Friday, December 16, 2011

Guest Post: We All Fall Down: Living with Addiction by Nic Sheff

Nic Sheff and his father, David Sheff, appeared on the addiction/recovery literary scene in January 2009, when they published Tweak and Beautiful Boy, respectively. In We All Fall Down: Living With Addiction, Nic Sheff continues the story of his addiction, this time beginning with a knock on a drug dealer’s door—exactly where he hoped he would never be when he wrote the epilogue to Tweak. We All Fall Down is the story of relapse and the struggle not just to get sober, but also to stay sober or, more accurately, to live sober. Less dramatically drug-fueled than its predecessor, We All Fall Down describes Nic’s tenuous relationship with twelve-step programs (like Alcoholics or Narcotics Anonymous) and with non-substance-related addictions that threaten his sobriety (read: girls. especially newly sober girls).

We All Fall Down is a memoir that resonates with many of the incarcerated youth I work with. When I asked the students about their favorite books, three girls described how they passed We All Fall Down around eagerly. Specifically, they enjoyed the fact that it was “hopeful,” “not just about drugs” and “realistic—it didn’t act like [getting sober] was super easy.” Creative writing and/or English teachers can use sections of this book as an engaging introduction to creative non-fiction and, of course, the value and trappings of such difficult self-exposure. If read alongside his father’s work, students can also get a good sense of how life events are multi-dimensional and of how context impacts how reality is perceived. --Katie MacBride

Katie MacBride is the Young Adult Librarian at the Mill Valley Public Library in Marin County, California. She also volunteers at the Marin County Juvenile Hall, where she brings books and offers reader's advisory services. She teaches a creative writing class at both the public library and the juvenile hall.

No comments: