David Sanchez has written an important, compelling, disturbing, sympathetic and at times infuriating novel about addiction. It is written from the perspective and random thoughts of protagonist David, who at fourteen tries crack for the first time. It reads like a dream and reminds us always of Davids humanity, as he steals from family, becomes more and more isolated, ends up on the street, spends time in jail, halfheartedly tries to meet probation requirements while always thinking about drugs. Meth. Cocaine. In flashes we see his middle class childhood, the youngest of five children, his love of reading that continues for awhile in the library where he can find relief from Florida heat. But even that devolves into watching porn at the library computers. He feels worthless. He thinks he is stupid. Every word he writes and every thought he has shows he is far from stupid. He is, however, as stuck as anyone in addiction can get and rock bottom does not lead him toward redemption. He reconnects with a man who enabled much of his behavior and used him as a teenager, and that man is now sober. David believes that when people like this get sober, it is a stage and relapse is inevitable. And many of the people that pass through his drug addicted life prove that point. He has periods of sobriety, but no attachment to the idea of sobriety. And then, after years of estrangement from family and living an isolated life on the streets, he takes the first committed step toward sobriety. This book is so beautifully written and tells us so much about the human condition, how each of us struggle, drugs or no drugs. It is not judgmental, although David judges himself and so does everyone around him. It is just a very true story where the ending is necessarily a question mark but a person achieves tremendous progress in caring about himself and making hard choices to change.
Published by Emily Leader
I have been an avid reader since Dick and Jane met Sally. At age 7, I read my parents' first edition of "To Kill a Mockingbird." I am a retired lawyer and so read almost only fiction for pleasure. I'm adding in nonfiction these days, largely on social justice matters but also history, biography, and weird topics that catch my imagination. I used to read only serially, one book at a time. Presently, I read paperbacks, hardcovers, listen to audible, listen to CDs and read online through Net Galley. Covid-19 has caused me to read a lot so I have re-upped my Goodreads challenge for 2021 and am starting to review at least my favorite finds annd, perhaps, some stinkers. View all posts by Emily Leader