A harrowing memoir of addiction and recovery.

LOST IN GHOST TOWN

A MEMOIR OF ADDICTION, REDEMPTION, AND HOPE IN UNLIKELY PLACES

A Hollywood psychologist’s account of his drug addiction and poverty and of his clean-and-sober return.

From the outside, Stout’s early life seemed perfect. Yet behind the privilege was unhappiness: Both of his parents drank excessively, and his father was more absent than present. As a preteen, the author experimented with alcohol and marijuana; before he was a teenager, he became bulimic. After his parents sent him to a prestigious boarding school in New Hampshire, Stout attached himself to a popular older student who introduced him to cocaine. Living in New York after college, reckless and without direction, the author exhausted his trust fund on a penthouse and spent most of his nights drinking and snorting cocaine with A-list actors and celebrities. “We were oversexed, libido-driven twenty-somethings without regular jobs to go to in the morning,” he writes. “We drank and laughed and carried on like we were invincible.” A few years later, Stout moved to Los Angeles, where he began his slide into crack addiction. By 2003, he was living in a part of Venice called “Ghost Town,” named for the addict “ghosts” who haunted the streets. Without a job and almost homeless, he became a driver for a Shoreline Crips drug lord named Flyn who offered Stout the brotherly comfort and support he lacked. The author’s situation became even more dire after he became a drug runner for another Crip named Trech. Seeking a way out of the drug life but not sure how to proceed, Stout helped a woman he loved—who also happened to be Trech’s favorite prostitute—escape back home to Detroit. After Trech hunted him down and almost killed him, Stout finally left Los Angeles and returned to the East Coast, where he began the long road to recovery. Raw and engaging, this is both a cautionary tale about the hidden costs of privilege and a testament to one man’s eventual willingness to change to save himself.

A harrowing memoir of addiction and recovery.

Pub Date: March 10, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-7573-2354-6

Page Count: 256

Publisher: Health Communications

Review Posted Online: Nov. 20, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2019

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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 48 LAWS OF POWER

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...

NIGHT

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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