David Sheff's story is a first: a teenager's addiction from the parent's point of view -- a real-time chronicle of the shocking descent into substance abuse and the gradual emergence into hope. Before meth, Sheff's son Nic was a varsity athlete, honor student, and award-winning journalist. After meth, he was a trembling wreck who stole money from ...
David Sheff's story is a first: a teenager's addiction from the parent's point of view -- a real-time chronicle of the shocking descent into substance abuse and the gradual emergence into hope. Before meth, Sheff's son Nic was a varsity athlete, honor student, and award-winning journalist. After meth, he was a trembling wreck who stole money from his eight-year-old brother and lived on the streets. With haunting candour, Sheff traces the first subtle warning signs, the denial (by both child and parents), the three a.m. phone calls (is it Nic? the police? the hospital?), the attempts at rehab, and, at last, the way past addiction. He shows us that whatever an addict's fate, the rest of the family must care for one another too, lest they become addicted to addiction.
As the father of a young adult with a debilitating chemical dependency problem, I found that reading this open description of David Sheff?s painful attempt at learning to live with his son?s difficult life helpful and, in some strange way, hopeful. I strongly recommend it to anyone with an addict in their life.
Aug 11, 2011
Great book hard read
It's a hard read if you have a child in this situation but extremely informative and ultimately hopeful.
Aug 13, 2009
touching, insightful and informative
What a beautiful story...how deeply a father cares for his son. It was touching and insightful as well as informative. Thank God, I never had to deal with a child's addiction but it made me appreciate how close we actually came as a family in having to deal with such a powerful issue.
Jan 23, 2009
I read this book a year ago. Since then I've given it to others whenever I've become aware that they are the parents of someone whose has a meth addiction. I spent 15 years as the parent of two children who were addicted. Having personal experience of the angst, I cried at times as I read and remembered, at a deep emotional level, the trauma involved. The author is exceptionally articulate. As I read the story of his experience with with is son, I literally felt again the sense of terror that was involved in not knowing whether my son or daughter would survive. The story is enriched by his sharing of valuable and encouraging information from the research he sought out during his journey. I highly recommend this to anyone who wants to deepen his or her understanding of the complexities involved for individuals and families caught up in the cultural epidemic that meth addiction represents.
Apr 13, 2008
Difficult But Must Read for Parents of an Addict
Beautiful Boy by David Sheff was given to me by a friend who works in the drug addiction services arena. She figured that it would be therapeutic for me as my son was an addict for ten years and has maintained sobriety for the past two years. Little did I know how reading Beautiful Boy would bring up raw nerves that I thought had been dealt with in the past. David Sheff is an excellent writer. The reader is quickly captured by this story of a father and son who obviously love each other and who both have incredible passion and excitement for the world in which we live. The author has also included a lot of data from professionals to do with drug use, abuse, addiction, therapies and pharmacological facts which help to bring credibility to the battle that ensues. The only negative comment that I have regarding this book is that I felt that the author became a victim verses the survivor mentality that was present for all but the last few chapters. Upon completion of the read, I immediately went on Alibris to order Nic's book, Tweek, so that I could read about the other side of the equation. Would highly recommend to any reader. Drug addition effects so many of us that it is impossible to invision anyone who could not learn something helpful in the process of reading Beautiful Boy.
Publishers Weekly, 2008-05-26 Sheff's memoir offers his side of the story about his son Nic's downfall into drug and alcohol abuse. Anthony Heald opts for a slightly theatrical performance, which distances the listener from what should be an extremely personal and emotional tale. While never over-the-top, Heald's reading is more grounded in the world of fiction than nonfiction. His vocal interpretations of characters are improbable and the dialogue comes off as unrealistic. A touching story gets lost in translation from word to mouth. A Houghton Mifflin hardcover (Reviews, Apr. 30, 2007). (Apr.) Copyright 2008 Reed Business Information.
Publishers Weekly, 2007-04-30 Expanding on his New York Times Magazine article, Sheff chronicles his son's downward spiral into addiction and the impact on him and his family. A bright, capable teenager, Nic began trying mind- and mood-altering substances when he was 17. In months, use became abuse, then abuse became addiction. By the time Sheff knew of his son's condition, Nic was strung out on meth, the highly potent stimulant. While his son struggles to get clean, his second wife and two younger children are pulled helplessly into the drama. Sheff, as the parent of an addict, cycles through denial and acceptance and resistance. The author was already a journalist of considerable standing when this painful story began to unfold, and his impulse for detail serves him personally as well as professionally: there are hard, solid facts about meth and the kinds of havoc it wreaks on individuals, families and communities both urban and rural. His journey is long and harrowing, but Sheff does not spare himself or anyone else from keen professional scrutiny any more than he was himself spared the pains-and joys-of watching a loved one struggling with addiction and recovery. Real recovery creates-and can itself be-its own reward; this is an honest, hopeful book, coming at a propitious moment in the meth epidemic. (Aug.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
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