Friday Fiction: Dinky Hocker Shoots Smack

Dinky Hocker Shoots Smack coverDinky Hocker Shoots Smack!

Submitter: This was . . . probably an OK book in 1972? And probably great in our context (small rural town in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula – about as far as it gets from Brooklyn.) I might take it home and read it. There’s a cat named Nader! The boy wants to be a librarian! It was adapted into an After-School Special! But it’s 2020. Our current YA patrons’ mothers are too young for this book. Also, it’s a mass market paperback in a library binding – the pages are brittle and falling out. It’s time to go.

Holly:¬†But…but…but…you can’t just¬†weed M.E. Kerr! This book was on Library Journal’s “100 most significant books for children and young adults in the 20th century” list!

Oh wait, my bad, yes, you can.

Chapter 1

Pages 10-11

Page 16

Page 17

Page 176



  1. Oh, wow, I remember that book so well! I read it in the mid-80s, and my younger kid is nearly 18. She would never touch it. I remember how somebody graffitied “Dinky Hocker Shoots Smack” all over the neighborhood…

    1. Didn’t it turn out that Dinky herself had done the graffitiing because her mother wasn’t giving her enough attention? I’m thinking this won’t be a spoiler because no one who hasn’t already read the book is going to read it now, probably.

  2. This does look like a really great book for the time. Maybe even for 10 years later. 50 years later? Nope.

    I’d probably have read it back then.

    Nice that she’s still alive.

    1. I’d read it now if it fell into my hands. Being as we’re in a pandemic and my library is still closed…

  3. I loved this book! And anything written by M.E. Kerr, really. Night Kites is my favorite, although I read it at a time when people really were afraid you’d get AIDS from being in the same room as someone with HIV, and I can’t imagine that would be relevant to readers now.

  4. Dinky Hocker! I think the author tried to find the most bizarre name she (he?) could for the character.

  5. I seriously balk at the idea of weeding out M.E. Kerr (who is still alive and an absolute treasure in terms of YA history as well as a founding mother of lesbian pulp novels), but…take a hard look at the circulation numbers. If they’re decent considering the bad quality of the book, maybe toss this and buy a fresh copy.

    1. The reissued cover art is pretty good, but I just can’t imagine a young adult reader being drawn in by a title that includes the phrase “shoots smack,” much less knowing what it is. It doesn’t mean it’s not a good book, but there’s no point in keeping it if teens aren’t reading it.

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