This is such a heart wrenching book to read. From start to end, even in those pages about the very bad moments when it seems all the love should be drained out and emptied because of the hurt and frustration, David’s love for his son shines through on the pages. You read a lot about addiction but people forget that the families of addicts and alcoholics go through a lot too, and I appreciate being able to read such a well-written account of what their family went through together.
The tone of the whole book sounds like a parent thinking aloud. Memories go back and forth. You get the sense that the writer is showing his favorite memories of his son, not the big moments but the small moments that show who he was and is. He also falls into cycles of putting his guilt into words and then rationalizing his actions. I can only imagine the debilitating guilt that parents of addicts feel, and how it’s hard to recognize where their shortcomings as parents end and their children’s personal choice begins.
The author includes a lot of useful information in understanding the insidious nature of addiction in between recollections of Nic’s childhood and his cycles of recovery and relapse.
Overall, there are a few things in the book that I don’t particularly like (such as the excessive rationalization of his parenting) but if I take the book as a whole, I really like it. It reads like a gift because I can understand how difficult it must have been to write and to share with the world. I think it’s beautifully written.
I read Nic Sheff’s book Tweak after I finished reading this one, where he writes about his addiction, relapses and recoveries from his point of view. I’ll write a separate review for that soon.