Shug, the thirteen year old who tells this story, is poor, friendless and exploited by those around him. What chance does he have? In this short, beautifully written book the story is revealed in episodes and as much is implied as is described. The fact that the violence and abuse is very understated makes the impact all the more powerful.
The next place was a house. Wherever dope beckoned from I would be sent ....
'You just walk on in like you belong there,' Red said. 'Walk in like you're best buddies with the kid that lives there.'
'He'll be there though.'
'He's sick. He ain't goin' to say much to you, and even if he did say somethin' he can't do nothin'. He's sick.'
'That's the whole deal,' Basil said. 'The kid's sick, Shug, so you want to get in there quick before he uses all them painkillers they give him. Find what gives him relief and steal it.'
I don't guess I said anything to that.