THE FARM - by Clarence Cooper Jr


by Clarence Cooper Jr.

First of all I´d like to tell you something about the author:

Clarence Levis Cooper Jr. was born in Detroit in 1934. He got married soon and fell in drug addiction, and because of that he had to go to prison for two years, where he wrote for and edited the black daily newspaper Chicago Messenger. In this, time it was in the year 1960, he also published his first two novels. All of his books are placed in the drug-scene. The critics wrote about his books that they are as realistic, as just someone who has lived through the horror can write them. And Cooper´s horror-life went on, he was arrested again for two years. And he wrote three other novels. After his release he fell in adiction again. He met John A. Williams, and in 1967 he wrote his last and most personal book The Farm, where John is the hero. His final years were spent in Manhatten, where he died ravaged (verwüstet) and penniless in the late sixties.

Now let`s move to the content of the book:

It tells the story of an drug addict, named John. He has been addicted for 15 years. The book is writen from John`s point of view. He is a black man and now he is in a rehabilitation centre as a prisoner. Two or three years ago he was on harroin and he was filled with hate and capable (fähig) to use violent, because of using drugs. But now he has changed and found his peace. 2 years ago he came to a rehabilitation centre for the first time, itwas called 'The narcotic farm'. There were two different parts, the women-unit and the men-unit. His neighbours there were Tamerlane and Joe. Mister Antman, the supervisor of the centre, offered John to be his office boy, because the last one was going to leave soon. John agreed, because he had heard, that with this job you have more freedom in this strict house. At the first time he was send from one doctor to another one and one of them said that he was confused and manic-depressiv. But John wasn´t really confused, he knew what he did. He just hated doctors and psychiatrists and to talk with them, especially about himself. He was an isolated person in general, because he thought he didn´t need help. So he didn´t tell anybody, not even other prisoners, about himself and his feelings. Once he met Doug in the centre. He knew him from the streets and that meeting reminded his past. John had been married with an addict prostitute called Joyce, who had started taking drugs because of him. They even have a child called Joye. It lives at John´s aunt since Joyce had died from an overdose. John acted like those two people didn´t mean much to him, but that wasn´t true. At the farm he met a black women called Sonja, who felt in love with him immediatelly. They started writing letters. But John wasn´t really interested in her. Nevertheless he went to Doctor Cambridge her therapeuth with her. The doctor was very interested in John and his live and the effect he had to Sonja. He wanted to help John. But it wasn´t easy to do a reasonable conversation with John, because he was a very cynic person. But one time he was so angry about Dr. Cambridge`s statement, that he spoke about his feelings for the first time. After this discussion he met Tamerlane, who told him his attitude about the life and that he is thinking very often about his future and his family, he had a wife and four children. And that was the time, when John started to think, because he was no stupid guy. Another person who helped John very much was Joe Antman. Once he told John that he liked him and he didn´t want that he is unhappy. He advised him to talk to the others and to discuss with them, because they all have nearly the same problems. But John was a staring (stur) person and at that time he didn´t want to confess (zugeben) that he was isolated and needed help. Some time later that changed. One day he heard a conversation between a white and a black prisoner. The two man discussed about racism. And John was convinced of the unfair treatment to black people. So he joined the conversation. When they ended it up, he was very surprised about his behavior, because he has never talked in that way to others before or has even been interested in their opinion. John felt that something was happening to him, he even greet people he didn´t liked. At that time a new prisoner came to the farm. His name was Bob Trent, who knew John and who was responsible for Joyce´s dead. Because of that John hated him. But now back to Sonja, John´s girlfriend. Time has passed since they met first and now Sonja was going to leave soon. Both of them were sad about this issue. Sonja, because she didn´t want to leave John there and he, because he was worried if she would stay clean outside. Right now John was in real love with Sonja, it has been a long time ago since he had loved somebody, and because of that he felt really bad that she was leaving. Now I´d like to read a passage out to you. It´s situated in John´s office. READ Then the day of  Sonja´s release came. John was in a very bad condition and then he saw Bob Trent, and hate grew in him. He took an ironbar and tried to hit Bob with it, but he missed him. When he started a second shot, he couldn´t do it suddenly. He didn´t hated Bob enough anymore and he realised that killing him wouldn´t help him. But because of that issiue he was transfered to another rehabilitation centre. Before he left Antman came to him. He said: READ Then he left and came to the new centre, where he has been staying until now. The farm has really changed his life.

My opinion about this book is: That I really lik it. Nobody, who hasn´t ever been addicted to drugs and hasn´t lived such a life can really imagine, what those people feel and think. But I believe this story gives a litte insight in the mind of an addict. The Washington Post wrote about it: 'Evocative (wachrufend), powerful, sad and sweet and angry, all at the same time.' I had just a little problem to understand the book sometimes, because it´s written in colloquial speech (Umgangssprache). But I can really recommend it to you.

O.K. I think that´s enough. Do you have any questions? No, okay thank´s for listening and I hope you had enjoyed the presentation. Bye, bye!

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