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Beautiful Boy: A Father's Journey Through His Son's Addiction [Kindle Edition]

David Sheff
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (666 customer reviews)

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Book Description

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.



Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

Amazon Best of the Month, February 2008: From as early as grade school, the world seemed to be on Nic Sheff's string. Bright and athletic, he excelled in any setting and appeared destined for greatness. Yet as childhood exuberance faded into teenage angst, the precocious boy found himself going down a much different path. Seduced by the illicit world of drugs and alcohol, he quickly found himself caught in the clutches of addiction. Beautiful Boy is Nic's story, but from the perspective of his father, David. Achingly honest, it chronicles the betrayal, pain, and terrifying question marks that haunt the loved ones of an addict. Many respond to addiction with a painful oath of silence, but David Sheff opens up personal wounds to reinforce that it is a disease, and must be treated as such. Most importantly, his journey provides those in similar situations with a commodity that they can never lose: hope --Dave Callanan

From Publishers Weekly

Expanding on his New York Times Magazine article, Sheff chronicles his son's downward spiral into addiction and the impact on him and his family. A bright, capable teenager, Nic began trying mind- and mood-altering substances when he was 17. In months, use became abuse, then abuse became addiction. By the time Sheff knew of his son's condition, Nic was strung out on meth, the highly potent stimulant. While his son struggles to get clean, his second wife and two younger children are pulled helplessly into the drama. Sheff, as the parent of an addict, cycles through denial and acceptance and resistance. The author was already a journalist of considerable standing when this painful story began to unfold, and his impulse for detail serves him personally as well as professionally: there are hard, solid facts about meth and the kinds of havoc it wreaks on individuals, families and communities both urban and rural. His journey is long and harrowing, but Sheff does not spare himself or anyone else from keen professional scrutiny any more than he was himself spared the pains—and joys—of watching a loved one struggling with addiction and recovery. Real recovery creates—and can itself be—its own reward; this is an honest, hopeful book, coming at a propitious moment in the meth epidemic.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

Product Details

  • File Size: 709 KB
  • Print Length: 337 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 0618683356
  • Publisher: Mariner Books; Reprint edition (January 6, 2009)
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B003JTHWLE
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #9,194 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
187 of 193 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant and Moving Parental Memoir February 26, 2008
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
*****
This is a stunningly written, intense and emotional memoir of a father's struggle to deal with his brilliant, charismatic, and caring son's addiction to methamphetamine. It is honest and authentic and raw and heart-rending and fascinating. It is unforgettable. As I read, I felt many emotions for both the father and son---everything from anger to sadness to grief to fear. I felt as though I was right there on the emotional roller coaster with the author.

Even if you have no personal experience of a loved one's addiction, you will be moved by this father's struggle to cope with his son's substance abuse turmoils. Despite methamphetamine being this country's most problematic drug, many of us, including me, know very little about it, and may not initially feel too interested in finding out. However, the author's struggles and emotional journey are so poignant and compelling that any reader will find themselves caught up in this memoir, will benefit from what they learn and most of all, will be glad that they read it. If you know and/or love an addict, this book will be even more important---it will be vital---as you will find much to identify with and perhaps even be able to better process some of your own emotions.

Highly recommended.
*****
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109 of 115 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An incredible, incredible book May 27, 2008
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Being that I'm currently going through much the same thing that David Sheff went through--albeit on a smaller scale (if there is such a thing as a "smaller scale" of addiction when your own kid is the addict)--Beautiful Boy made me cry like a baby many, many times. I'm sure if you read it, it will affect you, too. So many of the thoughts the dad has are dead on with what I've experienced over the last four years. And the realization that he finally came to--that one way or another, your child will live or die with or without you, and it's really out of your control, so you have to let go of it--is the one thing that I just haven't been able to get my arms around yet. I totally understand what he's saying. But letting go is so, so, so hard. I get daily updates from my kid's counselor at rehab (my son signed a full disclosure agreement). And I cry after reading them. I never in a million years thought that I'd have an addict for a son who would be in rehab 360 miles away from home at age 18. It's tough. To everyone who is reading this review and has a younger child: Talk to them about drugs. Talk about the dangers, talk about alternatives to self-medication, etc. You do NOT want to go through what David Sheff went through and what my wife and I are going through and have gone through for 4+ years. You'll just have to trust me on that one. Kudos to Mr. Sheff for writing one of the best books I've ever read. I wish nothing but the best for him and his son, Nic.
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103 of 110 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Harrowing and redemptive February 26, 2008
Format:Hardcover
As a parent, I was transfixed by this harrowing story of a charming, intelligent boy's addiction and what it does to his family. You instantly like the boy, Nic Sheff, yet you can feel the father's pain.

