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  1. Beautiful Boy : A Father's Journey Through His Son's Addiction by David Sheff (2009, Paperback)
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I'd rate this book an R for explicit drug use, sexual references, and thematic material. View all 6 comments. I swear this book took me a month to read. Maybe longer. I just could not get into it.

Beautiful Boy : A Father's Journey Through His Son's Addiction by David Sheff (2009, Paperback)

I read the companion, Tweak, written by his son, and I thought it would be interesting to hear the other perspective. What started as an article for The New York Times Magazine, the overwhelming response prompted Sheff to write a whole book. Bad idea. It was obviously stretched beyond it's means, and Sheff often relied on random quotes from movies and songs to fill space. I would rea Finally. I would really only recommend this book to those who have an addict in their lives; it will probably provide them with a lot of comfort. I didn't get much out of it. Oh boy, this was not an easy book to read, but I won't be quick to forget it either.

Sheff tells a moving, though deeply unsettling account of his son's drug addiction, how he as a father coped with it, and how it affected his family. I'll need a while to really digest Beautiful Boy, but I do want to read the son's account, Tweak by Nic Sheff , to try to understand the experience from his view.

The point Sheff got across was just how hard it is to help someone with addiction, how draining it is Oh boy, this was not an easy book to read, but I won't be quick to forget it either. The point Sheff got across was just how hard it is to help someone with addiction, how draining it is on every level to watch someone you love more than anything descend gain and again into the darkest places and to feel your hopes rise and then die again as well.

I felt such deep sympathy for both the father and the son, all the while being so frustrated by Nic's perpetual relapses. But it just shows that even people with loving families are not exempt from drug addiction. I'll be thinking about this book for some time to come and definitely recommend it. View 2 comments. I want to light this book on fire, then stab out the chunks of my brain that remember this book. David Sheff's emotional illiteracy is astounding.

Case in point: at some point after Nic has his th relapse, David and Jasper go for a hike together. Here is a perfect opportunity for a father to talk about some really important and scary events with his youngest son, and instead the conversation goes like this: David: -manly silence- Jasper: "You're worried about Nic, aren't you? The book is just littered with I'm-getting-paid-per-word filler.

My favorite passage is on page "After summer hours, mornings are a challenge, but we get the kids to school on time today. I'm writing. I'm writing again after being unable to write a word. This afternoon, Jasper has soccer I read this because I saw the author, David Sheff, talking about it on Oprah, and because I have children close in age to his son; although I was fortunate enough to avoid the hell of parenting an addicted kid, I have been there with many of my friends, and with friends of my kids'.

There's nothing new in this story - the "plot", such as it is, is painfully familiar to so many of us baby-boomers as our own children reached the danger years. The strength of this story is in the aut Gut-wrenching! The strength of this story is in the author's honesty about the unspeakable, at times unbearable, pain suffered by the father of an addict as he tries to roll with the punches his beloved son gives out.

I think that unless you are a parent yourself perhaps you can't fully understand the horror of seeing your child, your very own child whom you have loved more than the universe itself, descend into the nightmare of addiction: the helplessness, the all-consuming nature of the distress, the way it reaches into every corner of your life, even causing you at times to sacrifice all the good things you may have going for you - Sheff's story is so raw and brutal that I could physically feel my heart being squeezed as I read of his pain. Because here's the secret thing: Sheff's son could have been my child, or the child of any one of us Boomers.

We played with drugs in our own youth, we tried to raise our children in what we thought was a new world, different from that of the generations before us and somehow more promising - but somewhere along the way things went horribly wrong, and so many of our children have descended into a life we would never have thought possible for "one of us".

It is this identification with the pain and bewilderment Sheff feels that made this, for me, a compelling and powerful work. I was lucky - my own children were lucky - and we avoided, by the grace of who-knows-what-power, the misery of addiction, but in my heart I know that with a few fairly simple twists of fate it could have been me trying to figure out how to parent an addicted and relapsing child.

This book made me feel so lucky, and so sad for those who weren't. David Sheff is an excellent writer; his ability to articulate his pain makes this book all the more compelling. He has an amazing ability to make this account NOT just another "oh, ain't it awful? We don't need more of those!


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But I do believe that reading this book will bring humility and gratitude to those of us who have only had to witness the struggle as we've seen it in friends, and children of friends, and friends of children, and a rare empathy, if not comfort, to those whose circumstances have brought them more intimately into the struggle. And that's where the power of this book really lies - in its ability to provoke our empathy for both parent and child, because in doing so it enriches our connection, our humanity.

