A Father's Journey Through His Son's Addiction
By David Sheff
(Mariner Books, Paperback, 9780547203881, 340pp.)
Publication Date: January 2009
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What had happened to my beautiful boy? To our family? What did I do wrong? Those are the wrenching questions that haunted every moment of David Sheff’s journey through his son Nic’s addiction to drugs and tentative steps toward recovery. Before Nic Sheff became addicted to crystal meth, he was a charming boy, joyous and funny, a varsity athlete and honor student adored by his two younger siblings. After meth, he was a trembling wraith who lied, stole, and lived on the streets. David Sheff traces the first subtle warning signs: the denial, the 3 A.M. phone calls (is it Nic? the police? the hospital?), the rehabs. His preoccupation with Nic became an addiction in itself, and the obsessive worry and stress took a tremendous toll. But as a journalist, he instinctively researched every avenue of treatment that might save his son and refused to give up on Nic.
Beautiful Boy is a fiercely candid memoir that brings immediacy to the emotional rollercoaster of loving a child who seems beyond help.
David Sheff's articles and interviews have appeared in Playboy, The New York Times Magazine, Rolling Stone, Wired, Outside, Forbes ASAP, The Los Angeles Times Magazine, Esquire and Observer Magazine in England, Foreign Literature in Russia and Playboy (Shueisha) in Japan. He is currently on assignment for Fortune and Vanity Fair. His book, Game Over, was published by Random House in the United States and Hodder and Stoughton in Great Britain as well as in Japan, Germany, France, Italy, Brazil, Israel, and other countries. Vintage published the paperback edition in 1993. The book, reissued in 1999 with a new introduction, was universally praised by reviewers for Time, Newsweek, Fortune, Forbes, USA Today, The New York Review of Books, and hundreds of domestic and international magazines and newspapers. The New York Times called it "beguiling" and "irresistible. . . almost as hypnotic as a successful video game." The Houston Chronicle said, "This book is a must-read. Game Over is about as readable as a business book can be." The Chicago Tribune called it "A cross between Barbarians at the Gate and The Soul of the New Machine."
The Playboy Interviews with John Lennon and Yoko Ono, conducted in 1980, became a Literary Guild Selection book. Other interviews, including those with Ansel Adams, nuclear physicist Ted Taylor, Gore Vidal, Steve Jobs, Tom Hanks, Sting, Scott Peck, Betty Friedan, and Keith Haring, received wide recognition, as did his "Portrait of a Generation" in Rolling Stone. His radio documentaries for National Public Radio on John Steinbeck's The Grapes of Wrath and Harper Lee's To Kill a Mockingbird won several awards. He also wrote and edited "Heart Play: Unfinished Dialogue," which won a Grammy Award nomination for Best Spoken Word Recording of 1984.
Sheff is currently a contributing editor of Playboy, Wired, and Yahoo! Internet Life and is on assignment for Fortune and Vanity Fair. He was formerly an editor of New West and California magazines..
He attended the University of California at Berkeley, where he received a degree in social science. He lives in San Francisco, California with his wife and three children.
- In the New York Times Book Review, Janet Maslin wrote, "Addiction is a compulsion to do the same thing over and over, despite knowing that the outcome will almost certainly be the same. Addiction memoirs often illustrate this same definition of insanity…Yet the genre itself remains so addictive that readers keep hoping to discover something new." Why are addiction memoirs so addictive? Why were you drawn to this one?