Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Beautiful Boy

The Book: Beautiful Boy
The Writer: David Sheff
The Dealio: Pure and simple:this is a non-fiction account of a descent into Hell. Don't know how else to describe it. The author is a pretty well-known journalist who has written for Rolling Stone, Wired, the New York Times Sunday magazine, etcetera. Here, he is writing about his oldest son, the beautiful boy in question, named Nic. Who was smart and funny and multi-talented and athletic and full of promise. And also an alcoholic and addict. His poison of choice was meth, and the spiral began when he was about 14 years old. This is a book recommended by a coworker/friend of mine who said, 'It is utterly fascinating and utterly nerve-wracking in turns.' So, I decided to take a chance. At times, I was wondering if I should have (had my head examined). But Mr Sheff is a terrific, humane writer with his finger on the pulse of his audience. By this, I mean, he leads you to the very brink of horror, suffering and despair, then refuses to throw you over that cliff. Instead, he offers you breathing room and a chance to recover when he moves on to information about addiction and rehab, the music scene, life in Marin (where you may be ostracised from the neighborhood picnic for bringing full-on meat hot dogs, rather than the tofu sort), the healing process, Alanon and movies (are you surprised to hear that he hated Sideways?). When I couldn't stand it a moment longer, I felt compelled to 'google' David and Nic and see their actual faces, to read about how they are doing now. To sort of touch base with them. BTW- Nic, also, has a book, 'Tweak', which tells more personally, his side of the story).
The Grading Session: 4.73 stars out of 5; towards the end, I had such an embarrassing feeling of retreading already covered mileage, and, truly, I do feel David is such a talented writer, there is simply no excuse for that. But I split hairs. This is a tough book to read, but it is also a glimpse into such an alien (I hope!) world, that I was glad I read (and survived) read it. And am glad to blog about it.
Lessons Learned: Not original, but here goes: 'You didn't cause it, you can't control it and you can't cure it.' This is a hard one to learn, but sometimes, love, sacrifice, caring, helping, hoping and praying are not enough. And I can not believe I actually just wrote those words.

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