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Tweak: Growing Up on Methamphetamines Paperback – January 6, 2009

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Tweak: Growing Up on Methamphetamines + Beautiful Boy: A Father's Journey Through His Son's Addiction + We All Fall Down: Living with Addiction
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Atheneum Books for Young Readers; Reprint edition (January 6, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1416972196
  • ISBN-13: 978-1416972198
  • Product Dimensions: 8.1 x 5.4 x 1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (350 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #8,232 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Sheff relates his personal struggle with drugs and alcohol in this poignant and often disturbing memoir. Paul Michael Garcia is the perfect choice for narrator; his stern and entirely believable voice captures the desolation in Sheff's tale. His reading is wonderfully underplayed, and necessarily so. Garcia becomes Sheff, offering a gritty and raw performance that demonstrates just how dire the circumstances surrounding Sheff's existence really were. A Ginee Seo Books hardcover. (Apr.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to the Audio CD edition.


"Nic Sheff's wrenching tale is told with electrifying honesty and insight." -- Armistead Maupin, author of The Night Listener and Michael Tolliver Lives

"Difficult to read and impossible to put down." -- Chicago Tribune

"Tweak is...Bukowski and Burroughs, the heart to his dad's head -- and the kid can write." -- Seattle Weekly

"An unflinching chronicle of life as an addict." -- U.S. News & World Report

More About the Author

Nic Sheff is a recovering drug addict and alcoholic. Still in his early twenties, he continues to fight daily battles with his addictions. His writing has been published in Newsweek, Nerve, and the San Francisco Chronicle. Tweak is his first book.

Customer Reviews

The book was very revealing and well written.
Kathy Maher
Nic's sobering look into the horrors of addiction and the struggles of getting clean truly were so honest an deeply personal.
Gregg Padula
I read Nic Sheff's Tweak after reading Beautiful Boy, which was written by his father, David Sheff.

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

186 of 199 people found the following review helpful By O. Brown HALL OF FAMETOP 100 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on February 25, 2008
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This book is much easier to understand if you read the author's father's book, also recently published, called "Beautiful Boy: A Father's Journey Through His Son's Meth Addiction" by David Sheff. By reading his father's account of the same time, you understand from a parent's perspective just what is going on with Nic Sheff. You understand how brilliant and talented Nic is (he will not tell you this in his book) and you understand what this novel explores---his descent into methamphetamine addiction, how he lived for many years, how he squandered his potential by avoiding dealing with life, and the consequences in his life and in the lives of those he loves. Once you know more about who the young author is, you can appreciate his book so very, very much more.

The author is honest and transparent about the life he has lived as an addict, and the book is worth reading for this alone. Not many of us who haven't been through it can imagine what an average day is like for a meth addict, and this book shows us that. The insight this book truly gives you is what goes on inside an addict's mind, and how an addict views life and circumstances---very differently from a non-addict. Many of the terms may be confusing to those of us unfamiliar with drug culture (for example, "tweak", "rig", "push off") but again, they are explained in his father's book "Beautiful Boy".

So, read "Beautiful Boy" first from the parental perspective---don't miss it---and then, if you are still intrigued, as I was, follow up with "Tweak" and venture more deeply into the mind and life of the addict---who eventually becomes a likable person to the reader, not just an intensely selfish and initially totally unlikable addict. The author is courageous in sharing his life so openly in this book. I think it will make an impression upon you and leave you with a read you will not soon forget.

Recommended, especially after reading the "prequel".
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99 of 106 people found the following review helpful By Kevin Autrey on March 9, 2008
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
First off, I should say that I'm not one of those "I read it cover to cover in one day" kind of readers. I hear people say "I couldn't put it down" when describing a book and wonder what kind of life - obviously devoid of things needing to be DONE - they live.

That said, I read "Tweak" - cover to cover - in one day. I couldn't put it down.

I've had friends addicted to meth. I know that meth's grip is insidious and tenacious - that the predictable and almost-methodical way it destroys everything in a person's life is almost viral in nature. But seeing this "inside look" at how a meth addict perceives his addiction, his drug, his life, and the destruction of everything perceived as valuable - occurring right before his eyes... it's a compelling, haunting narrative.

The most striking thing for me in Nic's story is how at the very bottom - when virtually all is lost - the only thing that remains is the most sober of thoughts: "it's time to get clean". And at a time and in a condition where no hidden reservoirs of strength remain, the fight of a lifetime begins.

Watching Nic's recovery is like watching the heroine in a horror flick walk (usually backwards... go figure) into a closet where the slasher villain is lying in wait to kill her. You recognize the villain and the precariousness of the situation long before Nic does - and you're screaming "don't go in there" - because by this point, you see how far he's come and you're rooting for him to make it and you see the disaster about to happen. It's interesting that Nic's father (who also writes "the parent's perspective" of his son's addiction in
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61 of 65 people found the following review helpful By Huntie on March 20, 2008
Format: Hardcover
I bought this book after finishing "Beautiful Boy" by David Sheff, mainly because it's pretty rare to get to read both sides of an addiction story. I found this book to be somewhat manic in its retelling of events (expected), raw in its content (appreciated), and very, very candid. What I liked best about this book was how there was no sugar-coating. Nic Sheff wrote about his experiences and didn't hold back a thing, and I think this was what made this book so good. It's rare that we get a firsthand idea of what it's really like for an addict in the throes of needing to feed their demons but also trying to get rid of their demons, and getting this inside view really made me start to view addicts with a lot more compassion than I maybe would have prior to reading this book. As with David Sheff's book, I found myself rooting for Nic, rooting for his family and friends, and I really hope that Nic continues on his path of sobriety because I think he has more to offer people than even he realizes.
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27 of 31 people found the following review helpful By Danielle Turchiano on April 13, 2008
Format: Hardcover
A few weeks ago, I purchased both Nic Sheff's memoir "Tweak (Growing Up on Methamphetamines)" and his father's counterpoint "Beautiful Boy (A Father's Journey Through His Son's Addiction)." I set them both aside, going back and forth in my mind about with which one I should start first, but ultimately I put off reading them both until a day I could read them back-to-back, uninterrupted, and just immerse myself in the Sheff family's world. I expected to be a bit biased toward Nic's telling of events, but I never in a million years could have imagined just how much I would find myself nodding along and connecting to the very internal issues that lead to and continue to feed his addiction.

Nic Sheff spent much of his young life hanging out with his writer-father at gallery openings, dinner parties, and VIP events; he spent more time with adults than he did children his own age and therefore was in a rush to grow up, but however he tried to emulate said adults on the outside, on the inside he was trapping himself in a perpetual state of adolescence that would come to haunt him in his later years. Nic's parents divorced when he was young, and both subsequently remarried. His father went on to have two more children, whereas his mother would just have constant fights with her new husband-- fights that got so loud Nic would run into the tv room and blast an old movie, to drown out the sounds of the screams and yelling. By the time we actually meet Nic, he has already been in and out of rehab, though (all of the aforementioned and more comes out as exposition to fill in the holes later in the story), and he is on his way to San Francisco to partake in yet another bender. This time he ends up dealing, too.
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