Drugs (Paperback)

By J. R. Helton

Seven Stories Press, 9781609804015, 251pp.

Publication Date: May 22, 2012



A modern homage to William S. Burrough's classic "Junky," the new novel "Drugs" is the sparse, beautifully unassuming account of one man's life of drug use.
As Robert Crumb, who illustrated the book jacket, says,
"J. R. Helton really speaks to me--starkly honest, darkly funny, acutely observant, and captures the tragic absurdity of human life. . . . H]e's right up there with the best of them."
This fictionalized memoir is told in masterfully wry, Spartan prose with no apologies for a drug-user's lifestyle, and instead looks back on it with clever insight and an appreciation for everything felt and observed. With self-awareness and conviction, Helton avoids the sensationalist commentary so common to drug memoirs and instead favors the honest details, the effects of each drug on his body and on his soul. The result is a sincerely told tale of adventure, debauchery, and absurdity.

About the Author

J. R. HELTON's first novel "Drugs," a modern homage to William S. Burroughs's classic "Junky," introduced the world to his wry writing and unique genre of fictionalized memoir. A professor of writing at the collegiate level, Helton has also published two memoirs and a number of short stories--for one of which he won an Honorable Mention Pushcart Prize--and poems in such literary magazines as the "Sun," the "Missouri Review," and "Mineshaft." He lives, writes, and teaches in Texas.

Praise For Drugs

“This guy Helton could be the next Bukowski.”
—Terry Zwigoff, director of Crumb and Ghost World
“J. R. Helton really speaks to me—starkly honest, darkly funny, acutely observant,
and captures the tragic absurdity of human life. . . . [H]e’s right up there with the
best of them.” —Robert Crumb
“Helton . . . writes with passion, clarity, and fairness.”
—Harvey Pekar, author of American Splendor
“Just when you think there’s nothing to new to say about drugs, Drugs marches out
whole new ways to fuck up your brain, your life, and basically anyone insane or
unlucky enough to cross your path. This is a truly riveting, mind-altering read,
not to be missed.”
—Jerry Stahl, author of Permanent Midnight

“Appearances can be deceiving—JR Helton’s wonderful book is not so much about “Drugs” as it is about growing up in America as viewed through the prism of our national past-time. Funny and poignant, Helton has delivered a book that would make Mark Twain proud—it’s hilarious, true and subversive—a perfect piece of modern American writing.”—Tony O'Neill author of Down and Out on Murder Mile and Sick City

“For three days straight, I did Drugs. The straightforward matter-of-fact prose — reminiscent of William S. Burroughs’ classic memoir Junky — latched onto my brain and wouldn’t let go until the final page.”
Broken Pencil