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

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

by David Sheff

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Beautiful Boy 4.1 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 131 reviews.
Linda58 More than 1 year ago
David Sheff did not miss a single experience of having a drug addicted child. He seconds guesses himself constantly, reads about it, asks questions, researches new and old treatment, loses sleep, deprives himself of other loved ones, sets aside his life over and over again, is depressed, makes himself physically sick and the sinking feeling he would get when the phone rings and the feelings of hopelessness in getting help. He cannot turn to God. As a parent of a drug addicted son myself, Mr. Sheff didn't miss a beat. My son passed away 2 years ago and my family and I lived the life Mr. Sheff lived. I will always wonder if I could have done more or what did I miss from the very beginning. I had this book for over a year before I could bring myself to read it and I will give it to people going through this terrible experience.
Rapunzel0321 More than 1 year ago
This was truly a perspective changing novel. My brother was a heroin addict when we were younger, and I did not effectively deal with the pain and self-blame that experience created in me. Hearing how David Sheff dealt with the issue surrounding his own son's meth addiction changed the way I perceived myself, as well as my role in my brother's addiction and recovery. The amount of research Sheff incorporated in this novel provided the evidence I needed to start looking at that time period in my own life and the life of my family as a whole in a completely different way. I always believed addiction is a disease that steals the one's we love and transforms them into people they never wanted to be. This novel showed that I was right in some ways and wrong in others. Any one who has dealt with addiction, whether crystal meth or others, will find this memoir enlightening and therapeutic.
JMU2010 More than 1 year ago
Being a Substance Abuse Intervention Minor I am constantly interested in seeing how families deal with addictions and this book provides such an amazing insight. I've actually read both Beautiful Boy and Tweak and I would recommend either to anyone interested in addiction.
baby4 More than 1 year ago
Very informational for parents of teenagers. Very well written and devastatingly real.
iMAC18 More than 1 year ago
Not only was this book hard to put down, but it was an amazing perspective into what no parent would ever want to run into. David Sheff's problem came when he found marijuana in his 12 year old son, Nic, jeans. This was the first warning sign into what would become a serious drug problem. But with the trust that comes with being a parent, Sheff didn't believe anything more would happen when Nic told him that he would never do it again. Six years later though, Nic became an addict of methamphetamine. In this book you get the hard and raw truth of what it's truly like to be in the shoes of a parent trying to control a child's problem. Not in any other book will you be literally placed in someone else's life and feel the pain and distraught that David Sheff had felt with his son and his problem. I would recommend this amazing book to pretty much anyone because David Sheff nailed it. For me being a teenager, it really put me in a position of what a parent would be like because of how Sheff's voice and imagery in the book was so key to understanding the pain he went through. Sheff is very personal and open about every story he tells and what he feels like he did wrong on trying to stop and help Nic. It really sends out a message that the drug methamphetamine is a really serious drug and shouldn't be pursued by anyone. With having the feeling that you were in Sheff's shoes made you really think of what it'd be like to go through this problem and can really help you in the future with what and what not to do if you have children that could potentially have this problem. If you really want the other perspective of the story from Nic's side, you should read Tweak. It goes into detail of what Sheff did not, like the absences Nic had for week's at a time. This book was very well written and I give Sheff major props for being so open about a major problem. He didn't hesitate once with any of the stories of how it affected him or his family. I give this book five out of five stars because of the effort Sheff put into this book in researching and knowing every single detail that happened through Nic's stages of life.
