Book review: Dope sick by Walter Dean Myers

    Recommended by a teacher, the book Dope sick is based in the realism found in many of the popular urban fiction titles. But Myers gives the nod to acclaimed South American writers Isabel Allende and Gabriel Garcia Marquez by adding magical realism to his usual NYC inner-city setting. It opens with a young man, Lil J, on the run from the police with a bullet in his arm. Then the book takes a detour into fantastic realms when Lil J runs into an abandoned building. There he finds a creepy guy watching tv.  But the channels don't show the usual shows, they show the future--or are they just possible futures?  There's Lil J on the roof of the building, surrounded by swat teams and cop cars, with his nine pointed at his head.  Wait, now there's somebody being carried out in a body bag.Walter Dean Myers photograph
    "Real jumped up, grabbed me, and started shaking hard." As Lil J continues to sweat and shake from the pain and shock in his body, he is fighting hard not to freak because the weird guy, Kelly, knows things no one can know. He begs him to change the channel when the tv shows him the same scene again and again--a suicidal version of himself trapped by the cops. When the tv starts showing the recent past, Lil J finds those scenes are just as painful.  There's his mom, passed out on the floor from the drugs holding her by the throat.  There he is finding out his girl is pregnant.  Worst of all is seeing himself doing heroin.  Facing up to the truth that is his life, there on the screen.
    Walter Dean Myers proved himself as an exceptional writer long ago, but he has shown once again his mad skills by taking on the newest genre and mastering it as easily as all others. I highly recommend this as a sterling example of magical realism, urban fantasy, and urban fiction all together.  ~ Tessa J. Eger         4.5 out of 5 stars