fictional story about the life of a heroin user in or around 1986. Some of her characters are famous, some changing sexual preferences, some dying, but all of them are buying heroin. One of the drug users play the role of a snitch which is the street term for someone who informs on others.
The book started with a Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) agent investigating a rumor / speculation that there was some drug selling going on and the agency was looking for the kingpin or someone that they could accuse. The area in which it took place I knew the scenes well from my personally growing up on the lower east side. As the story goes on, the main character of the book appeared to lose her identity or purpose as she pulled into a lifestyle which was very unfamiliar to her. She goes from being cook in the downtown chic location to become a drug dealer with countless clients who are made up of artist, painters, poets, etc. The book leads me to follow her because of my personal knowledge of New York City. Some of the locations and interactions with people in drug culture appeared extremely accurate indicating good research or direct life experience. My first impression was that it almost began to seem that she was telling her own story. The accuracy of the writing was intense. There were parts where she stated when asked why did she uses heroin she stated that “it doesn’t matter how I started on heroin, what matters is why I stay” (Yablonsky, 1997. pp. 51-52). The character also said that heroin makes her sexual activities more exciting. She went on to say that her new lifestyle living in a lesbian relationship without having any allegiance to a sexual preference. She became someone who was willing to go against the grain of societal norms. This was in contrast to her educational and family development growing up in a middle class which leads me to believe her parents instilled some moral values. To me she was looking for a out , to escape and do what she wanted not knowing what she was heading toward as the story continues we get into the progression of the drug where the getting ,using, and finding ways and means become important. Some parts of the story became graphic but none the less it was accurate life of someone who gets involved in the drug world. It was particularly graphic when the character decided that she could sell drugs to support her habit. She set out to look for someone she could score from. She explained doing her research of asking to get a connection. But her habit and the people she is around start to change and become more dependent on drugs. She preferred the less regular customers i.e. overachievers, friends filmmakers, poets, painters, and musicians (p.94). So as the story goes some of the people she knew were either getting resentful or jealous which is common. The lead character does not seem be particularly troubled. She made no real attempts to explain her drug addiction and her affection for heroin. Heroin tends to appeal to people who feel and care too much. They use the drug to create a buffer between themselves and the rest of the world.
I’m stuck with the impression that she is a follower and she wants to be on the in crowd. Then reality steps in because the police now stepped in investigating looking for the leader of the drug connection mostly because of the in/out traffic and in the drug world there is no loyalty among thieves. The police are now questioning her to get her to snitch on some other people when all along someone snitched on her. She asking who told on her but he is not telling. So the with people that she used with or was around was catching diseases, with some mention of a couple people getting clean (drug-free). But most of the rest was people in the grip of their…