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Why is the novel "Crackhead" by Lisa Lennox a good book to read for an English class?I...

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trice267 | Student, College Freshman | eNotes Newbie

Posted April 21, 2009 at 2:32 PM via web

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Why is the novel "Crackhead" by Lisa Lennox a good book to read for an English class?

I have to answer an open ended question about why this particular book great for English class. It about a girl named Lacie who was new around town, and she met a few girls who she thought were really nice. But little did Lacie know, the girls were jealous of her. All of the girls smoked marijuana, so one day the girls set up Lacie and gave her some crack. She didn't no. Lacie smoked the crack and came back and ask the girls where did they get that marijuana they had that day. However, Lacie became addicted to crack and later on she found out what it was from some boy that were cool with the other girls, but liked Lacie.....

I have to write 3-5 pages about why this would be a good book to read for English...maybe to teach you not to trust people who you call your friends.... I don't know, it's no way I can get 3-5 pages on this without telling the story to the professor. He said he don't want a book report......what should I say, what should write...

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jessecreations | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Associate Educator

Posted April 23, 2009 at 7:18 AM (Answer #2)

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Having never read that book, I'll give you my thoughts, based on what you've described in your post:

I think you can make a case for any book, most of the time.  Some "great literature" is crappy reading, in my humble opinion, and some "fluff novels" are great reading.  So, I think any book deserves consideration, one way or another.

To be considered a "good book for an English class," there has to be something to study in addition to being something to read.  So see if you can find some of the typical literary devices in your book, like symbolism, metaphor, etc.  Discuss character development, archetypes, etc.  That way, your professor can see the "literary" merit of this book, even if it seems like there might not be much of it on the surface.

For your book, I would say one of the benefits is the relatability factor.  A young audience will likely identify with Lacie and what she goes through; maybe not her fall into the world of crack addiction, but the more general things she experiences.  Peer pressure, drug abuse, boy/girl relationships, friendships, etc. - these are all common themes in young adult literature, and all of these themes can be explored in an English class.  Also, as an English teacher, I always try to find a book that has some sort of "hook" for my students.  It sounds like your book would hold the interests of a young audience, and then as the teacher I could sneak in the literary discussions after they were already hooked on the book.

For your paper, you don't have to summarize the whole book, but you can refer to sections of it.  You can say things like, "when Lacie experiences ________, an English student might discover _________" or something like that.  That way, you can take up some of your 3-5 pages explaining the book while still relating it back to the applications of studying that book in a classroom.

Good luck with your paper!

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litteacher8 | Middle School Teacher | (Level 1) Distinguished Educator

Posted August 25, 2011 at 10:43 AM (Answer #3)

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You would really need to ask the teacher this question. Teachers have very different ideas of what makes a book appropriate. Some teachers would say it's ok, depending on what class you are taking. Just because of the content, some teachers may not approve of it.

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