Monday, October 27, 2008

beautiful boy & TWEAKED

I really felt it was necessary to post about these two books at the same time. I also highly recommend reading both, not just one or the other, if you plan on picking them up at all.

Both books have to do with drug addiction, specifically methamphetamine, but are told from two different points of view. Beautiful Boy is written by David Sheff, the father of the addict. Nic Sheff, the addict, wrote Tweaked. It's completely amazing to me how much the father thought he was involved in Nic's life in his book, to later read his son's version and realize that he didn't know a thing.

Beautiful Boy begins with the elder Sheff speaking about his son as a small child, his divorce from Nic's mother, and his remarriage with two new children. David had full custody of Nic after the divorce, but Nic was able to live with his mother over the summers. The solution seemed perfect, but it definitely had its effects on Nic. Nic began drinking at age 11 and it wasn't long after that he began to experiment with pot and soon heavier drugs. By about 18 he was a full-blown crystal meth addict. David spends the rest of his story telling the reader how the drug addiction affected his new and ex wife, himself and his two younger children. He spends his days worrying about Nic and trying desperately to get him into rehab. David goes to counselling himself and learns that the best thing he can do for his son is to let him go. He heeds this advice mainly because he doesn't know what else to do, but also because he can no longer afford to send Nic to rehab. In the end, he's convinced to send Nic one last time, and that's where he ends his story.

Nic's book is painful to read. He is extremely graphic about his drug use, using dirty needles, taking any drug he can get his hands on. He is homeless most of the time because all his money goes to meth, heroine, crack, cocaine; the list goes on. His explicit recounting of how he even turned to male prostitution was almost too much to bear. He literally would do anything to get high. Nic's story has him in and out of rehab countless times, being sober for over a year at time before he relapses, but it also proves how truly helpless an addict is to their disease. It was easy to see that Nic didn't want to hurt his family, his father, his employers, but he was powerless against the meth.

The next thing I plan on reading about this incredible journey is Nic's blog. I imagine it may be even more graphic and telling than his book, and I also really enjoyed his writing style.


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