As a high school librarian, I've had a couple kids ask for the book. Do you think the book is appropriate for high school-aged readers? Is the drug use glamorized or does the book really take a cautionary stance? Is it really graphic as far as drug use, sex and language. Any thoughts would be appreciated.
For a high school? I'm not sure. The book does indeed take a cautionary stance, but it's a diary and because of that the entries themselves are written from the perspective of someone who is revelling in his own debauchery. There is a decent amount of foul language and while there isn't really anything in the way of pornography, there is a lot of references to casual sexual encounters. The book is about the drug use, so you're really not going to get away from that.
As far as the message goes, in every one of Sixx's commentaries, he is completely on the side of being clean and sober and "don't try this at home, kids," but even with that I think appreciating it is a matter of a person's personal maturity.
Basically, there might be some high school students mature enough to appreciate and understand this book, but there are also going to be those who completely miss the message and be immature about it. It's a toss up. Part of me thinks it would be a shame for these kids to miss out on something potentially enlightening, but another part of me thinks they're minors and their parents, not their school librarian, should be making the judgement call as to whether or not they should be allowed to read this.
I'd highly recommend it at the college level, though, and really, I think these kids could wait until then to experience it and not suffer.
I absolutely agree with T. LaPonte's thoughts on this. It would be a great book to show them how horrible drugs like heroin can be. However, it is rather graphic in regards to the drug use, and I'd be afraid someone, on the more immature side, might take those references and attempt to try it at home themselves.
I really believe allowing a high school aged teenager to read this should be entirely up to that individual's parent.
I am a professional who has, in part, worked in the field of alcohol and other drug addiction. The message of this book is definitely NOT glamorization, in any way, of drug use and abuse. It is a raw, brutally honest account of what it's like to live the life of an addict. We exist in a time when children UNDER high school age are becoming involved with drug use. The book does have graphic language and accounts of sexual activity. I would imagine that there are parents who would object to their child reading such a work. That being said, perhaps there is a way for the school to address students having access to this book; perhaps with parental permission? Better yet, what about having the book as reading material for health class with an instructor facilitating discussion among the students as to what was presented in the book? Waiting for students to reach college could be too late. Ideally, of course, parents need to take responsibility for educating their children. But we don't live in an ideal world and young people's lives are at stake. In his book, Mr. Sixx states that his reason for publishing these diaries was in the hopes of preventing others from going down the path he traveled.
I've been a fan of Nikki Sixx since 1983 (8th gd) and, thinking back, I feel this would have been an eye-opening read for me back then. Had I known what he was doing, it would have taken away the pedestal my teenage mind put him on. The drug use is graphic and ugly, but meant for education, not imitation. The sex and language are not focal points, but simply part of the actual diary entries.
My husband and I bought 3 copies to take to the book signing and one of those is for my 12 yr old daughter who wanted to meet Nikki. She held it, he signed it, I took it away. I don't think she's ready for something that disturbing, but I could be wrong. She'll probably get the book back in a couple of years though.
My best advice is for you is to read "The Heroin Diaries" for yourself. Don't just let the word "heroin" in the title scare you into thinking it's inappropriate for a teenager. I think it would be beneficial to have the book available in a high school, but other parents may not want the squeaky-clean image they have of their children tainted with such harsh reality. However, this book will likely scare the pants off those kids that think they are invincible. Do read it though, before you decide. That way you'll be able to back up your decision with concrete knowledge of the book's contents. I hope this helps.
My son is in high school and wanted to read the book (which of course made me extremely nervous--even though I was--and still am--a big Crue fan) BUT... I decided that if he wanted to read it I would allow him to--AND I would read it as well. As it turns out, the book led to some of the best discussions my son and I have ever had. Yes, there's bad language and a myriad of ugly, graphic topics...I get that. However; I know my son and I really did feel like he was mature enough to handle it--especially if I was reading it with him and we were talking about it. Now that we've finished the book we're STILL talking about it. This book has done more to keep my boy OFF drugs than any lecture I could ever give. I appreciate the fact that Sixx didn't glamorize this drug fueled, rock n roll lifestyle and I am grateful that through him, my son was able to see all of the UGLY without ever having to experience it himself. It made a huge impact on him (on both of us actually...)
So...should a school library carry the book??? I don't know. I want kids to be able to read the book but I do feel like it should be up to the parent to make that decision. Maybe have the book in the library but require a permission slip from the parent before kids can check the book out?? Just a thought.