there is nothing more boring than a junkie. a drunk will put on a good show; stumble around, maybe vomit explosively, and most drunks, even serious drunks, manage to retain a certain charm which allows them to successfully cadge drinks. cokeheads and speedfreaks are capable of carrying on conversations, even if half the time it is difficult to follow their logic. but at least they’re trying, and you can always just watch their teeth grind. people on hallucinogens (do people still do those anymore?), all you need is a flashlight and a wall, and they can entertain for hours. but junkies. they are just really obstacles to step over on your way to the bathroom – not entertaining at all. selfish, really. and junkie fiction is usually the lowest of the low in terms of entertainment value. either it’s shock value “look at what people are willing to do for a fix” tales, or glossily redemptive “look at my transformation.” yawn.
that being said,
i fucking love this book. and i’ve given up utterly on its ever coming back into print. there were rumors of her writing a second book, which have also seemed to evaporate. so i give up on that, too. and i ordinarily wouldn’t dig this book because it is, it’s a drug narrative. but it’s about all manner of self-destructive behavior and squalor but with moments of heartbreaking tenderness. and yes, the narrator is very articulate which is odd for a junkie, but it’s not the same kind of articulate in-your-faceness that is in, say, special topics in calamity physics. it’s not treacly or perky. it’s nihilistic self-loathing jewish rage. it’s a sexually brutal entanglement with a plumber, a misplaced religious/racial identity, the obligatory AIDS-character, the power of chain gang music, and lesbian peach pie.
but nicole richie’s novel is still in print. amazing.