Friday, February 22, 2013

Beautiful Boy

I got a bit behind on my book reviews, so keep an eye out here as I am hoping to get caught up over the next few days.  On that note, here's the next one.

Beautiful Boy: A Father's Journey Through His Son's Addiction by David Sheff

This was an interesting book.  I read the companion book, Tweak by Nic Sheff, a while ago.  Tweak is Nic's story about his battle with addiction.  Beautiful Boy is his father's side of things.  One of the more intriguing points I found in the book is that it doesn't read like a typical memoir, though there are elements of that present.  Sheff tends to focus more on what was going through his mind as the events occurred.  Now, I have read reviews that were critical of that, and I can understand why if you go into reading this book expecting a typical memoir.  But, working in the addiction field, I can tell you Sheff's mind set as he conveys it in this book is common among the parents I work with.  In that respect, I found this point of view fascinating.

David Sheff was a writer prior to this book.  He was writing non-fiction magazine articles when his son started the family on the emotional roller coaster of addiction.  So, when Sheff wrote Beautiful Boy, he did so armed with a significant amount of research into addiction.  Much of that research is added to the book.  This research does break up the story a bit, but he fits it into the story in a way that I think lends strength to the emotional aspects of the story.

In the end, I found this to be a great book about one family's experience with addiction.  I would recommend reading Tweak first.  By doing so, you will get a better picture of the events so, when you read Beautiful Boy, the emotional side of this book will make more sense and come through clearer.

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