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We All Fall Down: Living with Addiction Hardcover – April 5, 2011

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Frequently Bought Together

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

From Booklist

*Starred Review* Haven�t we read this before? In fact, yes. Sheff�s first memoir of addiction, Tweak (2008), figures in this follow-up�if only he could finish writing it, the publisher would give him the cash he needs to jump-start a better life, pay back IOUs, and, you know, score some booze and weed. Yes, the drugs are less scary this time (no needles), but the ride is just as terrifying, as the 23-year-old Sheff bounces from two detox centers into a dangerously abrupt relationship living with a girl in Charleston. Good intentions and bad decisions follow: Sheff�s frustrations at a dead-end job lead him to virtually nonstop drinking and smoking, once more testing the patience of everyone he loves. Sheff intelligently portrays himself as the most delusional of unreliable narrators. Prone to rambling, wheedling, and sobbing, he resets his goals with each page and rationalizes the hell out of every impulsive action. Flaws abound here�like, there�s not much of a plot�but Sheff is blessed with off-the-charts readability, and his sex- and profanity-laced first-person narration makes him lovable and hateable in equal measure. The book ends in wobbly stasis, with Sheff celebrating whatever he can: �I have a pretty awesome dog.� Let�s hope, for his sake, there�s not a volume 3. Grades 10-12. --Daniel Kraus


"Nic Sheff captures the insidious, almost vampiric mind-set of an addict who shrinks from any form of light. This book has more in common with Kafka than any recovery memoir I've read."—Mary Karr, New York Times bestselling author of Lit and The Liars' Club

"Sheff's journey, like his writing, is raw and compelling, heartbreaking and witty. An honest and gracious reflection about the challenges of recovery."—Rachel Sontag, author of House Rules: A Memoir

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 368 pages
  • Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers; 1 edition (April 5, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0316080829
  • ISBN-13: 978-0316080828
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 1.2 x 8.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (114 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #137,230 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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

Nic, thank you for writing this book, it was amazing.
Sheffield gives us insight into the inseparable aspects of addiction and mental illness.
Judy L. Lavell
It helped remind them why is it so much better to live a happier sober life.

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

47 of 48 people found the following review helpful By Suzyq221 on April 17, 2011
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I read Tweak after reading Beautiful Boy, by Nic's father, twice. I am the mother of an addict. When I saw Nic had written another book, I instantly read the reviews and kindled it immediately, honestly not expecting to be as moved by it as I was by Tweak. That is not the case. Nic, thank you for writing this book, it was amazing.

It may sound odd to call a book about the tortures of someones life amazing, but, this book is. Nic lets us see every twisted, terrible downward spiral by being honest with how he feels and what he thinks, no matter how dirty it sounds. His braveness is unbelievable, letting us see the worst of him. Then, we also get a glimpse of the greatness in him and the hope that lies within. And that hope gives me hope, for him, for my son, for every addict out there.

Nic DOES NOT whine about 12 step programs nor does he bash them. He simply doesn't think they are his way. They may work for most, but perhaps not for him, or they are not the be all end all. He does participate in treatment that is not 12 step based, although he said he goes to a meeting once in a while. Since when does one thing make sense for ALL, every single person? That thinking is so off track. There is always a percentage of people that the common cure does not work for. All Nic is saying is that 12 step isn't for him, let's not crucify him for it. If he had cancer, maybe chemo would work for most, but maybe not for him, are we gonna fry him for that? I applaud how he figured out what he is comfortable with, and stayed true to himself. He doesn't say don't do treatment, he says find the treatment that feels right to you.

This book is just as good as Tweak, and I sincerely hope Nic keeps writing, because I, for one, will be buying his next one.

Be well Nic and thank you, thank you, thank you.
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29 of 30 people found the following review helpful By Sarah K on April 1, 2011
Format: Hardcover
As someone who has struggled with drugs, and who has a father who has, this book was wonderful to read, consoling and inspiring. I cried a lot, but ended up feeling hopeful. I've relapsed a bunch of times, but I've been sober for 9 months, and feel hopeful for Nic and others who suffer with addiction.
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26 of 28 people found the following review helpful By Teen Reads on April 27, 2011
Format: Hardcover
I admit I was shocked when I saw that Nic Sheff's latest autobiographical offering about his struggles with hardcore drug addiction was classified as a "book for young adult readers." That designation tells me more about life among young adults than I care to think about. WE ALL FALL DOWN --- a sequel to his first book, TWEAK, in, if I may say, a similar vein --- is anything but youthful in its underlying theme. It speaks blandly of suicide and throws its author/narrator into scenes of degradation that we wish never to see our young adult children in. It is written in the four-letter lingo of the street and is a necessary dose, as it were, of reality about the sickness, self-loathing and repeated flame-outs that characterize the life (if it can be called that) of a serious user.

In TWEAK, we were right up against the lowest, most horrifying physical basics of the meth/heroin sub-subculture. In WE ALL FALL DOWN, things have improved somewhat for our hero, as Nic finds himself in a restrictive treatment center, sent there by his caring journalist father and author of BEAUTIFUL BOY, a parent's anguished take on the desperate, criminal, self-destructive lifestyle of his son.

In the treatment facility, Nic's life is greatly curtailed with many heavily enforced rules: no touching allowed, for example, except under the eyes of a staff witness. Nic is trying to simultaneously fake out his therapists and, on some saner level, agree and comply with their rules and their philosophy. This includes renouncing his supposedly former ex-girlfriend, the drug-hag he has nicknamed Zelda. This he does at first to fool his keepers, but gradually with more conviction. He soon falls afoul of the system anyway by falling in love with a fellow inmate, a girl who is screwed up but not an addict.
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16 of 16 people found the following review helpful By Barbara S. Reeves on October 4, 2011
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
When we left off with Nic Sheff in Tweak, he was in rehab, and it sounded as if it was working this time. The thing with rehab is we never know how many times it's going to take. A lot of addicts give up after a couple of tries, and everyone else gives up on them also. But you got to keep trying. You can't stop trying after four attempts if the fifth time is the one that's going to work.

Anyway, I thought Nic was going to make it this time, but in his follow-up memoir, We All Fall Down, we find out that he's just faking it, he's playing the "therapy game." He says what he knows they want to hear, and they believe him...until he gets kicked out for making out with a female client.

What I liked about Nic in Tweak was his humbleness, his honesty, and his insightfulness. But this is a different Nic Sheff in We All Fall Down. He's grandiose, he's an egomaniac with an inferiority complex, and he's got a severe case of terminal uniqueness. He thinks he's better than everyone - hipper, smarter, cooler, but, paradoxically, he thinks he's nothing. I didn't like this Nic Sheff at all. I was thinking, what a low-down, spineless wimp, know-it-all.

Then I realized these are things I don't like about myself. I remembered that this is exactly how I was when I was in my twenties. It's ugly.

Well, of course he relapses, though he doesn't sink as low as before - no hard drugs, mostly pot and alcohol. This book is a good study of what goes through an addict's head as he relapses. There's all the rationalizations, minimizations, and justifications - the twisted logic.

And it all proves that it's not the drug that's the problem. It's our inability to live life on life's terms that the problem.
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