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189 of 195 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant and Moving Parental Memoir
*****
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...
Published on February 26, 2008 by O. Brown

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31 of 36 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Sometimes terrific - sometimes tedious
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...
Published on August 19, 2009 by M. Cecere


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189 of 195 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant and Moving Parental Memoir, February 26, 2008
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*****
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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112 of 118 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An incredible, incredible book, May 27, 2008
By 
Deanokat (Michigan, USA) - See all my reviews
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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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104 of 111 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Harrowing and redemptive, February 26, 2008
By 
Julie Neal (Celebration, Fla.) - See all my reviews
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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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31 of 36 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Sometimes terrific - sometimes tedious, August 19, 2009
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This review is from: Beautiful Boy (Kindle Edition)
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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16 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Bravo!, March 16, 2008
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As someone who is in recovery for crystal meth addiction, I highly recommend this book to those with addiction issues, their family members and to addiction specialists. David Sheff's insight into the disease of addiction and particularly the insidious nature of crystal meth is pitch perfect. I would also like to add that I attribute any "success" to my recovery process to having done many of the "best practices" outlined in his meticulous research of treatment options. I don't think I would have made it (thus far) if I had not gone to a treatment center with a specialized program for crystal meth (using the Matrix) which lasted for more than 4 months. I also went directly from there to a 2-year recovery home where I still reside. As Sheff has learned and written so eloquently, recovery (both for addicts and their families) is a process not an event, and it never ends.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Compelling and Courageous, March 13, 2008
By 
CeCe Kennedy (Dunwoody, GA United States) - See all my reviews
David Sheff is a courageous man. Beautiful Boy is a great read, a horror story, and great reference material. It pulses with the unconditional love of a father in a way that makes me admire him and the guts it took to tell this story. For those of us with practicing and/or recovering alcoholics and addicts in our families, David's story is our story. Different drug, different town, different path....but same shame, frustration, anger, and the relentlessness of a disease with no bottom. I couldn't put this book down. Thank you, David Sheff, for your humanity and your gift of putting into words the unthinkable and the untouchable emotions in lives impacted by addiction.
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The most important book this year!, March 6, 2008
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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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Left me with more questions than answers..., November 5, 2010
This review is from: Beautiful Boy: A Father's Journey Through His Son's Addiction (Paperback)
As the parent of an addicted child, I must say I was very disappointed in the outcome of Beautiful Boy. I will admit that when I began reading the story I wasn't expecting the "open ended" finish of the book but some kind of solution - how the Sheffs handled and beat the problem. I identified with a great many of the experiences documented in Beautiful Boy but disagree with the bill of goods sold to Mr. Sheff. "Relapsing as part of Recovery" is simply a revolving door in which the addict gets trapped and it's permission to fail. Relapsing means rehab didn't work. The break-ins, stealing, lying, betrayals - to be subjected to a "Groundhog Day"-like repetition of these actions in the course of "recovery" introduced me to an emotion I've been fighting off for six years - hopelessness. I was able to glean a small ray of light from the fact that Nic was able to reel in his relapses quicker as he got older but that's not enough. The fact that drug addiction is a condition INITIATED by the addict and its "non sexy" image in the world of philanthropy ("End AIDS or fight drug addiction?"), it's not likely a permanent cure will ever be found. I applaud Mr. Sheff for sticking by his son but not all of us have the luxury of unlimited forgiveness for perpetrating the same offenses over and over, especially by a family member. While it seems that the losses suffered by Mr. Sheff were primarily monetary (coupled with his own anguish), some addicts put other family members in real danger with deadly results. Those offenses leave permanent scars - and are way tougher to repeatedly forgive.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Heartbreaking on so many levels, April 19, 2008
This book has gotten a lot of publicity, and ultimately I couldn't resist the urge to read this book, even though I am blessed and fortunate to say that neither of my kids are in any sort of situation like the author describes here (knock on wood).

In "Beautiful Boy: A Father's Journey Through His Son's Addiction" (326 pages), author David Sheff tells the story of how his teanage son descends in the hell of meth-addiction (after having gone through a bunch of other drug-related issues). The feelings described by the father are complex, many of them having to do with guilt (the author describes his younger days of ample drug use), shame and an utter sense of frustration. "I torment myself with the same unanwerable questions: Did I spoil him? Was I too lenient? Did I give him too little attention? Too much? If only I never used drugs. If only his mother and I had stayed together. If only and if only and if only..."

It is something that I don't wish on anyone, and I pray I won't have to deal with that ever in my family. I must say, though, that one thing struck me in this book as completely incomprehensible and foreign, namely the relaxed attitude that many figures of authority (including in schools) had when the son was found to be smoking/selling pot. "They all do it." Say what? What kind of an environment or community is that? That aside, "Beautiful Boy" is a page-turner from start to finish, and I can't wait to pick up the book that the son has written (it was released simultaneously with this book).
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12 of 14 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Father's Great Love, March 2, 2008
Beautiful Boy is often times repetitive and much slower than Tweak, Nic Sheff's memoir of his own addiction. David Sheff's story is one of fearful anticipation and waiting. Waiting to hear from the police about Nic's latest crime. Waiting to hear from the hospital to see if Nic survived the night. Waiting to hear from Nic to know that he is alive. It took three days for me to read Beautiful Boy. I just couldn't stay inside David Sheff's anguish for too long at a time. David really loves his son, and Nic really loves his father, but against methamphetamines, their love is just not strong enough. All David Sheff can do is cautiously hope that his son will be one of the ones to beat his addiction. All David Sheff can do is "step back, be supportive, but let Nic's recovery be his recovery as we work on creating healthy, as Nic describes them, loving and supportive but independent relationships." He has no choice but to let his beautiful boy go and find his own life.

For the rest of this review and others, see my site.
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Beautiful Boy: A Father's Journey Through His Son's Addiction
Beautiful Boy: A Father's Journey Through His Son's Addiction by David Sheff (Paperback - January 6, 2009)
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