Dinky Hocker Shoots Smack! Critical Content - Essay

Marijane Meaker

Critical Content

(Survey of Young Adult Fiction)

Dinky Hocker Shoots Smack!, M. E. Kerr’s first novel for young adults, was widely praised on its first publication and was named a “Best of the Best” Book for Young Adults by the American Library Association, a Best Children’s Book by The School Library Journal, and a Library of Congress Children’s Book of 1972. It also received a Maxi Award from Media and Methods. Critic Alleen Pace Nilsen has suggested that the book is one of Kerr’s most popular and that it remains one of her best. Dinky Hocker Shoots Smack! is still in print and is read in some schools; it was popular enough to be adapted to television as part of the ABC Afternoon Special series. While some of the characters and events are exaggerated and unbelievable, the relationships between the protagonists and their parents continue to appeal to young adults.

The somewhat unusual romantic relationships between Tucker and Natalia and between Dinky and P. John look forward to similar romantic entanglements in Kerr’s other works, especially The Son of Someone Famous (1974) and Him She Loves? (1984), in which teenagers’ love lives are complicated by their parents. As in Dinky Hocker Shoots Smack!, the parents in Kerr’s Gentlehands (1978) are oblivious to the problems that their children face and occasionally are prejudiced, despite an attempt to appear politically correct. Like Dinky and P. John,...

(The entire section is 418 words.)