I started reading Tracy Lynn’s young adult novel, Rx” because I wanted to gain a deeper understanding into the world of drug addiction. I wanted to see more of how people become addicted to drugs and why they start taking drugs to begin with. Needless to say, I was not disappointed in this novel.
Rx is a young adult novel told in first-person by a high-school senior, Thyme. At first glance the only thing that seemed unusual about Thyme was her name which she explained herself in the novel. Thyme was just your typical high-school senior fighting for a high GPA, participating in various extra-curricular activities to boost her transcript, and fretting about college applications.
One of Thyme’s biggest problems in life was her inability to focus. She worried about her GPA and the fact that although she is one of the “twenties”, (a name she uses to refer to the top 20 students in her graduating class),she was only in the bottom percentage of that 20. She studied endlessly taking Kaplan prep courses, working on SAT study guides,and preparing for her AP class tests. However, she believed that if she could only focus more she would be able to study harder and therefore improve her GPA and increase her chances of getting into a good school.
One day, while eating breakfast with her family, Thyme announced her desire to see a doctor — a special kind of doctor. She believed that she had ADD and would like to be treated for it through the use of prescription medication — namely Ritalin. However, her parents dismissed her and told her that she did not have any mental, emotional, or behavior treatments. Thyme was then left to solve her problems on her own.
While Thyme may not have been at the top of the list for the Twenties — she was no dummy. Thyme was actually quite intelligent especially when it comes to the world of prescription medication. This proved to be both a positive and a negative thing. She knew that Ritalin was exactly what she needed to treat her ADD and to make her more focused.
Obtaining Ritalin proved to be much easier than Thyme ever anticipated. She was able to get it relatively easy from a friend whom was prescribed it but refused to take it. She quickly snatched the bottle and began taking it regularly. She was impressed by how well it seemed to treat her ADD. Studying was no longer a problem. Her grades improved. She had more energy. Sounds great, right? WRONG.
Thyme grew more and more dependant on it. She HAD to have it. And when she didn’t have it, she went through severe withdrawal. Reading about Thyme’s withdrawal from Ritalin was like reading of a heroin addict’s withdrawal from well,heroin. People always assume that prescription medication is safe because it is FDA approved. But there is definitely such thing as too much of a good thing, especially when you are your own doctor.
Since Thyme was never actually prescribed Ritalin and was not going to a doctor to actually be treated for her condition, she had to take matters into her own hands when it came to obtaining Ritalin. The stolen bottle of pills only lasted for a limited time, and as she seen through her terrible withdrawal, she needed more. Desperately. Her body was now completely dependant on it.
Thyme had to take some risks and sometimes drastic measures to get more Ritalin. This resulted in stealing it from those she knew had or may have had it, and eventually, becoming an all-out drug dealer with lists of who could get her Ritalin, how much it would cost, and if there was any medications she could trade for it.
Turns out Thyme wasn’t the only one without a doctor and in need of prescription medication.
There were many people in her town of Ashbury that were in the same boat as Thyme: self-diagnosing and in need of a prescription pill to provide a quick-fix for their problems. Thyme never had any problems finding people to trade with or sell to. In fact, sometimes she even began diagnosing and suggesting pills to people herself. She was becoming a well-known and professional dealer in Ashbury and it was ruining her life.
When one of Thyme’s clients committed suicide, it changed her. She felt guilty for providing her with pills which may have encouraged her to commit suicide. She vowed to stop dealing altogether. While she may have followed through on the dealing end of things, she never quite kicked her addiction to Ritalin. The novel concludes with Thyme away at college with just two Ritalin pills with her “just in case”. She tried to flush them down the toilet, but quickly tries to get them out of the water before it is too late. This just goes to show how easy it is to become addicted to prescription medication and how difficult it can be to quit.
What I liked the most about Rx was how real and raw it was. Thyme is very easy to relate to. The author does not try to paint her as being a bad person and you never want to call her a “druggie” and even “dealer” seems harsh. You sympathsize with her and at times almost find yourself supporting and agreeing with her use of Ritalin. She does not even seem like a bad person for dealing drugs — she sounds more like someone that is trying to help her peers and herself at the same time.
Lynn created a very real story with Rx that allows the reader to open their eyes a bit to see how serious prescription medication drug addiction is. The reader gains a sense of awareness of how easy it is to begin taking prescription medication and how difficult it is to quit. It makes you realize that drugs are a very deep problem with today’s youth and that goes for way more than just the stereotypical use of weed. We as a society should be on the lookout for prescription drug use in schools, and we should realize that it’s not just a problem with “stoners” but even with the well-rounded college-bound kids like Thyme.
Overall Rx was a very well-written excellent novel. I give it 5 out of 5 stars.