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The Story of Junk: A Novel Paperback – May 13, 1998


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Back Bay Books (May 13, 1998)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0316968080
  • ISBN-13: 978-0316968089
  • Product Dimensions: 8.5 x 5.5 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 15.2 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,519,396 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

The early '80s in the lower east side of New York was a thrilling time for the popular music and art culture created at the end of the punk and New Wave eras. It was also a devastating time of drug addiction and the beginning of AIDS awareness. In her stunning first novel, Linda Yablonsky, a survivor of that dangerous time, tells the story of a would-be writer turned heroin junkie who deals to queers, artists, punks, and yuppies. This is an exquisitely written, brutal, caring book. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Library Journal

Like a grisly car accident that you can't tear your eyes from, Yablonsky's gripping look at a largely white, middle-class community of heroin users in 1980s New York City is vivid, absorbing, and very grim. As shared needles lead to HIV infection and then AIDS, the narrator of the book, an unnamed female user/dealer, tells an unglamorous, yet oddly seductive, tale that is by turns charming and horrifying. Harrowing descriptions of her drugsick, middle-of-the-night wanderings through crime-saturated neighborhoods provide an incisive glimpse into junk culture. Yablonsky, who has had her own battles with heroin, has written for many publications and has organized readings at several New York venues. Her first novel resists preaching and offers a clear-eyed view of one woman's descent and ultimate redemption. Highly recommended.?Eleanor J. Bader, New Sch. for Social Research, New York
Copyright 1997 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Janet Shannon on October 4, 2002
Format: Hardcover
In this promising first novel, Linda Yablonsky paints a humorous, off-beat picture of New York's elite drug culture in the 1980s. The narrator/protagonist is adrift in a world in which who you hang out with matters more than how much money you make. A would-be writer, she's an aimless thirty year old druggie who works as cook in a chic downtown restaurant. Her natural hipness makes her a favorite of the "in" crowd and gradually she's drawn to the glamour of an aristocracy which, as a middle class Jewish girl from the burbs, doesn't reflect what is familiar to her. Adopting the vices of the elite, she finds a role she can cop--drug dealer to artists, models and entrepreneurs. Spurred on by her reckless girlfriend, a marvelous rockster named "Kit" whose helpless charm and deviant life style are brought vividly to life by Yablonsky, she is soon buying and selling heroin for them. An endless stream of people herd in and out of their apartment, and she observes everything that goes down with the deadpan humor of a cynic and the naive detachment of someone who has nothing to lose. Her anxiety increases as she places herself further and further at risk, betraying the tough veneer she presents to the world. Surprisingly, when she gets busted her life calms down--the crisis enables her to acknowlege a number of issues she's been avoiding since her arrival in New York: her total lack of identity and her desire to become a writer. At this juncture, Yablonsky attempts to take on bigger issues to do with drug addiction and destructive behavior and,in my opinion, she takes a wrong turn. She struggles to link the character's pathology with the history of the Holocaust and her heritage as a descendant of survivors, for example.Read more ›
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on September 1, 1999
Format: Paperback
This book chronicles the "life cycle" of the junkie, in which one goes from the "heroin honeymoon" period, to the ultimate devastation. It rates right up there among my favorite junkie novels, after Permanent Midnight, and Trainspotting. I'm an ex-heroin addict, and while I never was a dealer, made deals with the DEA, or suggled drugs in from the Golden Triangle, as the protagonist in this book does, Yablonsky's narrative rings very true.
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10 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Nocturn27@aol.com on August 1, 1998
Format: Paperback
I am not exactly a stranger to the life Linda Yablonsky describes in "The Story of Junk," and I must say that this simplistic, dispassionate little tale of NYC junkies does no justice to the complex, often highly sensitive and intelligent heroin users I have known. Anyone who picks up this book hoping to gain some insight into why people use heroin will be deeply disappointed. "The Story of junk" doesn't even do an adequate job describing the effects of heroin; at times the drug used by the lead character sounds much more like cocaine or speed than heroin (for a far superior book on heroin addiction check out Danny Sugarman's "Wonderland Avenue").
Yablonsky, who claims to be a former heroin addict and dealer herself, has created an oddly detached and indifferent protagonist/narrator. What motivates this 30+ year old character to do what she does is anyone's guess. She does not appear to care much about anything or anyone (that includ! es her girlfriend) which makes it difficult for the reader to care much about her. In fact, for a junkie, she cares remarkably little even about heroin. Unlike her musician girlfriend who has some real mental problems and might even come across as halfway sympathetic if only we knew a little more about her, the lead character does not seem particularly troubled and no real attempts are made to explain her drug addiction and her predilection for heroin. Heroin tends to appeal to people who feel and care too much and use the drug to create a "buffer" between themselves and the rest of the world.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on August 14, 1998
Format: Paperback
I recommend this novel -- it's very interesting. I know people who are caught up in drugs and are not evil people. For some, it's not about "just say no" or "just walk away" - and the author makes that clear. This book made me realize that junkies can and want to see the light at the end of the tunnel but find it so hard to get there. Or sometimes can't get there, not yet. I was very interested to find out what was going to happen to these folks and I laughed but I also felt very sad for them. At first, drugs do make you feel good, no doubt, and the writer is honest about this. Using drugs is fun at first - a lot of fun. But then you go down, and you stay down for a long, long time (physcially, mentally, financially, etc.) This book told a story that a lot of people will find hard to understand. I thought Linda Yablonsky did a great job at telling a true story. Buy it, you won't regret it.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful By na0 on February 28, 2006
Format: Paperback
i picked this book up at a thrift store after passing it over several times. i saw the rating it had on here (amazon.com) so i decided it would be worth a shot. i was right!

this book is fiction, but its really believable as a true story. i had previously read a million little peices by james frey and was terribly disappointed. linda yablonsky's the story of junk was more believable as a memoir than james frey's book. and his was supposed to be one. i enjoyed just about every moment of this book.

i highly recommend this book to everyone... if you can find a place that has it.
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