Thursday, November 12, 2009

Snapshot Book Review: Dope

Dope Dope by Sara Gran

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This starts out reading like a docudrama and ends up mystery--which is actually what saves it from being trite and, ultimately, boring. Gran does little to make her protagonist stand out from other drug addict-thief characters we have read about before, those who have come clean, those who doubt their ability to stay clean, those who crave the drug and those determined not to go back. In this way, Josephine's character fails to stimulate the mind or imagination. The characters she meets are what drive the book, until the plot eventually takes over. Then, the mystery of finding Nadine involves the reader as much as it involves Josephine, until a dramatic twist hurtles the reader through to the end.

I have to admit that the ultimate ending left me immediately disappointed. Afterward, though, I stopped and reconsidered my reasons for feeling disappointed: 1) I--just like every other Disney-raised American--had been hoping for a happy ending. We always want our protagonists to succeed. They are extensions of ourselves, after all. And this, for what it was, was not a happy ending. Then, 2) it wasn't much of an ending. It wasn't conclusive. And I hate untidy endings. I don't like endings to be too neat, either--that's just as easy a way out for an author as providing not enough detail--but "not knowing" is antagonizing! However, the lack of definitive ending really did suit this book, when I stop and think about it. Thematically, it suited the situation both specifically and at large: drugs, betrayal, hopelessness, the cyclic nature of relationships and habits.

So for all of the issues I may have had with the book and its ending, I have to give Gran her dues. It was a quick and authentic-feeling read.

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