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Sweet Fire (High Risk Books) Paperback – January 1, 2003

8 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews


'A searingly honest, often funny, always sordid story of a junkie's life. It takes in adiction, crime, sex, family drama, love, death, failed rehab, the onset of the HIV epidemic, and the junkie's willingness to use anyone, anytime, to get a fix, no matter the consequences... a remarkable book' Chauncey Mabe, Sun-Sentinel

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Product Details

  • Series: High Risk Books
  • Paperback: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Serpent's Tail (January 1, 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1852424559
  • ISBN-13: 978-1852424558
  • Product Dimensions: 5.1 x 0.9 x 7.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8.3 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,685,269 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Pat MacEnulty has written novels, short stories, essays, memoirs, plays, screenplays and teleplays. She currently divides her time between Tallahassee, Florida and Los Angeles, California.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Tony Thomas on April 11, 2003
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I tried to type in 10 stars but it didnt work!
I hate to say a new literary star is born, because Pat has been writing and publishing short stories, screenplays, poetry, literary non-fiction, and other work for decades. It is a crime that her first book length work had to wait so long. We all needed her writing in book form years ago.

This is a real, no sensationalism, no romanticism, story, not simply of a character's battle with drug addiction, but really with her character's battle with self, with family, with the strange world that we are all born into. Her character goes from a lower middle class high school girl to a heroin user, to a thief to a wanderer back and forth across the country to support this life. You never want to put the book down, because it is all posed out of the dramatic, but realistic way McEnulty develops the emotional and family life of her protagonist. We come to understand and even live in her character's choices, even if we know they aren't right. She never patronizes her character or her character's world.

I particularly like her realistic depiction of drug "rehab" programs and their abusive, sadistic treatment of people who need love, understanding, and more than a minor chance to move forward.

I don't want to say anything about how I liked how the book ended or the actual plot, because this is a real page-turner, a book you have to read every word of to find out what happens, that never lets you down.
My only problem is that there is not another Pat McEnulty book in the bookstores or on Amazon to buy and read now that I have finished this one. Can you help us with that Pat?
This addition posted in November 2003. In a few months Pat's collection of short stories will come out from the same publisher!
Go Pat Go
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By michael mcclelland on March 20, 2003
Format: Paperback
Pat MacEnulty's "Sweet Fire" is a down-and-dirty tour through the real world of drug addiction -- but don't expect any junkie-on-the-street cliches here. MacEnulty's heroine Trish is just the girl next door who's taken a misstep on two. Every moment of her downward spiral, from that first furtive high to smashing into drug stores to feed her ravenous habit, is as natural and inevitable as a train wreck. Trish is a believable, fully drawn character, one you'll care about and cheer for even as she slips further and further into her self-created nightmare.
In addition, MacEnulty's writing is as well-crafted as her story is captivating, sensual as silk sheets, packed with lively, original metaphors and dazzling observations about life, love, sex and drugs. "Sweet Fire" grabs you from page one, and never lets go. It's one of those rare novels you wish would never end.
Great stuff!
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Lizanne on March 8, 2003
Format: Paperback
It seems only fitting that a novel about an addict is impossible to put down. If the adrenal energy of the drug-seeking/drug-taking life didn't drive the novel, the language would. Every page is a sensory delight, so much so that these experiences--generally unfamiliar to me--seemed like my own. Trish's quest is never marred by the author's sentimentality and, in that, _Sweet Fire_ accomplishes what a novel like _White Oleander_ sets out to do--show how a complex mother/daughter relationship spins out and is restored. When I wasn't cringing in horror or sorrow, flipping pages with anticipation, or drinking in the rich detail, I was laughing at Trish's take on men, friendship, education, and life in general. This is a sharp, funny, perceptive book that never attempts to present an Everywoman and yet somehow hits that nerve from time to time. Or vein. Whatever. It's a great read.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on February 11, 2003
Format: Paperback
This writer has really lived. She knows what's
she is doing--I am so happy to see this new book
out by her!
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