View all 3 comments. The writing was good, but I couldn't stop thinking that rich people are very lucky. Thier kids can be drug addicts and not go to jail. It would have been better if the author had really acknowledged that. The recently released movie, Beautiful Boy, is based on a pair of memoirs from father and son David and Nic Sheff that chronicle, from each of their points of view, the heartbreaking experience of survival, relapse, and recovery in a family coping with addiction over many years.

I have combined my review for both books into one review.

I admire both the father and son for being willing to share their stories in a very public way, and my heart went out to them. Parenting is messy. Divorce is messy. Teen years are messy. Mental health is messy. The availability and addictive nature of drugs like meth is extremely messy. But it's such a unique experience to see this type of experience told from two viewpoints, so I recommend reading both books - they are very distinct. The father, David Sheff, is a journalist and writer and that comes across in how complete of a story he tells.

The father has a maturity that enables him to see a bigger picture, to reflect upon all the different aspects, and to have integrity in telling this story. The depth of the father's love for his son permeates the book, even when he has to make extraordinarily difficult decisions in dealing with his son's addiction. The son's book is not as polished, but is unflinchingly honest. Nic Sheff was still only in his early 20's when he wrote his book, and he had experienced multiple relapses back into drugs.

At the time of writing his book, Nick did not yet have the maturity or the distance to write a balanced story. But he writes with intense honesty, sharing ALL the ugly of his drug addiction. It was hard to read about it, with lots of trigger warnings- lots of drugs, lots of sex, lots of lying, lots of selfish destructive behavior. Nick does share some deep insights that he begins to learn going through this, but you can tell it will be more years before he can apply those insights consistently to live a clean life.

At the end of this memoir the struggle is still very real for him.


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  8. I wasn't too surprised, but of course saddened, when I read the blurb for his next memoir written 5 years later that he continued to struggle with the cycle of relapsing. Mental health and addiction is such an ugly, messy beast. David and Nic were both so brave, and honest, and real with sharing their story. It's an important story to talk about. I hope that the Sheff story will help those other families not feel so alone, and that it will ignite more conversation on these serious topics. Shelves: worth-reading-again , own , sad-but-good , memoir. For people close to an addict: Read this book if you have not yet realized that you are not alone.

    Obviously I'm aware that I'm not the only person out there with an addict in the family. However after reading this book, I realize that I'm not alone in feeling completely confused, furious, wronged, neglected, saddened, helpless, judged, torn, and exhausted, not to mention a million other things when dealing with my always recovering drug addicted sister.

    David Sheff represents the wrath of addic For people close to an addict: Read this book if you have not yet realized that you are not alone. David Sheff represents the wrath of addiction so well I felt as though he was describing my family - my sister. Read this book and perhaps you might not feel just so crazy as you did before because you just didn't know what to do. Don't worry - None of us do. Read this book and it might just make you have a bit more hope, which is all you can really control when it comes to addiction.

    Bravo to David Sheff for giving an honest voice to the other victims of addiction. You all are not alone. I admire David for writing it. What I learned from this book? I've seldom been quite so thrilled for a book to be finished, not least of all because this author is one of the most hideously self-obsessed and self-congratulatory people I've ever had the displeasure to spend way too much virtual time with. Nothing that the addicted son, nor either of his other two children, nor he himsel What I learned from this book?

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    Nothing that the addicted son, nor either of his other two children, nor he himself has ever done isn't noteworthy enough to dote on laudatorily as though no kid in the history of humanity has ever done a halfway creative book report or messed around with Garage Band to make a song before, even if it has no narrative or even emotional purpose in furthering the book. Relatedly, it's a boomer nightmare of "I'm not your dad, I'm your best friend, little dude! I'm cool, right? Grammatically sound, etc. There is not a strong emotional connection. Recommended to Kerri by: D bought it, but hasn't read it.

    Shelves: non-fiction. A tough read, an easy read. A father's account of his son's addiction to meth among other things , but there's so much in here that's familiar to anyone who's known someone addicted to anything. The same things that make me consider this book "just okay" the repetition of themes, the over-dramaticism, the self-absorption are the same things that make it so realistic and relatable to anyone who's had with an addict in their lives.

    He does a good jo 3. He does a good job of capturing the paradoxes of addiction; all these conflicts that just don't add up in any logical way: You have no control It's a disease; it's not their fault The literary quality of the book's debatable. A bit dramatic and self-aggrandizing. But at the same time, I think it perfectly depicts the mental state of the author. I have a hard time looking at the book objectively. Other than the fact that I have a recovering addict in my own life, the book takes place in all the places I know, and I always have an affinity for those.

    The author leaves us with hope and tools for coping but not certainty, which is exactly how it should be. It's not the best work of non-fiction, but any stretch, but I'd pretty much recommend it to anyone. So here is a sad, beautiful book about a father who loves his son so much but he was struggling with drug addiction.

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    And he suffered from the guilt of letting his family down. This is in the father's perspective. If you want to read his son's perspective read Tweak. The main thing to realize when it comes to drug addiction is that it can affect anyone from any background. You don't have to be someone living in a bowery or in a crack house to be an addict.

    Someone can come from a rich family, or a So here is a sad, beautiful book about a father who loves his son so much but he was struggling with drug addiction. Someone can come from a rich family, or a respectable one with a good amount of money and a decent education and still end up an addict. It doesn't make you a bad person either. It's difficult. Addicts need help, but how to help them is frustrating and tricky. This is what David Sheff goes through with his son.

    It affects his other children too and his new wife as well as his ex. An addict doesn't do drugs and struggle in isolation. The main feeling he suffers is one of hopelessness. Do you abduct your child and drag them off to treatment? Leave them to suffer on the street without giving them a dime knowing he'll just use it for drugs?

    There's no easy answers. But this book and Nic's book can help millions so that is a good thing. This is a grueling and sad account of a family torn apart when a beloved son with a promising future becomes addicted to alcohol and meth one of the worst of all drugs because it permanently alters your brain. I read this after watching the grueling and heartbreaking movie of the same name.

    I am again filled with sadness for all of them. Why did I do this to myself?! Now I'm off to listen to the son's account because I crave more torture, apparently. I know. Drug and alcohol addiction is an un-biased monster. It affects all walks of life. I know this. Not to say that Nic, who now allegedly lives a drug and alcohol-free life, should have wound up impoverished and working menial jobs And I understand there is no choice in how you grow up— whether it be wealthy or paycheck-to-paycheck.

    What happened to tough love? Just another young, rich white guy living off mommy and daddy in NYC, except with a terrible meth habit. The particulars of my story are different, but the overall ugly truths are not. Nic has, again, opportunities that far exceed most. I get it. It instills a message of disingenuous smugness, even if only meant in a harmless way. Something else to point out: The book itself is overlong.

    What started as an article in a newspaper, grew into a story that was stretched far beyond its own parameters, in what felt like an effort to fill pages. You mentally never stop being an addict; you only stop physically being one. This is a story that, even with its flaws, is one worth telling. There are many valuable insights here— for parents, brothers and sisters, friends, spouses, and children of addicts. The drug epidemic in America is just that: an epidemic! Until the war on drugs in this country is won or made somewhat less catastrophic , we can strive to erase the stigma against addicts and recovering addicts, and help the populace that is in recovery by supporting them however we can and for as long as we can.

    May 31, Bookworm rated it really liked it. As a parent with teenagers, I found David Sheff's words to be impactful and thought-provoking. Every parent's worst nightmare is to lose a child - drug addiction is essentially that. One's child is essentially gone and the disease takes their place. The incessant worrying and attempts to control your child's addiction hit a chord for me. David does a wonderful job sharing his experience as a parent.

    What he felt, thought, exper 4. What he felt, thought, experienced, learned I could relate and felt so much compassion for him and his family. I also thought he framed the nature of drug addiction in a matter-of-fact and relatable way. I will say that I was curious to know more about the impact that his affair and divorce of his son's mother had on his son. He touches on it but it felt a little glossed over.

    I watched an interview with his son who admitted that he used drugs initially to cope with pain and self-hatred. Wish the story had delved into that a little more. Absolutely worth reading, though. Such a sad and tragic situation for the whole family. I really felt for them. I'm struggling with this review. I am making an exception and breaking one of my own rules. But this book was so irritating to me. It felt like the author was looking for complete absolution, when there was none needed.

    There didn't seem to be any 'self' honesty, but he had no problems pointing out the faults or ill advice of others. He blamed eve I'm struggling with this review. He blamed everyone and their dog for his son's drug addiction. When he would have an 'almost' honest moment by scrutinizing his own life, he would stop suddenly and back away. Sign in via OpenAthens.

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    Old Password. New Password. Password Changed Successfully Your password has been changed. Returning user. Forget yout Password? If the address matches an existing account you will receive an email with instructions to reset your password Close. Forgot your Username? Enter your email address below and we will send you your username. Back to table of contents. Previous article. Book Forum No Access. Anna Kim Search for more papers by this author. Add to favorites Download Citations Track Citations. By David Sheff. Boston, Houghton Mifflin, , pp.

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    David Sheff. Publisher: Houghton Mifflin , This specific ISBN edition is currently not available. View all copies of this ISBN edition:. Synopsis From as early as grade school, the world seemed to be on Nic Sheff's string. Buy New Learn more about this copy. Other Popular Editions of the Same Title. Search for all books with this author and title. Customers who bought this item also bought.