On to novel #2, Bad News, in which Patrick has grown into a drug addicted young adult and visits New York, where his father has died and to which he is dispatched to see about his cremation — a rather odd choice in light of his father’s dreadful abuse, and a doomed errand in any case since his main talent is to spend prodigious amounts of family money in search of the perfect drug experience. So instead of an idealized Provence we get the grimy underbelly of New York in the bad years, and lengthy, boring descriptions of drug trips. I rather preferred the stereotyped France to this.
Tag Archives: drugs
Another adventure in drugged-out New Yorkers and another failure… Toxicology honestly advertises the topic right in the title, and it’s an equal opportunity parade of drugs of all types, for all ages and marital statuses. Inane dialogs and detailed descriptions of minute actions don’t help.
Cocaine’s Son tells the story of the author’s father, who is a wealthy fur trader as well as a recovered cocaine addict. Because his dad recovered, and because he was able to keep working, mostly, throughout his addicted years, the story is not all doom and gloom and it reads more like a family story than an addiction memoir. Fair enough, but I felt there was not much of a story after all, despite the drama. The dad has some large problems, but he is also quite lovable. The grandfather seems to have treated his son very harshly, but few additional details are given. The mom kept the family together, but again the story goes no further. So we are left with the son, who seems overly concerned with controlling every aspect of his dad’s behavior. Who cares if he makes inappropriate demands of receptionists? Let him be, now that the larger issues are under control.
Methland is the astonishing story of a small town in Iowa with a super-size meth problem. The author introduces us to a remarkable businesswoman, who unfortunately peddles drugs, the town’s doctor who has an alcohol problem (I guess it’s good it’s not meth!), assorted addicts who mess up their lives and often blow up their houses making meth, and another remarkable character, the mayor, who manages to pull the town away from the death spiral by doggedly improving the infrastructure (library, anyone?) and attracting businesses to the town. He also tells the larger story of how unemployment created a vacuum for drug use and especially drug manufacturing, how the hapless US government missed its chance (twice!) to regulate the chemicals needed to manufacture meth), and how immigration patterns are used by traffickers to grow the business. I can’t quite agree that all these addicts had nothing to do with regulating their own behavior, but the larger picture is stark.
Skip the entirely irrelevant story of his revisiting his dad’s hometown — and arm yourself with fortitude: the world of meth is not pretty!
Great book! With echoes of The Little Giant from Aberdeen County, Border Songs tells the story of a tall, dislexic, Asperger’s suffering border agent who lives with his parents, pines for the girl over the border in Canada, works as a border patrol agent, and lives to birdwatch, which brings him to out of the way locations where he finds a steady stream of immigrants and drug smugglers. Brandon is sweet, misunderstood by most, except his mom who is drowning into Alzheimer’s, and cares so little for his career successes that he readily quits when his dad falls ill and he needs to take over the dairy farm.
The story includes unlikely adventures and crazy characters entwined in a small-town community where everyone thinks they know everyone else’s business — but who knew what the scoool pricinpal was up to? A wonderfully gentle book that reminded me of The Story of Edgar Sawtelle, probably because of the same theme of parents’ love for their children.
Perhaps I should carefully consider subtitles when selecting books to read. The subtitle for My Booky Wook is “A Memoir of Sex, Drugs, and Stand-Up” and there’s plenty of sex and drugs, boring, repetitive, and degrading, and very little stand-up comedy in the book. The best part is the beginning of the memoir, when he was still sober — and unfortunately afflicted by an absent father, a very ill mother, and a difficult stepfather (or several.) It all goes downhill starting at age 16 or so, so the major part of the book describes how an obviously talented performer can sink into a very sad gutter, unless rehab works out?
Home Girl opens as an unexpectedly clueless New York native, hardened by years of a career as a worldwide journalist in the toughest locales, buys a house in need of prodigious TLC (think new electrical and plumbing systems and new walls and ceilings) without realizing, she says, that it’s located at the then-epicenter of cocaine trade in New York city. If you thought remodeling was tough think about having to negotiate with the drug dealers who use your doorsteps as their workplace not to use them as their toilet…
She makes peace or at least creates a mutual understanding with the dealers, learns about their roots in the Dominican Republic, works secretly with the police and her neighbors to oust the drug trade, and discovers that the tough dealers become touchingly protective when she becomes pregnant and especially with her baby son. And yes, she also rehabs the house with her husband, who is Dutch and happily grouses about silly American customs like paying for nursery school while bicycling all over the city (she does not say, but I hope on a big black Dutch bike.)
I enjoyed this book very much for its interesting point of view on gentrification and for the many colorful characters it depicts, including the Latin-quoting basement squatter across the street and the courtly neighbor who deplores the flower-destroying drug dealers at the beginning of the story as much as the flower-destroying contractors at the end of it.