menomm26 More than 1 year ago
David Sheff¿s novel, Beautiful Boy, focuses on his relationship with his son Nic, a meth addict who is struggling to turn his life around. Sheff takes us through Nic¿s early years and how he coped with the divorce of his parents, a new stepmom and dad, and the birth of his two half-siblings. As a child Nic was always exceedingly clever and creative, he was very involved in high school, partaking in swimming and water polo, in addition to writing for the school newspaper. His future looked bright until he started getting involved with drugs, more than just the occasionally hit of marijuana. Eventually Nic was introduced to meth, the most addictive drug out there and he was hooked. David writes about how he attempts to deal with his son¿s addiction, and the countless recoveries and relapses that go with it. He confesses that, no matter how many people tell him otherwise, he still blames himself for Nic¿s tragic life. The major theme in this novel is the love of a parent can be so strong that it will never allow them to give up on their children, no matter what situations they are faced with. I loved how Sheff included so many of the memorable experiences he has shared with Nic over the years. I think if he hadn¿t I wouldn¿t really be able to sympathize with him about his anxiety over Nic¿s wellbeing because I would see him as just another screw up addict. This way I was able to really start to care for the bright little boy Sheff described and those tender feelings for him remained as he grew up throughout the book. One dislike I had about this novel was that the author included a lot of statistics and numbers in certain parts when he was trying to explain the medical effects of methamphetamine, and this was a little distracting. He also used a lot of medical diction that I had to frequently look up so that was also the slightest bit annoying. This is a very deep read so I wouldn¿t recommend picking it up if you are looking for something happy and light-hearted. But, if you don¿t mind the numerous life lessons and the fact that it¿s saturated in emotion then I think you will find the book to be very touching, eye opening, and above all rewarding. I also recommend reading Tweak, by Nic Sheff, which is Nic¿s own recount of his experiences with hard drugs. I read Tweak first and then Beautiful Boy and it¿s really interesting to see the same story from two very different perspectives. Beautiful Boy is truly a beautiful book and I give it a solid five out of five.
madmom98146 More than 1 year ago
David Sheff and his familys story is heart-wrenching and scary to think of when you realize it's all true and could happen to anyone. Once you pick it up you can not put it down. I laughed at the irony and the silliness of a young father and eventually a single parent. I cried at the loss felt at having to make descisions that went against how a person is taught to raise a child knowing it was the only way to save the child that is loved. This is an amazing journey of a man and father and family. It took courage and love to write the story and then to have it published and printed for all to read. Every parent should read this book... Especially those who think it could never happen to them. You must read the son's perspective as well and then wrap your head around the entire experience. These books will move you.
Profe More than 1 year ago
It was as if David Sheff had been a fly on the wall in my own home, the way he recounts the conversations he had with his son. They were so like the conversations (yelling matches?) I had with my teenaged son. Poignant, heartbreaking, hopeful. All of the above. Plus, the entire time I was reading, John Lennon's beautiful melody floated through my head.
ubgrad More than 1 year ago
I really liked this book alot, i felt as though he was able to capture his love for his son and addiction in a ways that could make anyone understand the difficulty of loving an addict.
Lockwood More than 1 year ago
This book was such an insight into the web of addiction. I work with juvenile offenders who sometimes have addictions of their own, and to be able to read what parents go through provides an idea of how life must be like for those parents. The decisions David had to make as a parent as far as helping his son were nothing short of dedication and devotion as a parent.
mkgiannos More than 1 year ago
I couldn't put it down, its was sad throughout the book but very well written.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Although this book taught people whom have read it about the struggles and discomfort of a father dealing with his sons addictions and struggles of many  families in this generation, I thought this book was  rather boring, bland, and easy to predict. I say this because it was also quite repetitive as to how Nic would go into rehab, come out, and was back in soon. I did enjoy the book though!! Dont get me wrong. It was just a little bit grey on the color wheel, acceptably given the story. 
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I had to read this book for my English class and wasn't sure if I was going to like it because it wasn't a topic that i could relate to. But the book was so well written that it kept me engaged. It is a great story about compassion, hard times, and family. I really did end up enjoying the book and while it is hard to get past what Nick is going through and the choices that he is making, it was also easy for me to be understanding of what was happening and that is just a testament to David Sheff's writing abilities. Overall it was a great book (although rather repetitive, but then again I guess addiction is repetitive too) and I would highly recommend for anybody and everybody to read it.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This was an amazing book! It was heartbreaking, touching, and emotional.  The overall tone of this book was hopeful which showed a great balance of the good and bad that the family went through. The story of a father being addicted to his own sons addiction is admirable because he never gave up on his son no matter how many relapses  his son went through and how many promises were broken. David Sheff didn't leave out a single detail in this story  he exposed all the good and  the bad moments he and his family went through and more importantly he showed that he cared for Nic so much to never give up hope on his own  son did whatever it took to help Nic get better even though the ride was bumpy and hard for him making him depressed. This book is a good story for anyone to read who has any relation to addiction or knows someone with an addiction because it is a great example to remind you that your not  the only one going through a similar situation  and that there is hope. This book shows that there are other families that go through situations with addiction.  I will read this book and pass it along for others to read who may find it interesting or relatable. 
