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The Adderall Diaries: A Memoir of Moods, Masochism, and Murder Hardcover – September 1, 2009
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From Publishers Weekly
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“A refined, beautiful work of art. . . deserves a place on the shelf next to such classics of uninhibited American introspection as On the Road and A Fan's Notes.” ―Kirkus, starred review
“Brilliant, memorable prose. . . an unforgettable read.” ―Foreword
“You don't just read The Adderall Diaries; you fall right into them. You read as if you are a few words behind the writer, trying to catch up, to find out what happens, to yell at him that he's doing a great job. And he is. It's a brilliant book.” ―Roddy Doyle
“The Adderall Diaries is a startling and original concoction, an irresistible melding of reportage and memoir and reconstruction. This is Stephen Elliott's best book, perfectly suited to his gifts as a seeker, as a storyteller, as a poet of wounds, unwelcome and otherwise. ” ―Sam Lipsyte
“The Adderall Diaries is phenomenal. With jittery finesse and a reformed tweaker's eye for detail, Stephen Elliott captures the terrifying, hilarious, heart-strangling reality of a life whose scorched-earth physical and psycho-emotional dimensions no one could have invented--they absolutely had to be lived. By all rights, the author should either be dead or chewing his fingers in a bus station. Instead, he may well have written the memoir of an entire generation. ” ―Jerry Stahl
“I felt like a voyeur reading Stephen Elliott's memoir--what is shocking and unbearable to most of us is commonplace to him. Although a murder trial provides the structure for this book, it is really about the strangeness of life, about things that don't make sense and never will, about lessons that don't get learned, and ultimately about what we can and can't know about ourselves and others. Reading The Adderall Diaries is like taking a step toward the edge of a cliff so you can peer down and imagine what it might be like to slip and fall. Normally we shudder and step back. Stephen Elliott jumps, and his harrowing, riveting memoir convinces you to follow him vicariously.” ―Amy Tan
“The Adderall Diaries begins like the ocean, seemingly able to take in everything--prize fights to Paris Hilton--until the ocean forms into a river, making its way through unmapped territories--a murder, an absent father--and finally this river is distilled into one precious teardrop. Stephen Elliott is one of those 'people who keep searching when everything is dark'--I don't know a more hauntingly fearless writer, and this is an immediate, visceral, and ultimately beautiful book.” ―Nick Flynn
Top Customer Reviews
Events are not presented in chronological order, yet the narrative is understandable and relatively easy enough to navigate nevertheless. While not for everyone, particularly those with tender sensibilities, this book is a remarkable read. Those who peruse its pages will be rewarded by the creativity, insight, and pure art-form that comprise Elliot's writing. The subject matter is incredibly disturbing, yet like Adderall, a Schedule D amphetamine from whence the author's addiction lent the book its name, once you fall into the story it is extraordinarily challenging to break free.
In some ways a real-life version of John O'Brien's heartrending Leaving Las Vegas, Elliot's book was supposed to have been a true-crime drama, yet it morphed into an autobiography along the way. The backdrop is the nearly six month trial of Hans Reiser, a brilliant but curmudgeonly Linux programmer, who was accused of killing his estranged wife Nina. Despite hiring a respected attorney, Hans' narcissistic personality, peculiar behavior, and condescending manner undermine his case before the jury.Read more ›
Steven Elliot was from Chicago, where his Cambodian father settled after immigrating, his mother died a premature death from MS (multiple sclerosis), leaving his father a young widower. He soon remarried, and started a new family. Elliot spent most of his teens in a boys home, unwanted/unclaimed, his father appeared in court, mostly to provoke Elliot in rage; refusing to disclose his home address.
Elliot would spend most of his young adult life homeless, keeping his possessions including his snowboard and bicycle in his car. In traveling he noted Nevada 50 as "the loneliest road in America." He had many friends, the lovers he had were usually inappropriate for him. He was attracted to women who hurt/humiliated him, masochism he was well aware of, yet unable to change, powerless to prevent.
Elliot was contacted by his father who wrote negative insulting reviews for his books on Amazon; he also earned extra income writing, journalism, and filing reports for 20/20. Elliot noted Geoff Dyer's book: "Out of Sheer Rage" and how Dyer worked through a major depressive episode studying the writing of D.H. Lawrence. William Styron the author of "Darkness Visible", spent time in mental hospitals, often incoherent by pills and treatment, was cared for by his wife in his later years, meeting her as a brilliant young writer.Read more ›
If you are looking for an autobiography, a true crime novel, a depiction of life with drug addiction or even just an introduction to S&M, you can find much better. It was hard to finish (and I wouldn't have, except it was for a bookclub).
The author , obviously, has had a tough life. It seem miraculous that he managed to grow to adulthood.
The murder case he is covering is one that I am familiar with. Unfortunately. I was disappointed that the testimony of Nina's little son was not covered . But, I probably missed the point. This book reveals such personal sufffering.
It sounds like a lot of plates to keep spinning and Elliott does it with seeming effortlessness (which is never effortless when you try to write such things). The pace never lags, and the compelling, beautifully written voice never lets you down.
His work has an admirable honesty, lovely, sharp, intelligent prose, and a great ability to bring the reader into the emotional landscape of the text.
I could go on, but the short version is that this is one of the best books I've read in a couple of years and I'd HIGHLY recommend that you read it too. 5 stars.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Great Book! Great Author! Very detailed! I can relate to all view points from this Adderall driven author. The ups, the downs, and all of the in betweens..Published 1 day ago by Jacki Knobel
Boring.... I felt like this book was all I've r the place and jumped around for too much. Also I would have liked it if the author delved into more details about the drugs and sex.Published 1 month ago by Peter DeVries
Confused about the title. There was certainly a lot more issues than federally.Published 2 months ago by kathy linden
If I was the authors dad I would write horrible things. You will need to read to get the reference.
This was different than what I expected and have insights into a lifestyle... Read more
I saw the film first which is good because the book is so much better.Published 2 months ago by lynreich
Good vacation read. I gifted it after reading... they enjoyed it too.Published 3 months ago by Amazon Shopper