Sometimes they don’t live happily ever after | SierraSun.com
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Sometimes they don’t live happily ever after

Sierra Countis
Sierra Sun

Author Ellen Hopkins doesn’t write happy endings.

Standing in front of a roomful of students at Tahoe-Truckee High School on Friday, Hopkins spoke openly and honestly about her daughter’s addiction to methamphetamine, referring to her New York Times best-selling book, “Crank,” to re-tell her story.

Drug addiction. Sex. Religion. Hopkins said most of the schools she visits on book tours want her to be frank with students when discussing the topics she writes about.

“I’m telling them the truth,” Hopkins said. “Instead of pretending that they (issues) don’t happen, it’s important to know they affect everyone.”

Truckee High sophomore Joelle Sorrentino, 16, said she was introduced to Hopkin’s books from the school’s librarian, Jan Polochko, who organized the event. Sorrentino said she can relate to Hopkin’s latest book, “Impulse.”

“I’ve had a similar experience to one of the characters … it was like someone was spying on me,” Sorrentino said.

Most of Hopkins’ work is written in poetry form ” as the esthetics of her words are just as meaningful to her as the lay-out of each poem. Each of her books is printed in a smaller-scale, compact format in order for each poem to fit on each page.

“Poetry is a very interior form (of writing) ” it’s how you see the world,” said Hopkins, who lived in Tahoe for a handful of years before moving to her current home in Reno.

About 70 percent of her 2004 debut novel “Crank” is true to life, Hopkins said. My daughter has four children from different fathers and she spent time in prison because of her addiction to methamphetamine, she said.

“The decisions she made at 16, 17, 18 are still affecting her today,” Hopkins said. “My family looked like your family.”

Hopkins described a time when she was at her daughter’s house ” white powder and ashes spread across the living room coffee table ” to pick up her granddaughter who would cry every time she left the room.

At her worst, Hopkins said, her daughter was doing one-half-ounce of meth a day. Hopkin’s daughter stole jewelry from her and forged her mother’s signature to write checks.

Fastfoward to present time: Hopkins daughter is now sober and the pair are working to rebuild their relationship.

“I’ve forgiven her on a basic level, but I’ll never trust her,” she said.

Her daughter’s story comes full-circle for readers in “Glass,” to be released this summer.

Speaking to a captive audience of adolescents, Hopkins spoke in a straightforward manner.

“I’m not going to tell you not to go out and party. You will have choices in how you party and I’m hoping this is not the way you go,” she said.

Truckee High student Sophie Sparksworthy, 17, said she’s read “Crank” at least 10 times and has passed her copy of the book on to more than 30 people.

“It’s good to hear her speak in person,” Sparksworthy said.

Hopkins won’t shy away from controversial topics in the book she’s now in the process of writing. It’s a story about identical twins, a father who favors one more than the other, and incest, she said.

“I’ve never been pressured to write something with a happy ending,” she said.


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