Zoo Station: The Story of Christiane F.
Chapters written from the perspective of Christiane’s mother and other adult figures can sometimes disrupt the hypnotic effect of Christiane’s narrative, but they also offer broader insight into a vulnerable population under the influence of a devastating new drug. Christiane’s uninhibited voice crackles with cynicism over the hypocrisy and arbitrary rules she observes around her (“I hated it when people talked like they also wanted to save me. I got real marriage proposals. And all the while they knew full well that they were only taking advantage of our misery, the misery of the addicts, to satisfy their own desires”), as she documents the choices that bring her further into destitution and despair. Even in moments of utter depravity, Christiane remains sympathetic and wise, with a deeply embedded sense of morality. Although Christiane’s message to readers is, without a doubt, “Do not follow me,” she synthesizes moments of beauty and joy alongside those of horror, resulting in a deeply observant look at the search for love and meaning amid chaos. Ages 14–up. (Jan.)