Thursday, March 1, 2012

Book 9 - The Adderall Diaries by Stephen Elliott

So, I picked up this book by Stephen Elliott expecting it to be the run of the mill memoir about a guy from the streets who has a drug addiction that he kicks and then makes good by becoming what he always dreamed of becoming - in his case a writer - and then writing this particular memoir in order to make sure that other people don't follow those early footsteps (or if they had, to prove to them that they too can achieve their goals). But this memoir isn't like this. It's actually way more complicated (and, by extension, much better). It's not just about Elliott's journey to self-discovery, although he manages to discover himself in the process. He's actually searching for a story that will help him to overcome his writer's block. His "official" story is about a murder that has occurred and the two people that are suspects in it - a soon to be ex-husband and his ex's new boyfriend. This search leads him through the wasteland of his childhood (in which he is a ward of the court and abused/neglected by his father) and his current addiction to Adderall (which he takes in pill form and snorts) and his penchant for S/M sexual relationships. No matter where he looks, though, he can't get around the demon of his father - all the paths that he takes seems to lead there.

I liked this more than I thought that I would. It's not a confessional, tell-all type of thing - more of the process of getting there then anything else and that was refreshing because the tell all memoirs can sometimes become very...old for lack of a better term. I thought it was also a creative take on the memoir genre. It used a real life murder trial to delve into and explore personal demons and that was brilliant, because it was different. It is, therefore, honest, raw and heart wrenching by turns. Elliott remains true to himself and the memories, as he remembers and feels about them. They're not sugar coated or filtered. They just are. And that is also what makes this memoir so interesting. Don't get me wrong, this memoir is sometimes disjointed and is more stream of consciousness or a mix of short stories held together by Elliott's reports of the murder trial, which act as the glue for the whole memoir.

I felt like this memoir was sincere and honest and I really enjoyed it. Go out and get it right now!

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for reviewing my son's book. He was a ward of the court age 16-17. If you will read his blog entries in Rumpus, you will see him describe his childhood as "fantastic...full of adventure" and his home as "permissive". He says, "I was never punished..."


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