Beautiful Boy by David Scheff

Beautiful Boy: A Father's Journey Through His Son's Meth Addiction Beautiful Boy: A Father’s Journey Through His Son’s Meth Addiction by David Sheff

Recommended by: Brenda Coseo

Reading about addiction is a difficult to thing to endure, but like addiction itself, making your way through a book like Beautiful Boy is a reward seldom experienced. David Scheff’s son Nic is lying, stealing, and living on the streets to support his methamphetamine addiction at age 17. David must endure the trauma of watching his son dive into the spiral of addiction but his heroic struggle to escape it.

I want to say something like ‘this is not a book for those who are inexperienced with addiction and will be shocked by stories of drug use’ but perhaps those most inexperienced with addiction will be removed enough to appreciate the heroics and struggles of David Scheff and his son. If, however, one were to read this book with reference or memory to a personal experience with addiction (be it popsicles, aerospace museums or sandwiches), David Scheff seems to me like a true saint who provides intimate details of the successes and failures of his son barely surviving his addiction while connecting his condition to the national pandemic of meth addiction. However, I wonder if much of the poignancy and import of this book escapes those who are inexperienced with addiction (or perhaps parenting). David Scheff, a journalist by trade, perfectly re-creates his son’s struggle. He is knowledgeable enough to know the universal experience of the disease that is addiction, but aware also of the persistent importance of individual narratives of addiction, which he is willing to provide and in so doing contribute to the endless and very necessary storyline of addiction/recovery narratives.

Beautiful Boy is important for everyone because it warns against silence about drugs: silent parents not discussing drugs with children, silent teachers not educating students about drugs, and a silent society criminalizing and exiling into prisons those addicted to drugs. Beautiful Boy proclaims that the only necessary reward for the father for his struggle with his son’s addiction is his son’s recovery, his son’s return to himself, and in this proclamation the book forces us to explore the image of a society that would – like a father or mother – choose to care for and heal those stricken by meth addiction.



3 responses to “Beautiful Boy by David Scheff

  1. Sandwich addiction is no joke. I think I hit rock bottom when the Submarina up and left town before I ever got to partake..I went on a Potbelly and Quiznos bender, waking up several days later with lettuce in my hair.

    That’s when I knew I had a problem..

  2. Jerri Anne Rees

    Beautiful Boy, is a book for everyone to read who has a child that is addicted to meth. For me David Scheff discribed my life to a T. in this book he tells how we befome addicted to our childs addiction. The reason is we want to know and understand and help them with what they are going through. The thing is as David lets us know we can only support them in any way we can . They must do the work themselves We can’t do it for them. We can only sit by and wait breathlessley for their recovery.

  3. how is Nik doing now? I have a son Nik’s age in prison for 9 years for drug traffiking crack. I always wonder how Nik is doing….

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