Love’s Another Drug
(A Book Review of Kevin Brooks’s Candy)
It’s hard to imagine life without Candy.
Addiction is a word most of us are familiar with and all of us have his / her vices, fixes we hanker for from time to time. But how powerful can an addiction be and how far can we go to satisfy this burning need?
Joe Beck is your average fifteen-year-old teen living a comfortable life in the suburbs of London; he gets by in his school studies and cares pretty much about his music playing bass for a band with some boys from his school called The Katies.
But his boring, uneventful life will turn upside down on a simple trip to a doctor’s appointment in the city, the day he turns the corner of the street and meets Candy he instantly falls for her. It seems like your usual boy-meets-girl setup, but as Joe gets to know Candy and enters her life, the more he gets closer, the more he longs for her and becomes obsess to her, he is initiated into the London underworld of drug, violence, and prostitution, the closer he gets in the way of danger.
In Kevin Brook’s 2005 novel, Candy, he gives us a view of what forms addiction can take, dealing with one of the most pernicious kind there is: drugs. In a turbulent journey of a love story told from an innocent boy’s point of view, we get to see the struggles of Candy, the titular character, who wants to break free from drug’s devastating hold over her and the miserable life it has lead her into: selling her body in order to feed her addiction.
Joe’s world suddenly takes a dramatic change not in the way he expects it to be once he meets Candy. At first he seems uncertain about her feelings for her, yet as the novel progresses it becomes more than just the typical teenage crush. He becomes hooked to Candy, his addiction more powerful than drugs can effect and he’ll do whatever it takes to pluck her out of the nightmare she is living. However, the road to redemption has its price and the way is fraught with peril and difficulty keeping them from each other. Still, it’s a chance that they are willing to take.
The love, passion, fears, and brutality of the story keeps you wanting more. The rush of all the emotions that sweeps you over as you are turning each page, gives you a craving for more Candy. Kevin Brooks wants you to feel what it would be like in Joe’s position. He makes you wonder, thinking to yourself “What would I do?” This shockingly twisted love story, raw in its telling, compulsive in its stark painting of reality, will not only take you on the edge of your seat, it is equally evocative in its tender moments of what it feels like to be young, naïve, and in love.