Enter your mobile number below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.
Getting the download link through email is temporarily not available. Please check back later.
To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.
The Book of Drugs: A Memoir Paperback – January 10, 2012
See the Best Books of the Month
Want to know our Editors' picks for the best books of the month? Browse Best Books of the Month, featuring our favorite new books in more than a dozen categories.
Frequently Bought Together
Customers Who Bought This Item Also Bought
Publishers Weekly, 10/3/11
“Hardly your typical rock star memoir. Doughty is brutally honest about life as an addict…Bringing the writing skill that he has crafted to his underground poetry, magazine articles, and songs, Doughty conveys his message with both despair and humor…A compelling look at one man’s struggle to come to terms with the much-discussed connection between addiction and art.”
“Doughty’s life, as chronicled in these pages, is not so much a revelation for its narrative arc (kid makes the big time, starts in with the dope, the band breaks up, kid is redeemed), as it is for the astonishingly vital, energized, and natural voice contained in its pages, one which never once had a ghost writer presiding over it, likewise its acerbic and sometimes lacerating honesty.”
Boston Globe, 11/11/11
“Not only an open look by Doughty at his past addiction problems, but a smart, funny, and honest view of the late 80s/early 90s NY music scene, Doughty’s years with the band Soul Coughing, and what it was like to reach the other side of a very dark place. Don’t for a moment think that Mike Doughty has written your typical I-got-clean-and-now-I’m-above-all-that sort of book."
“A thrillingly lucid and bravely honest memoir.”
“Full of succulent period errata, much like Patti Smith's Just Kids and Eileen Myles' Inferno. We go to legendary places and meet legendary people along the way…Like Smith and Myles, Doughty recreates downtown Manhattan in his formative moment with adroit and insouciant deftness. One comes to see and know as he has. It is a deeply enchanting backdrop for a deeply disenchanting behind-the-scenes.”
“The unspoken rule of rock ‘n’ roll memoirs—especially ones about drug-addled players who get clean—is that the author tends to mend fences rather than sling mud. Mike Doughty: not so much. In The Book of Drugs, the former Soul Coughing frontman writes with a lacerating candor about his family, his narcotic and sexual excesses, the idiocy of the music industry, and, most of all, his former band mates.”
“A funny, haunted tale in which no one—bandmates, producers, fans, A&R reps, fellow musicians such as Jeff Buckley and Redman, and least of all Doughty himself—is spared.”
“A no-holds-barred look at that old music cliché, sex, drugs, and rock and roll.”
Top Customer Reviews
Alongside the addiction story, Doughty delves into the astonishingly toxic personal politics in Soul Coughing. Most band-infighting narratives are about friendships gone sour, but here we start with strangers who disliked each other from the first rehearsal, yet somehow slogged through three albums and several tours. The "Let It Be" -era Beatles seem positively chummy by comparison.
However, as some other reviewers have noted, the book takes a surprisingly off-putting turn near the end, when Doughty unleashes several pages of white-hot hatred at not just his former bandmates, but at the SC music itself -- and voices more than a little resentment of fans who bring it up. He talks about playing SC songs live in the past, but getting angry when people cheered for them(!), and portrays fans who request those songs or mention the band to him as being a nuisance at best and belligerent tormentors at worst. This may come as a surprise to fans have heard him play SC songs live as recently as a few years ago, and readers who were just told, throughout the first 4/5 of this book, that Doughty wrote all the SC material singlehandedly and wasn't properly credited for it.Read more ›
The book is well-written, it carries the reader along, and some of the prose is gorgeous. However, after finishing it, it occurred to me that no one ended up looking anything but awful in this book. It starts off with a giant "f*** you" to his family, continues on with a "f*** you" to the New York music scene, then a "f*** you" to the band, the record label, the A&R rep, the manager, and everyone involved with the band, all underscored with a really notable amount of self-loathing. Not to mention a GIANT "f*** you" to the fans of Soul Coughing or anyone who ever enjoyed the music of Soul Coughing, who seem to deserve a special extra helping of contempt from the author. Then the book moves on to the recovery story, which I found to be also underscored with a lot of loathing from the author - not just of himself, but of everyone around him, though there were bright points here and there about people who might not be as awful as everyone else. When the book moved on to stories about his travels, the fact that everyone (including the author) was portrayed as a total jerk......well, that's really distracting, to read about someone visiting amazing places and seeing amazing sights and being sober and recovering and still being so full of self-loathing that it spills out onto everything and everyone around him.
After finishing this book and having had some time to think about it, I'm truly sorry I read it.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Thanks for sharing your story Mike. I could not put it down.Published 2 months ago by Amy A. Henning
Mike never mentions the names of his bandmates only referring to them by what instrument they played. Must have been a bad breakup or he is a total narcissist.Published 8 months ago by userzen412
Smart guy shows tenderness. That was all I had to say but it requires you to write sixteen words. Yes.Published 16 months ago by steven c haugen
I was looking for insight to the music but instead received stream of consciousness internal dialogue. Read morePublished 16 months ago by Judy
I am a huge Mike Doughty fan and I did enjoy the book. it isn't in my top 10 memoirs, but it was informative and entertaining.Published 17 months ago by Ryan Roach
A great read for Doughty fans - hard to put down!
Note - more for Doughty fans than SC fans - this isn't an SC book, per say.
This is very interesting, and one of the most honest books I have ever read. I think some people who the author comes across as whiny or bitter are just unused to books where the... Read morePublished 19 months ago by M.G.