- Mass Market Paperback
- Publisher: Bantam; 1st edition (1982)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0553208977
- ISBN-13: 978-0553208979
- Product Dimensions: 6.8 x 4.2 x 0.7 inches
- Shipping Weight: 4 ounces
- Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars See all reviews (18 customer reviews)
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #445,841 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Christiane F: Autobiography of a Girl of the Streets and Heroin Addict Mass Market Paperback – 1982
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Top Customer Reviews
For those unaware of the background of this book, in the mid 70's two young German journalists did a photo-essay of the teenage prostitutes (male & female) that hung out in a subway station in Berlin, the Baunhoff. The magazine that ran it (Stern) received such an outpouring from the public that the authors decided to expand the piece to book length; to do so, they chose to focus on one particular girl they had interviewed, Christiane. At the time of the interviews, Christiane was 15 & had already spent 2 years on the "Baby Line" in Berlin, as well as having been a heroin addict since 12. Ostensibly clean at the time, she is brutally honest in her description of the years in question.
Told in Christiane's own words with almost no interference from the authors (at least in the English translation), her story is revalatory on many counts. To an American reader, life in Berlin circa 1973-5 sounds wildly different from our own teens lives; legal adulthood is reached at the age of 14. School classes are jammed college-lecture style with as many as 100 young students per class, so teachers never have any direct contact with their charges. Life is lived in high-rise tenement blocks, where children playing outside in the concrete alleys have no chance to make it back to their flats to relieve themselves; the stairways are foul with the result. Young teens are never given a chance to develop intellectually, but are herded into vocational schools with no chance of a higher education. Etc, etc.Read more ›
Now, re-reading it, I see the story of wasted lives: of Christiane's few close friends, Axel and Babsi died, Detlef wound up in jail and a menial job, Stella a ruined alcoholic. The book ends with Christiane clean and hopeful. Unfortunately her fame though this book left her dissatisfied with the quiet life as a bookseller's aprentice and she ended up with long hopeless years of addiction.
There are interviews to be found on the net from roughly 10 year intervals. 23, 33, 38, 42: she always denies her addiction but eventually the truth emerges. No job, jail-time, violent boyfriends, no friends or family contact. Her only joy was her son. She really seemed like she had a chance when he was born and photos show her clearly clean and glowing with happiness. She treated the boy very well and seemed to be at least caring for him or not herself. Suddenly, recent news says she took the boy away against social service orders and went to live in Amsterdam with a new boyfriend, a wanted con-man. She spent all day in bed drinking heavily and taking drugs. Eventually she had to admit she couldn't take care of the boy and returned him to Germany and gave him into Social Services care. My heart breaks for that boy and for her too.Read more ›
ALL teenagers, boys and girls, should read this book. It points out the downward road to self destruction many teenagers occasionally think about. It gives a teenagers a reality check, also when it comes to considering running away from home and all the crazy perverts "out there" that don't respect anyone, just want to use you and want to get in your pants when you are young, pretty, and inexperienced about life and the world.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I read this book when it was released in the 80's, let someone borrow and it was lost. Really surprised at the cost for a used paperback but it's in my collection. Read morePublished 14 months ago by Barbara Smith
I read this book at 13 and was terrified. Throughout my life I have seen that the horrors in the book are the nitty gritty truth. Read morePublished 15 months ago by J. Sykes
I bought this book for my 14 year old son. I had read this book in my teens, but it is a book that continues today. Read morePublished on May 11, 2014 by Elisangela
I've owned this book since the early to mid 80's when I was between 18-22 and remember reading it and feeling so bad for Christiane and her friends Babsi, Stella, and Detlev. Read morePublished on January 16, 2014 by BlackMetalMagic
This book was recommended to me by a friend, and I'm glad I had the chance to read it. As I am currently sponsoring a drug addict in a 12-step recovery program, and as I volunteer... Read morePublished on March 9, 2012 by StephenD
This is one of the best books I've ever read! The story of the drugs addicted girl, doesn't contain any disturbing descriptions, but really sucks you into her life as if you're... Read morePublished on February 22, 2012 by Sweety
I picked this book up at a college bookstore in the early 80s and was unable to put it down. I re-read it and gave it to friends, each time searching out a replacement copy... Read morePublished on June 9, 2010 by Amazon Customer