Generational spokesperson Wurtzel (Prozac Nation, 1994, etc.) pens a claustrophobic but surprisingly moving account of her battle with drug addiction.
Like so many contemporary memoirists, Wurtzel celebrates the self and its attendant woes, frequently irritating with her relentless recording of every emotion and reaction, as well as her over-reliance on the personal pronoun. The book begins slowly as she describes how, in 1996, temporarily living in Florida to complete Bitch (1998), she began abusing Ritalin. It had been prescribed to curb her intake of illegal drugs like heroin and cocaine, but she missed the ritual of snorting drugs. So Wurtzel cut her pills in half, extracted the powder, and—presto!—swapped one addiction for another. She connived to get more pills prescribed, compulsively pulled hair out of her legs until she developed infected sores, got arrested for shoplifting, and started snorting coke again. Her behavior became even more manic and erratic back in New York, where she finally holed up in her publisher’s office to finish her book, then checked into a rehab clinic in Connecticut. There, she fell in love with an alcoholic fellow patient and managed to clean up, but within days of checking out, she was back on drugs. Again, Wurtzel vividly details this downward spiral of self-destructive behavior: she flubbed or missed interviews during her book tours, alienated her friends, had an abortion. Somehow she survived and began to take charge of her addiction—a change that redeems her story as well, as its author becomes less of an arrogant, whiny brat and more of a sympathetic adult seasoned by adversity. Wurtzel joined a recovery program for narcotic abusers, attended meetings regularly, and is now not only clean but for the first time ever able to say that she’s happy.
A wake-up call about the abusive potential of Ritalin—and a searing account of a long, deadly dalliance with destruction.