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book reminded me of a story about a mother, daughter and of all things a rock in the book, "When God Stopped Keeping Score." As a parent, we all want the best for our children, this story is the ultimate tale of a father's love. I'd also recommend that you buy "When God Stopped Keeping Score." an intimate look at the power of God and forgiveness. You will be so glad that you did.
ClarkeBrushett 9 months ago
Beautiful Boy Reviewed by Clarke Brushett Beautiful Boy by David Sheff was a very ensnaring and informative read. The story focuses on the relationship between David and his son, Nic, who struggles with an addiction to crystal meth. The story starts with stories of Nic’s early childhood — or more accurately, David’s first marriage to Nic’s mother — giving us some much needed context for Nic’s future life. Nic was just a normal kid. He loved music and movies; he played sports and hung out with his friends. When he was in seventh grade, David found some pot in Nic’s backpack. While Nic claims that he was only trying it out and had only smoked it one other time, it is later revealed that Nic became a habitual smoker, staying high all the time. This leads him to other drugs, culminating with meth at the age of 18. He was addicted to meth and heroin for ten years, a process which taught Nic and David new things about addiction, rehab, family life of an addict, and most importantly: how to let go as a parent and let your kids find their own place in life. While Nic was on a roller coaster ride of rehab, sobriety, and more drugs, David was worried sick about him. Despite his best efforts, David was never able to “fix” his son. He learned that addiction is a disease that takes a lot of effort by the user to cure. This is an important lesson that this book teaches us. We simply can’t fix others. We’re all individuals who make our own choices. We can be influenced by our helicopter parents or the unwritten rules of society, but ultimately it’s our choice what we do. We have to figure out life by ourselves through the trial and error process. The craziest part of the book is how normal Nic really is. He wasn’t some psycho kid; he wasn’t destructive or angry or any of the things we associate with junkies. He simply lost the genetic lottery, forced to deal with the disease of addiction for the rest of his life in some form. Nic’s story could just as easily been any of our stories. We all search for a way to fill that hole in our life. Nic’s way was meth. This book sheds some light on the fact that addicts are people too. In my opinion, we as a society lose sight of that, blaming addicts for being the way they are. For many addicts, this simply isn’t the case. All in all, Beautiful Boy was an awesome read. David conveys his key ideas effectively, all while baring his heart and soul to the reader. We get to read a real, down-to-earth, human story about a family just as messed up as the rest of us, and I think that's beautiful.
Anonymous 9 months ago
Beautiful Boy Book review assignment Gracelyn Larkin Beautiful Boy is an informative book about a very unfortunate story. David Sheff writes the book from a dad’s point of view about his son, Nic; a young adult who suffers from addiction. David, a father of three and husband lived a very normal life. He has three very smart, well behaved and bright-eyed children. David has a good job and a supportive and caring wife. David had the ideal life until one day everything was turned upside down when he realized that his oldest son had been introduced to the dangerous world of drugs and addiction. David realizes that Nic, at a young and vulnerable age, begins to experiment with a few different types of narcotics. At first he tries simply “harmless” substances -- weed and alcohol are normalized because every teeneger would eventually try them with their friends on a Friday night. But eventually, those substances just didn’t cut it anymore, leading Nic to try a drug that would have him hooked for life — meth. Nic began to go on day-long benders, leaving all of his loved ones curious, scared and fearing for his life. Eventually, after continuous pain, worry and fear that Nic inflicted on his family, he entered into his first rehab centre where he came out clean for a couple days but then spirals out of control again. Nic continues this vicious cycle that puts him back into the same position that he was in before several times but gets him sober a little bit longer than the time before. Eventually Nic’s was able to realize that he would not be able to continue down this path for much longer before he was risking his life. Nic was able to acknowledge that his addiction was something that he could no longer feed much like his fathers addiction to his addiction. The constant roller coaster of addiction, being clean and then relapsing caused them both so much pain and grief that they both realized closer to the end of the book they could no longer continue down those toxic paths. I think this book is a very informative, raw, emotional book that should be read by anyone that suffers from having a loved one with an addiction or someone with an addiction themselves. I think it will give people some understanding of how hard it is to love someone who is an addict and will help people understand the constant pain and fear. This book should be read by anyone that would enjoy reading about very emotional and sensitive content.
