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In the book Beautiful Boy David Sheff the father describes his and his family’s experience dealing with his son Nic who is addicted to the drug crystal meth. In telling his story David takes us down memory lane to the beginning of his life with his first wife who gives birth to his son Nic.
In this book I think that David Sheff lays down a great foundation into the life of his son Nic. He tells us how brilliant Nic is, that Nic has a great imagination and that all of his teachers thinks that he is a very smart and intelligent boy.
But on the other hand he also lets us know that Nic is torn between the fact that he has to live two lives, one with his father and one with his mother.
In the beginning it was good because his mother did not live to far from him but when she relocates things get a little more complicated. David Sheff is a writer who has published articles in many well known magazines, he had books published on cultural phenomena while telling his and Nic story he takes us through the rise of Nintendo, the beginning of the Mario Brothers video game by the sheer talent that he shares he keeps the reader intrigued throughout the book.
From the beginning of the book I think that David blames himself for Nic’s addiction. Throughout the book David questions himself about some of the things that he did with Nic as a young child and when he was fully into his addiction. Some key questions that came out was during the divorce proceedings was he being selfish in the fact that he wanted Nic to live with him or did he truly want this or was this just a way to get back at Nic’s mother because of the failure of their marriage.
By his own admission and the fact that they had to let a court decide on who Nic would stay with I can only imagine that this was a very hard divorce for Nic to have to go through. Also in making this decision did David or Nic’s mother take into consideration what effect their fighting had on Nic? As the person writing this book David Sheff looks back at Nic’s life wondering how the road to addiction began, and if there was anything that he could have done to prevent it. David questions himself about many of the choices that he made in Nic’s life.
Some of them good and some of them I had a difficult time understanding. For instance was it really a good idea for his mother to move so far away from her child and then force him to travel back and forth between his home with his father to his mother’s house in Los Angeles, where he basically living his life on his on.. As a young child was this too much for Nic to handle let alone truly understand. Was it a good idea for David to take Nic to see Nirvana which was a rock band where the lead singer was addicted to heroin and later overdosed and died, whose death really affected Nic.
Or was it a good thing for David to share with Nic at such a young age about his abuse of drugs and alcohol when he was in high school and college. Throughout this book David second guesses himself a lot. I feel that one of the most controversy things in the book was when they were visiting family and David and Nic went out for a walk and he was talking to his son about his drug use and Nic asks him if he wants to smoke some weed and David does.
Now some of David’s actions can be considered confusing because maybe Nic was thinking that you did drugs when you were in high school and college and look you turned out alright or the fact that he thinks it is ok to do drugs because my dad actually smoked some weed with me. In this novel you notice that a majority of David’s time is sitting at home waiting for his son Nic to return home.
During this time he is worrying himself sick about if this would be the night that he gets the call that his son is in the hospital or been in an accident, overdosed or even dead. After noticing the fully addictive state of his son David is very supportive of Nic even after he relapses numerous times David is still there for him. Another aspect of this story is we know how Nic’s drug abuse affects his father, mother and step-mother, but how is his addiction effecting his younger siblings Jasper and Daisy.
Will they start to resent Nic for his addiction because they are missing out on so much time with their parents and on the personal time that they used to spend with Nic before his addiction. This book even though it is a reflection of Nic’s addiction, I truly believe that this book was about David’s quest on how to handle his son’s addiction and when he finally realize that he needs to focus on what is best for his family and himself and that he have to let Nic choose what type of life he wants to live.
As much as David wanted to help Nic fight his addiction which he comes to realize is a disease, he really can’t because David is a atheist and this in itself is a roadblock to Nic’s recovery because it contradicts with Step 2 of the 12 Step program which states “Come to believe that a Power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity”, and the reason for this is because Nic has adopted his father’s value system.
Overall I think that this book was a very insightful into the trials and tribulations that a family goes through when dealing with someone who is addicted to drugs or alcohol. As I was reading this book some of the things that David did I recognized as some of the same things that my family did when my sister was addicted to drugs. Davis was an enabler to his son addiction, maybe not intentionally but by making excuses for his son drug use and his behavior. I feel that once David realized that no matter what he did he was not able to help his son.
I feel that this book will be able to help someone in the future when they are dealing with a love one that is addicted to drugs. As far as this class I think is a great read fir any course that a person may take that would deal with alcohol and drug abuse. This book will educate you, it will give you a greater understanding it will have travel down the road with Nic to the brink of despair only to bring/guide you back to a place of sanity. This book will help you to express yourself when you feel that all hope is gone.