Saturday, March 5, 2011

Reading challenge

I'm adding another candle to my Time Machine reading challenge but it's not what you'd call 'happy'.  Oh, my.  What a depressing book.

This is not the first William S Burroughs that I've read.  But I was a lot younger when I read the others and I was too sophisticated to be shocked.  Nor did I have any sense that this story was relevant to my life in any way.  Having seen more of life now, I'm so saddened by the reality of his account of life as an addict.  Although, if he hadn't lived this way, the book couldn't have been written.  And, I believe, it needed to be written.  It still needs to be read.  It's so easy for anyone to be dependent on drugs.  Maybe easier today than in the 1950's.  I couldn't find anything cool here. Probably should be required reading in schools. 

Of course, the main topic is drug use and abuse.  But I also got glimpsesof  a time that I used to read about in the newspapers when I was much younger. The cities - New York, New Orleans - with much smaller populations and the definite feel of what we would think of as towns.  Descriptions of police procedures and government policies which made me think of Elliot Ness.  The lingo of the beats and hips - much of it remaining as part of our language heritage.  Burroughs is a good story teller and one of America's great writers.  It's just too bad that I feel I have to go have a bath after reading this book.

Next author up:  Saul Bellow


April said...

Depressing book - Oh no! Good for you for finishing it. Drugs do seem more prevalent now affecting people from all walks of life. It makes me want to cry when I think of all the wasted lives.

Ginny said...

Of course I know the author, but have not heard of this particular book. Makes me think of poor Charlie Sheen and his tiger blood rants. Someone said that were he not famous, he would be in jail now, I remember when his dad ratted him out to the police many years ago to save hs life. Too bad someone can't just commit him, but I guess it is true, you have to really WANT to change yourself, and he is still living the high life, so why should he change?

EmptyNester said...

Maybe I should give it a read...Hub's sister is very drug dependent. And it gets worse with each passing year--now that their mother passed away, they are seeing things clearer.

J.G. said...

Bad experiences can make good literature, but those books aren't fun to read. Your review nicely captures why maybe we should read them anyway (sometimes, at least). Better to read it than to live it, that's for sure.

Your 3rd candle is up and glowing.


Blog Widget by LinkWithin