Anonymous 9 months ago
The Love Trap Reviewed by Hayleigh McLure Beautiful Boy is scary. I don’t know how to explain the emotions I felt flipping through the pages of the thin paperback novel at my English teacher’s request, but I’m sure no one does. David Sheff’s memoir makes you think about possibilities you wouldn’t otherwise think of — things that “could never happen to my kid.” It makes you cherish the moments you have, and the people you love. David Sheff shares with us that in, what seems like, a split second everything can change. David makes us feel the pain and suffering he has felt as a result of his son, Nic Sheff’s, addiction to methamphetamine. He makes us scared for the future because addiction is not something you can control. It’s not something you can necessarily prevent because it’s a disease. It’s something that could affect your loved ones life, or could not. David became addicted to Nic’s addiction — but, can you blame him? I mean how could you watch your son destroy his life and not become engulfed in trying to save him? The love between a parent and a child is something that no one can understand unless you are that parent and that child. It is something that is so complicated yet, so beautiful. Through David’s journey we learn that he has three children, Jasper, Daisy and of course Nic. During one of Nic’s benders, he stole money from Jasper — eight dollars he stole from his brothers piggy bank. How do you tell your young son that his brother stole his money for drugs, but don’t worry he loves you? As a reader you think that would be it, no more Nic. But David can’t seem to let go. David had an addiction as well as his son. As every professional says, most addicts need to hit rock bottom before realizing they have an issue and need to seek help. Thankfully this happened with both David and Nic. When Nic reached rock bottom he finally understood he needed help for his addiction and it was now out of his control. David hit rock bottom and realized that Nic will find his way regardless of what he does, and that David needs to live his life for himself. Even though this book could be seen as one for addicts, or families of addicts, I believe it is a book everyone should read. It makes you think a little more before you act and helps you understand what others are going through.
Anonymous 9 months ago
Addiction affects everyone. We all know something in our life that we can say we're addicted to. This addiction doesn’t have to be bad. Most of us are addicted to things that enlighten and expand our life like studying, reading, yoga; but for others, the dark side of addiction has taken over. Certain things like drugs and alcohol hold a death grip on people for life. Only the lucky ones who get the help they needed in time recover. Even then, breaking an addiction is never a guarantee. In David Sheff’s memoir about his young son struggling with meth addiction My Beautiful Boy, shows readers the true evil in addiction. For David, addiction took hold of his own son and he felt completely helpless. Nic’s addiction to meth was by no means his father's fault. In many families with addicted children, parents have a tendency to feel guilty about the state of their children thinking they caused it. In My Beautiful Boy, David has a hard time coping with his son’s addiction. Growing up Nic was just your average kid. Nice, generous, and intelligent. Anyone you talked to about Nic said that he has great potential. Somehow along the way, Nic got lost. David was surprised to find pot in Nics bag when he was only 12. Hoping it was a one-time thing, David gave Nic his consequence but didn’t reassess the situation. As the years went on, Nic managed to become an alcoholic, and meth addicted right behind his parents' backs. Nic always said there was something missing from his life, an empty void that couldn't be filled. When Nic tried Meth for the first time, it was the best he’s ever felt in his life. Rushing him with feelings of euphoria and serotonin. From that moment on, Nic was an addict. Everything about his life went downhill once he tried meth. His relationship with his parents, his academics, and his own rational decisions disappeared. All Nic was worried about was getting his next fix. Addicts don’t choose to live this way. As I learned in the book, addiction is a mental illness, not just someone choosing to ruin their own life. As David says in the book, that person addicted to meth isn’t his son. It’s the illness making irrational decisions, that he knows his son normally wouldn’t do. It takes someone strong like David to keep hope for addicts. Giving up on the addicts would mean death for them. Without those special people looking out for the addicts, the ones who truly care about their well being, then they would never get the help they need, never recover, and never have a chance at a normal life again. I would recommend My Beautiful Boy to any young adult/adult. It is filled with great writing and powerful lessons that you can apply to your own life. The story of Nic’s rehabilitation is moving. It shows us how many times one person can get knocked down, hit rock bottom, but eventually, recover for good. This book is packed with emotion, love, and compassion that catches the reader as they turn each page. The story about the beautiful boy is truely beautiful.
