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Thursday Book Review: Beautiful Boy, David Sheff

February 4, 2010

Please excuse me as I take a step away from Joy into pretty much the absolute opposite of Joy with this weeks’ book review.

I’m not going to lie;  David Sheff’s Beautiful Boy is an incredibly difficult read.  In the midst of all kinds of beautiful writing is a horror story of one dad’s journey through his son, Nic’s, addiction to methamphetamines.  I had no idea what I was getting into when I picked up this book.  Sheff managed to scare the pants off of  me with his descriptions of what his high-achieving, talented, beautiful son went through when he became addicted to meth.  Sheff describes the wide path of devastation this drug brought to his son and his  family.   Along the way, he invites you right into the hell going on in his head as he tries to get his son help.   Beautiful Boy is the story of a father’s love.  But Sheff goes beyond that.  He admits mistakes.  He shares his fears.  He acknowledges his limitations.  He fights and fights and fights some more.  Again, not easy stuff to read.  

As a parent, my heart broke for both Nic and David.  This book actually scared me.  I learned a whole bunch about a part of life that I did not know anything about.  You better believe it sparked lots of discussions about Meth with my own kids. 

So, no.  This is not a “happy read.”  But there is hope in Beautiful Boy and there are some beautiful moments in the book.  I recommend this book to any parent, whether they are dealing with addictions in the family or not.  

Although it was not fun, I am glad I went on David Sheff’s journey and I wish he and his family nothing but the very best.

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