The drug problems begin when author David Sheff finds a bag of marijuana in his 12-year-old's backpack. By age 17 Nic is hooked on crystal meth, and he spirals into a decade-long pattern of drug abuse. He lies, steals, lives on the street and nearly dies. His heartbroken family takes the journey with him.

At the end, with Nic in a shaky recovery, David Sheff has a life-changing moment when he realizes that "my children will live with or without me. It is a staggering realization for a parent, but one that ultimately frees us to let our children grow up."

Sheff has good practical advice in this book, starting and ending with talking with your child early and often about drugs. There is also a huge amount of information about methamphetamines and how dangerous and pervasive their abuse is in this country. I learned a lot of scary information in this book, and I'm sure it will be a lifesaver for many.
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30 of 35 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Sometimes terrific - sometimes tedious August 19, 2009
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
David Sheff's account of his son's journey into addiction was both interesting and eye-opening. I learned a lot I didn't know and no longer look at drug addiction the same way. However, much of the book is filled with tedious repetition or dull stories of how normal Nic once was. I doesn't take 5 pages out of each chapter to make the case that Nic was a normal, good kid. These are sweet stories, but after a while I found myself skimming through multiple pages of each chapter. Also, I liked hearing about David's internal battles with himself over did he do the right thing, should he believe Nic, should he bail him out, was an intervention the right way to go, etc. etc. But it just went on for far too long.

Good book, great insight, but could have edited out 20% to make it great.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The most important book this year! March 6, 2008
Format:Hardcover
Being the parent of an addict is one of the most difficult things a person can go through. David Sheff was able to share his story in a remarkable way. This book was not only suspenseful; I could have read it in one night if I didn't have to work in the morning, but it was highly informative. I learned so much about meth, drugs, addiction, alanon, etc. David really did his research. But, most importantly he gave a voice to all the crazy emotions I have been feeling for the last six months. I found out that I am not alone. Anyone who knows an addict or has kids should read this book. It will change the way you look at addicts and the parents of addicts! We must treat addiction as a disease so that we can start helping the youth of today get treatment they deserve.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
My husband hates to read but can't stop listening to this book.
Published 12 days ago by SouthTexas
5.0 out of 5 stars It's a riveting story
A riveting story though painful. It's written honestly from the fathers point of view. It was difficult sometimes to continue to read it because I felt I was going through it too. Read more
Published 20 days ago by Fancy
4.0 out of 5 stars Hard to read, but very worthwhile
It is strange to read someone's emotions that feel exactly like yours. David Sheff's love for his son is compelling. Read more
Published 20 days ago by Susan B
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
This is a great book for a parent with a doper kid.
Published 1 month ago by Darrell McConnell
5.0 out of 5 stars beautifully written
beautifully written story on the devastation caused by Crystal Meth and its effects on the entire family. Read more
Published 1 month ago by Miguel A. Acosta
5.0 out of 5 stars Buy. Read. Now.
Wonderful book. Opened my mind and helped me understand those who suffer from drugs and addictions. Totally recommend.
Published 1 month ago by Tammy
3.0 out of 5 stars I loved the story but all of the statics included within ...
The book was okay. I loved the story but all of the statics included within I could have lived without.
Published 1 month ago by Sherry Dahm
5.0 out of 5 stars although the author is addicted to the addiction the writing is...
At times I was exasperated with the authors obsession and addiction to the addiction, I was still compelled to stay with the narrator and read on. Read more
Published 1 month ago by Laurie P.
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
I love this book and have enjoyed it i appreciate the timely manner in which it came thanks
Published 1 month ago by Jane Stalnaker OToole
2.0 out of 5 stars Two Stars
just a bit slow
Published 1 month ago by Karen Radonjich
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More About the Author

DAVID SHEFF's books include Game Over, China Dawn, and All We Are Saying. His many articles and interviews have appeared in the New York Times, Rolling Stone, Playboy, Wired, Fortune, and elsewhere. His piece for the New York Times Magazine, My Addicted Son, won an award from the American Psychological Association for Outstanding Contribution to Advancing the Understanding of Addiction. It led to his #1 New York Times Best Seller, Beautiful Boy, which was named the best nonfiction book of 2008 by Entertainment Weekly. Beautiful Boy was also an Amazon Best Book of 2008. Sheff and his family live in Inverness, California.

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