abbytops 9 months ago
Nic had only been in the world just over a decade before he started experimenting with drugs and alcohol. After that first hit, he constantly searched for that same high; time after time he uses anything he can get his hands on in attempt to fill a hole he’s always been trying to fill. His drug of choice you ask? Meth. This novel is about a beautiful boy who struggles with addiction, rehab, relapse and mental health. But it’s not. This novel is really David Sheff’s — Nic’s father — take on how Nic’s addiction affected him and the rest of his family. Sheff gives insight (or as much as a struggling father can offer) on what it’s actually like to be the father of an addict. The sleepless nights, staying up waiting for a phone call from the police, Nic, or a friend saying his son is arrested, missing or dead. Trying to balance Nic and his other two kids, a wife, a job, pets, running a household, having and enjoying his own life. Asking himself every time he speaks or sees his son if he’s high, or how long will this clean stint last? Nic is on a never-ending journey. He will be an addict for the rest of his life, struggling every day choosing between taking a hit or not. But David admits, he’s an addict too. David’s way of coping with Nic was writing this novel. From beginning to end he undergoes a transformation that any parent would think impossible. This book is about David, his struggles with not only his son’s addiction but his own addiction to his son. It’s about learning how to let go of the tight hold so many parents want to keep on their children, and realize they are going to live their life the way they want, whether parents agree with their choices or not. I would 100% recommend this book to anyone that is a loving, caring, and present parent. I think I’d also recommend this book to anyone struggling with life-altering trauma, as it isn’t just about addiction; it’s about pain and beauty and hope and faith. The hope to see the finish line is what will make you keep the pages turning, the in-between steps are what makes you wanna shut the book and scream then hug your children.
Anonymous 9 months ago
Beautiful Boy is a roller coaster of emotions; it’s heart-wrenching, terrifying, yet a beautiful story. David Sheff writes about the pain and suffering their whole family experienced throughout Nic’s benders, rehab, and relapses. He tells us how hard it is to hold onto those memories of his beautiful boy, and keep hope that someday he will emerge again. The more you read, the more pain you feel for the strained relationship between Nic and his family. Addiction tears people apart and makes them unrecognizable; something many people don’t understand. Parents want nothing more than to raise their child to be successful, happy, and safe. It’s statistically proven that a child of divorced parents is more likely to turn to drug and alcohol use as an outlet. When Vicki and David divorce, Nic was the middle man, travelling between San Francisco and Los Angeles to spend time with both of them. At is 5 years old, he starts to fly on his own and he is forced to be independent at a very young age. But otherwise, he is a bright little boy who loves Star Wars, Superman, and who writes Disney and Pixar movie reviews. His teachers write promising things on his report card and, “ Wonder at the gifts he will undoubtedly bring to the world.” ( Sheff 37) It’s when Nic ventures into high school he begins dabbling in the world of drugs and alcohol, as most teenagers do. David discovers this when he finds a ziploc bag containing marijuana, in Nic’s backpack. David reminisces of his high school and post-secondary days when he began using. He shares these stories and begins to wonder where he could’ve gone wrong in his parenting to cause Nic to want to escape the world — through drugs. Nic and David seem to have a very good relationship, and Nic respects his father tremendously. It would be so much easier to place blame on something or someone, and then be able to fix it. Addiction however, is no ones fault, and there is no cure. Nic begins chasing highs. When marijuana isn’t enough, he finds methamphetamine. David says earlier in the novel that, “Nic has antennae that detect, before most kids, upcoming waves of popular culture.” This also included finding methamphetamine, before it was found to be the most harmful and most difficult drug to stop using. Nic isn’t the only one who has an addiction. David is addicted to Nic’s addiction. After countless rehab runouts, relapses, and reconnections, David begins to understand there is no one to blame: not himself, not Nic, not Vicki or their parenting. What’s more important than blame, is moving forward and believing. Believing that Nic will be sober, that Jasper and Daisy will have a relationship with their brother, that the relationship Karen and Nic built will not keep crumbling. “You didn’t cause it, you can’t control it, and you can’t cure it.” (Sheff 174). This addiction will be an ongoing battle for the Sheff family, for the rest of Nic’s life. It takes every ounce of energy from each party.
