Monday, July 8, 2013

White Out: The Secret Life of Heroin, by Michael W. Clune

Michael will never forget his first time, the first time he tried heroin.  Even if it was not the most pleasant experience at times, it is a memory that he has loved to the point of romanticizing it.  White is the color that overtakes his memories, all because of his draw to the whiteness of heroin.  He has tried to kick his addiction so many times, but he is always pulled back, the drug drawing him in with its siren song.

While I have never had any addictions of my own, I have know several addicts over the years, people dependent upon various substances or habits.  Addiction, to me, is very difficult to comprehend.  I am a bit of a control freak when it comes to my body and my life, so the idea of giving up control to something like drugs or alcohol is mystifying for me.  I read books like this one, seeking to understand just what it is that draws people into addiction, why people willingly give up control.  Books like this one are not easy, or pleasant to read, but to me, they are fascinating.  Call it morbid curiosity on my part.

I comment the author for being so frank with his account of life inside of heroin addiction.  There is nothing pretty about the picture he paints, nothing glamorous.  It has a sort of gallows humor quality, in that I found myself chuckling a lot of the time, but mostly to get past my own discomfort.  I think the fact that the author is such an intelligent man, yet still gets caught up in addiction, serves as a warning to us all, a moment of "there but by the grace of God go I", and that alone gives the book merit.

The writing is difficult to digest, as well it should be.  It does read a bit like a stream of consciousness most of the time, but I feel like that is probably an incredibly accurate portrayal of the way an addict's thoughts unravel while in the throes of the addiction.  This book is not a light read, it is dark, disturbing, and at times disgusting.  But it is a worthwhile read for anyone who wants an honest account of what addiction is like.

I received  review copy courtesy of TLC Book Tours in exchange for my honest review.  See the rest of the tour here.

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