Beautiful Boy

Tomorrow, I’m going to facilitate a discussion group of First Year Students around David Sheff’s memoir, Beautiful Boy.  I liked Beautiful Boy, even though addict (or parent of addict) memoirs aren’t one of my favorite genres.  Sheff really focuses on the details and specifics of his family, so I felt like I had a clear understanding of his son Nic–the music he liked to listen to, his favorite clothes, and where he liked to surf.  I’m looking forward to tomorrow’s discussion and hearing more from the new students.  This week, I’ve fortuitously encountered a few articles that mention the Sheffs in light of Julie Myerson’s The Lost Child, which her son (the book’s subject) rejects as being an incomplete and unfair story. It certainly made me think that being a writer’s family member could be tough, particularly if you cling to your privacy.   If anyone else has read Beautiful Boy, I’d like to hear your take too!

4 thoughts on “Beautiful Boy”

  1. Have you read the son’s memoir as well? It’s gotten less hype than Beautiful Boy has but I think it would be really interesting to read the same basic story from two different perspectives.

  2. I haven’t read Nic’s memoir, which is called “Tweak.” But I imagine it would be interesting to read his perspective on what was going on. I read that in “Tweak” he also talks about things his father didn’t know he experienced–prostituting himself for drugs, the details of living on the streets and many other close shaves.

  3. The discussion went well! The students had a number of interesting things to say. Some shared their own experiences and the difficulties of having friends with substance abuse problems. Some were also skeptical of David’s perspective–thinking there was more to the story that he might have edited out. (In “Tweak,” Nic says that his parents divorced because his father had an affair, which David skirts in “Beautiful Boy”–he says that he and his first wife fell out of love, and that he fell in love with another friend of their’s.) And David’s coming to speak on September 10th at Matthews Arena: I’m returning “Beautiful Boy” to the Library today, and I’d encourage anyone interested to check it out!

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