meghan-steele 9 months ago
It’s Grey, Not Black and White Whoever thought that their lives could change drastically in just one moment? With just one inhale? With just one puff? David Sheff’s Beautiful Boy is an insightful and beautifully written memoir about his journey with his son's addiction. The purpose of writing this book was to share his story so others might learn from his experiences. But I think what happened along the way was an opportunity for David to grieve, accept, and heal. David evaluates and shares his struggle with his son, Nic’s, addiction to meth. David shares how this affected him, his family, and how they coped through it all. This book reveals the timeline of David and his family members’ lives. The story starts when Nic was born and covers the many challenges he had along the way. We see Nic starting to go down the wrong road. David later welcomed two younger children, Jasper and Daisy. When the younger children were born David, at the time, had no clue Nic was in trouble. This book reflects how Nic’s addiction affected the whole family, and how Nic had to make up for what he lost and jeopardized. This book nicely demonstrates how we live in a complicated world full of grey, not black and white. This book is insightful, and captivating, especially if you’ve been affected by addiction — and even if you haven't. At times I struggled reading this book because of the writing style that Sheff uses. You really need to focus and concentrate. I found at times there were unneeded details mentioned. It seems clear that Sheff’s intention was to share his story not simply to make something big of this book. It was how David coped, through this process. It let him get his story out in the open for the public eye to see. The book lets other people know we are not alone; we are all somehow struggling. It’s fair to say that the goal of publishing this book was achieved. David has shared his story with others that are suffering who need help to heal. Along with that I’d argue David did some healing as well. The intended audience is an older youth group; some of the content in the book is sensitive and triggering for certain readers. You have to read this book in the right mindset, and wait it out. At first it can be dull, but it gets better, leaving you on the edge of your seat. I would recommend this to other readers. It is a true, heartbreaking, powerful book. Even if you can’t relate I guarantee you will still walk away with a different perspective.
Anonymous 9 months ago
Learning How to Let Go Reviewed by Cassidy Doucette Beautiful Boy is a not-so-beautiful story about a boy addicted to meth. David Sheff wrote his story about his son, and their experiences together dealing with Nic’s addiction. David is a regular dad — loving, caring, worried and trying to protect his kids from the things in the world that could hurt them. But, he’s unable to see his own faults — David blames himself for Nic’s addiction. The memoir takes you through David’s journey of denial, pain, anger and his struggle to forgive himself. This book is real. It demonstrates raw addiction and how hard it is to love someone who is struggling to fight against themselves. If you want a clean happy ending, this book isn’t for you. David did a good job of showing how trying to fight an addiction hurts everyone around the person who’s an addict. They get vicious and unrecognizable with their actions. It’s not pretty, or easy. After reading this book I realized that being an addict is a disease, not self-inflicted. In attempts to get clean, Nic went to rehab and we had hope for him to stay clean, but then he relapsed; this happens more than once. When he relapsed it made me frustrated, annoyed and made me think here we go again — but that’s how it feels to be supporting an addict; there’s always a constant up and down of hope and let-down. It’s easy to sympathize with Nic and feel his frustration. I didn’t know how hard it was to stop using drugs; this book really opens your eyes to the long and hard process it is to get clean. Before reading this book I was oblivious to the world of drug addicts. I always thought that addicts were sketchy people who had mental health problems and that’s how they ended up using drugs. But there are no stereotypes when it comes to addicts — people like doctors, lawyers, parents and all different kinds of people are addicts. Much like Nic, an intelligent young boy with tons of talent and opportunity; addicts are people you wouldn’t expect. I’m a 18-year-old girl in high school so I can’t relate to this book — I’m not a parent, I don't know how it feels to be willing to go to the end of the earth for someone else, to put myself aside and put everything I have into another person. That being said, this book would be perfect for a parent that is struggling to let go of their children. I think the book teaches a valuable lesson that parents often have a hard time learning: you can give your children values, love and direction, but you can’t change their nature. As a parent you can’t save them from failure or push them into success — they do it own their own.
