LOST IN GHOST TOWN

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

A harrowing memoir of addiction and recovery.

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: HCI Books

Review Posted Online: Nov. 19, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2019

NIGHT

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

THE PURSUIT OF HAPPYNESS

FROM MEAN STREETS TO WALL STREET

Well-told and admonitory.

Young-rags-to-mature-riches memoir by broker and motivational speaker Gardner.

Born and raised in the Milwaukee ghetto, the author pulled himself up from considerable disadvantage. He was fatherless, and his adored mother wasn’t always around; once, as a child, he spied her at a family funeral accompanied by a prison guard. When beautiful, evanescent Moms was there, Chris also had to deal with Freddie “I ain’t your goddamn daddy!” Triplett, one of the meanest stepfathers in recent literature. Chris did “the dozens” with the homies, boosted a bit and in the course of youthful adventure was raped. His heroes were Miles Davis, James Brown and Muhammad Ali. Meanwhile, at the behest of Moms, he developed a fondness for reading. He joined the Navy and became a medic (preparing badass Marines for proctology), and a proficient lab technician. Moving up in San Francisco, married and then divorced, he sold medical supplies. He was recruited as a trainee at Dean Witter just around the time he became a homeless single father. All his belongings in a shopping cart, Gardner sometimes slept with his young son at the office (apparently undiscovered by the night cleaning crew). The two also frequently bedded down in a public restroom. After Gardner’s talents were finally appreciated by the firm of Bear Stearns, his American Dream became real. He got the cool duds, hot car and fine ladies so coveted from afar back in the day. He even had a meeting with Nelson Mandela. Through it all, he remained a prideful parent. His own no-daddy blues are gone now.

Well-told and admonitory.

Pub Date: June 1, 2006

ISBN: 0-06-074486-3

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Amistad/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2006

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