'Crank' author tells about dangers of meth
Author Ellen Hopkins doesn't apologize for the content in some of the books she's written.
That content talks about drugs, sex, rape, and abuse.
On Wednesday during a visit to Panther Valley High School, she told the students, "I write as honestly as I can," adding that she feels it is honesty that attracts young people to her novels.
Hopkins, of Nevada, added, "It's not always pretty, but I think it's important you realize this stuff happens."
She spent four hours with the students at the school. She conducted an assembly program, then met with honor students in a classroom setting, hosted an informal session with about 30 students in the school library, and finally had lunch with a handful of honor students.
The meeting was arranged by Macey Markovich of the school's Student Leadership Group, which formerly was the Student Council. She said she was assisted by advisor Michele Martin.
The Student Leadership Group raised $3,500 by selling doughnuts, hosting dress-down days, and a basket raffle.
The visit by Hopkins became controversial when a parent of a middle school student had attended last month's meeting of the Panther Valley School Board and complained that she thought the material in some of the books by Hopkins was inappropriate for seventh and eighth grade students.
Joseph Gunnels, high school principal, said seventh and eighth graders were permitted to attend the talk only with signed permission slips from the respective student's parents.
He said 28 middle school students attended.
Hopkins told the student that although her books are categorized fiction, all the characters in them are based on real people.
In the most controversial of the novels, "Crank," she writes about a young girl who is an A student and who attends church each week getting high on crystal meth.
That girl was her daughter, she said.
Hopkins spoke on the theme, "Glimpses of My Life," in which she told how she lived with wealth, but also lived in poverty.
She was in a marriage in which her husband used crack, how she found a much better life with her second husband, and how meth destroyed her daughter.
The story behind "Crank" "is very personal; a very real story that happened to my child," she said to the attentive students.
The author told the students about the dangers of meth and other drugs and how they can ruin you life, like they did her daughter's. "This is a drug where the effects don't go away," she said.
When her daughter got pregnant, she chose drugs over her baby, said Hopkins, who adopted her grandson when he was age 4.
Her daughter has fought addiction for 18 years, which resulted in her spending two years in prison.
Regarding controversy regarding her coming to Panther Valley, she said, "I'm not sure where the fear of the truth comes from."
“Knowledge is what keeps you from making mistakes," she said.