Courtney Moore 10 months ago
Addicted to Addiction Reviewed by Courtney Moore David Sheff’s Beautiful Boy follows a father on his journey to understanding his son’s addiction to methamphetamine. Not only does David’s son, Nic, deal with an addiction, David himself struggles throughout the book with his own addiction. He’s addicted to his son’s addiction. Because Sheff struggles with the idea that his beautiful boy has a disease he can’t kick, the book is extremely emotional. Along the journey we read about his son, Nic’s, drug of choice — methamphetamine. Sheff helps the readers understand the strength of addiction. The book takes you on the emotional journey that Sheff and his family endured for over a decade. At the beginning of the book Sheff is overly descriptive, emphasizing the idea that Nic is this “perfect” kid who has everything going for him. He makes sure it’s blatantly clear that Nic is a good kid, gets good grades, he’s got great interpersonal skills, everything, and he became an addict; don’t underestimate any kind of drug or their power to take someone’s life. Nic isn’t himself when he’s high; it’s like high Nic and sober Nic are completely different people. That’s what drugs do. That’s what Nic’s drug of choice does to him. I find the beginning slow and too descriptive, although I completely understand the motive behind it, and think that the way he wrote the entire book was brilliant. Once we found out about Nic’s disappearances, and his run-ins with the law, it started to pick up a bit more. Sheff began giving facts about meth, and about addiction in general. We follow Nic and David through multiple colleges, experiments with drugs, rehabs and ultimately relapses. At times it’s hard to read, it’s sad, it might make your stomach turn and sometimes, it’s even frustrating. But if you take the time to read the whole book, you’ll learn at least one thing, whether it’s a fact about some sort of drug, or about addiction. This book doesn’t hide anything from the reader; it shows you pain, frustration, anger, sadness and at times it even slightly glorifies meth. Sheff doesn’t hide the fact that drugs make you feel great and they take the pain away, but he counters himself with facts about your body and how you’re rapidly ruining your life when you’re constantly chasing a high. He also gives real-life experiences about Nic’s theft and his disappearances that would last days, even weeks, and the stress David dealt with not knowing where his son was and not knowing if he was even alive. I have a love-hate relationship with this book. I wouldn’t read it again because the entire time I was reading it I wanted it to be over. But when I was done reading the book, I gained such an appreciation for it; I have a completely different outlook on addiction and I learned a lot about drugs, their history and the impacts they have on individuals as well as their families. This book wasn’t something that I’d reach for, and it wasn’t something I loved reading, but I’d say give it a try for yourself because it’s beautifully written. I’d also strongly recommend this book to someone with an addicted loved one; know that there are others out there struggling with the same pain, sadness, anger and frustration.
Anonymous 10 months ago
Emotionally Beautiful Reviewed by Alexis Zylstra Beautiful Boy is a memoir written by David Sheff that really plays with your emotions, but it still pulls you in and makes you wanna keep reading to find out what happens. It opens up discussion about something people don’t usually talk about: addiction. Sheff’s story is universal, but the book could be seen as one of a kind because not many people that go through the same things as the Sheff family aren’t willing to tell their story to the whole world to criticize. The book is about how the Sheff family dealt with and still deals with, their son’s addiction to meth. The book was written over many years, and tells the story. Dealing with their son’s addiction to methamphetamine, his struggles with recovery, also the effects that Nics addiction had on his family and friends, mainly David. One of the more surprising reveals of the book is how David became addicted to his son’s addiction. While reading the book at times I personally thought David was a little too descriptive and had details in the book that didn’t need to be there. Other than that this writing was clean and has a good flow and keeps the reader engaged. Throughout the whole book David had facts about meth and what it does to users. It also retells the conversations that he had with specialists, therapist and doctors while going through Nic’s addiction. This made the book more interesting, knowing what I’m reading isn’t just a bunch of BS that someone came up with. David Sheff wrote the book to help others in the same situation as him. But also to help him through what he was going through. David wrote the book to tell his story, because after he wrote an article in the New York Times about their story he got many calls, emails and people coming up to him in the street and telling him about their stories. The main topic of the book is obviously the struggles that the family goes through with Nic’s addiction, but David also wants to make it clear that if you have a son, daughter, friend, or anyone close to you that is an addict you need to keep balance in your life. Balance between your life and the addicts. We learn through Davids journey he had to learn this the hard way. He became an addict to his son's addiction and his whole life was about Nic. The book also allows him to share his story to let other people know what he did even though he makes it clear that what he did with Nic isn’t going to work for every addict because everyone is different. Reading this book really made me open my eyes toward the stereotype of drug addicts. In the book David talks about how addiction is a disease. I’ve never thought of addiction to drugs in that sense. I’m still not sure I’m sold on the idea, but the book did force me to think about it. It offered me a different perspective which is interesting. Reading the book made me feel lots of different emotions; happy when Nic would be sober for an amount of time, sadness, anger, frustration when Nic would relapse or do something bad to his family or friends. But the book mainly made me feel uncomfortable, in the sense that at parts it was hard for me to read. The uncertainty and not knowing was hard to read, not knowing if Nic was going to stay sober or if he was going to do something and not come back from it. Even though I know Nic is still alive and sober to this day, it still was hard to read about the things he did when he was high. Good read