The story is enough.

The story is enough.

Monday, June 27, 2016

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

This review can also be found at the Canon City Daily Record.

Yard sale season is in full swing and you can find numerous treasures and delights. Tupperware canisters just like your grandmother had, the exact right size light fixture for the bathroom, and the perfect pitchfork for - well, you know... But there are also books - lots of books.

"Beautiful Boy: A Father's Journey through His Son's Addiction" is one I found this summer. Published in 2008, David Sheff's book became an instant bestseller and Entertainment Weekly's Best Nonfiction Book of the Year. It is the raw and vulnerable memoir of a father's unconditional love, receiving high praise from Anne Lammott and Mary Pipher.

What causes a child to try drugs? Divorce? Remarriage? Illness? Parents' experimentation in their youth? Finances? Opportunity?

What causes a child to become addicted to drugs? To steal, lie, and hide? Who does your child become when they are addicted to meth? Can they ever escape? And what does a parent do when "everything in their power" doesn't seem enough?

David Sheff opens his heartbreak to us - sharing with humility and candor the long road of loving a child in, and through, his addiction. He tells us with intimate detail his own private experience, welcoming us into his home, family, and his own sense of frailty and inadequacy. Sheff writes about his son's light and humor and brilliance before meth commandeered him. Weaving through this tale are threads of the red flags - hot spots - he wished he had attended to earlier, especially since they might have led to his son's decision to experiment and, ultimately, fall victim to addiction. Sheff examines his own past drug experimentation, his divorce from Nic's mother, and the science behind addiction and recovery.

Sheff's love for his oldest, his desire to rescue him from desperation, and his analytical mind seek for answers while also searching for healing. How to help his son becomes an obsession that does not allow him to rest or relax for years at a time. Al-Anon, therapy, and addressing codependency are all helps, leaving him with the feeling that, though this excruciating pain is hard to describe and convey, it needs to be shared. There is comfort in sharing and in hearing the stories of others who have walked the same road. There are tears, yet there are also smiles and answered prayers.

I was surprised by the depth and sheer humanity of this riveting memoir. I could not put it down...

Out there, this summer, is a book in a yard sale box or on a book sale table waiting for you to come and be pleasantly surprised as well.

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