An adequate recovery memoir.



A walk on the wild side of Los Angeles rock, as a junkie musician-turned–celebrity rehab counselor tells the story of his recovery, while suggesting that he still has some issues.

In 12-step programs, these stories of hitting bottom and bouncing back are informally known as a “drunkalogues.” This is more of a “drugalogue,” though there was plenty of alcoholic excess in the boyhood of Forrest, who fronted cult band Thelonious Monster while sinking deeper into the abyss of his heroin addiction. “I was on an endless rehab roller coaster, and the cure never took,” writes the author, now 15 years clean and better known as the sidekick on Celebrity Rehab with Dr. Drew. “I just loved drugs too much.” Yet the overdose death of actor River Phoenix (a night vividly described here), the ravages suffered by fellow musicians and the downward spiral of his own life finally brought the author to a point where his survival instinct and self-loathing overpowered his love of drugs. After more than 20 attempts at getting clean, he finally found himself on the path to sobriety. It was apparently a good career move, as he tells about his TV salary of “$5,000 a week with a 10 percent annual increase.” Yet Forrest admits that “much of the recovery industry is riddled with corruption” and that he has a “difficulty with that Hollywood glitzy, exploitative aspect” of the reality TV recovery series. He also doesn’t express a whole lot of remorse for impregnating one 16-year-old and introducing another to heroin: “What can I say? The truth is I like younger women. I always have.” In what passes here for a happy ending, after warning of the risks of two addicts in recovery becoming involved and telling how one counselor lost his career by sleeping with a patient, he relates how he lost a job but gained a wife after romancing one of his own patients.

An adequate recovery memoir.

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 2013

ISBN: 978-0-7704-3598-1

Page Count: 304

Publisher: Crown Archetype

Review Posted Online: Aug. 3, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2013

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If the authors are serious, this is a silly, distasteful book. If they are not, it’s a brilliant satire.


The authors have created a sort of anti-Book of Virtues in this encyclopedic compendium of the ways and means of power.

Everyone wants power and everyone is in a constant duplicitous game to gain more power at the expense of others, according to Greene, a screenwriter and former editor at Esquire (Elffers, a book packager, designed the volume, with its attractive marginalia). We live today as courtiers once did in royal courts: we must appear civil while attempting to crush all those around us. This power game can be played well or poorly, and in these 48 laws culled from the history and wisdom of the world’s greatest power players are the rules that must be followed to win. These laws boil down to being as ruthless, selfish, manipulative, and deceitful as possible. Each law, however, gets its own chapter: “Conceal Your Intentions,” “Always Say Less Than Necessary,” “Pose as a Friend, Work as a Spy,” and so on. Each chapter is conveniently broken down into sections on what happened to those who transgressed or observed the particular law, the key elements in this law, and ways to defensively reverse this law when it’s used against you. Quotations in the margins amplify the lesson being taught. While compelling in the way an auto accident might be, the book is simply nonsense. Rules often contradict each other. We are told, for instance, to “be conspicuous at all cost,” then told to “behave like others.” More seriously, Greene never really defines “power,” and he merely asserts, rather than offers evidence for, the Hobbesian world of all against all in which he insists we live. The world may be like this at times, but often it isn’t. To ask why this is so would be a far more useful project.

If the authors are serious, this is a silly, distasteful book. If they are not, it’s a brilliant satire.

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 1998

ISBN: 0-670-88146-5

Page Count: 430

Publisher: Viking

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 1998

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The author's youthfulness helps to assure the inevitable comparison with the Anne Frank diary although over and above the...


Elie Wiesel spent his early years in a small Transylvanian town as one of four children. 

He was the only one of the family to survive what Francois Maurois, in his introduction, calls the "human holocaust" of the persecution of the Jews, which began with the restrictions, the singularization of the yellow star, the enclosure within the ghetto, and went on to the mass deportations to the ovens of Auschwitz and Buchenwald. There are unforgettable and horrifying scenes here in this spare and sombre memoir of this experience of the hanging of a child, of his first farewell with his father who leaves him an inheritance of a knife and a spoon, and of his last goodbye at Buchenwald his father's corpse is already cold let alone the long months of survival under unconscionable conditions. 

The author's youthfulness helps to assure the inevitable comparison with the Anne Frank diary although over and above the sphere of suffering shared, and in this case extended to the death march itself, there is no spiritual or emotional legacy here to offset any reader reluctance.

Pub Date: Jan. 16, 2006

ISBN: 0374500010

Page Count: 120

Publisher: Hill & Wang

Review Posted Online: Oct. 7, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2006

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