Hey, remember me? I’m the guy who last year attempted to write a blog every week, as per the WordPress challenge. I failed. I missed it by one.
So this year I decided that I was only going to write a blog about things that mattered to me; important things, as well as cataloging my adventures… and I’ve got some absolute gems coming up.
But, back to this blog. I’ve never blogged a book review before, despite being tempted many a time; but this time I have to. I want to. I need to. If you know anything about me, you’ll know that Marni Mann is one of my tightest friends in the world of writing – as well as being a good personal friend of mine. And if you know anything about her, you’ll know that she has written a book:
Ok, wait wait wait… yes she is one of my best friends, but don’t go expecting me to pull my old chap out and start gushing about how great the book is. You’re gonna read an honest review… a review with a little bit of a difference.
Because, y’see, the world that her book is set in, is the real world.
Nicole Brown is a young girl, heading for Boston with her friend Eric as they leave Bangor behind them. Now, I’m not sure if Marni intended for the surname ‘Brown’ for her leading character, but ‘brown’ is also a nickname for heroin here in the UK, so it’s a nice touch either way.
Nicole is running from her her home, AKA The Hole, and trying to erase the memory of a drug-rape she endured at the hands of two men. Many a user ingests drugs to escape from Real Life. I’ve been there, done it, worn the t-shirt, and kept on wearing it until it become so faded and worn that I had to buy myself another one. And matching pants.
They reach Boston, and have soon stepped up from weed and pills to the old Marching Powder, aka cocaine. The duo and their work colleague, Renee, are soon playing more bugle than a brass section (oh boy, you Americans are gonna really struggle with some of my English-isms!) (but I’m sure you’ll get the gist).
Nicole’s life rolls spectacularly downhill after this, but I’m not in the business of ruining peoples’ enjoyment of reading the book, so you’ll have to buy it yourself from here (if you live in the US) or from here (if you live in the UK/Europe). Those of us this side of the pond are in for a treat at that ridiculously low price! You can also grab it on Kindle, and Amazon will even send you the first chapter free for you to try, on your phone or PC.
One of my favourite aspects of the book, is how realistis the depiction of drug-taking is. I remember the first time I did drugs; mushrooms with a guy older than me who I used to skip school and hang out with. He got me into pills, weed, and acid, and my late-teen years were one great big fucking mess.
But going back to the mushrooms; I dropped them, walked up the high street marveling at all the bright, fantastic colours… and then bumped into my mum. Heck, my mum’s been involved before. Once I got smashed on vodka and valium and drove my car around the local canoe lake…not around the outside, but the inside of it where people walked! And then I parked my car right outside the swimming pool doors… and locked myself out. And my mum had to come rescue my ass.
Marni’s depth on what effects drugs have are honest, sincere, and very well researched. It’s not my place to ask her how far she ‘went’ in her quest for true-effectiveness, but – as a dabbler in narcotics over the years – I can honestly attest that every reaction to the drugs in the book is true. At least in my own experience.
From the ants crawling under Nicole’s skin while on ecstasy, to the wired-buzz on coke, to the comatose-effect of weed, I’ve been there and experienced it all, as I’m sure many, many of us have. Everyone experiments…
…but Nicole’s is a story of someone – like myself – who succumbs to peer-pressure and finds herself spiraling downward; being dragged under by others and her own weak-willed inability to find help for herself, despite her family’s attempted interventions.
The journey she takes is both harrowing and uneasy to read at times; with the people in her life using her as they wish, and more than once she finds herself selling her body on the streets to raise enough money just to buy enough drugs to straighten herself out.
And the end, when it arrives, is strong, powerful, and heart-rending.
If you’ve ever done any sort of drugs then I urge you to read this, and see if the tale resonates somewhere inside of you.
If you have never done drugs, then read this, and know that you were right to have never touched them.
And read it soon, as the sequel is already underway…