Beautiful Boy: A Father’s Journey Through His Son’s Addiction – David Sheff

4/5 Stars
Reviewed by: Christy (Contributor)
Genre: Biography, Autobiography
Published by: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, February 26, 2008
Pages: 340

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When I heard about this book I was immediately drawn to the storyline and eagerly made my way to the nearest book store to pick it up.

As someone who has seen addiction up close (I think it’s safe to say that most people have) and witnessed how it utterly unravels an entire being and consumes and shatters not only their life, but the lives of everyone around them, I felt an overwhelming need to connect with and read someone else’s attempt at making sense of something that feels impossible to navigate and verbalize on your own.  

“Caring about an addict is as complex and fraught and debilitating as addiction itself.”  – David Sheff

Sheff strings together memories, visceral feelings and personal perspective to build his powerful and compelling narrative that is both truth and exploration of his own family’s challenge with facing unimaginable demons, and the paralyzing fear that coincides with the process of recovery from the viewpoint of an outsider looking in at the dehumanizing disease that is addiction.

David Sheff recounts his son’s ‘fall from grace’, feelings of guilt (what could I have done differently? Is this my fault?) that are inescapable for those who are connected to an addict, and the agonizing internal conflict of trying to discern between the thin line of helping and supporting, being an enabler, or feeling like you’re abandoning someone else when you’re trying to cope and stay above water yourself.

Beautiful Boy is a vulnerable and authentic account of sacrifice, suffering, and the long and unsteady journey towards healing, forgiveness and rebuilding a livable existence as the author struggles to make sense of the chaos and insanity that has become his life.

Reviewed by: Christy (Contributor)