STRAIGHT LINES by Gregory Sacchet


A Story of Illness, Addiction and Redemption
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In this debut memoir, Sacchet recounts his descent into cocaine addiction.

The book begins with a telling incident: the 30-something author walking in the snow with a broken leg in order to buy cocaine. It then backtracks to describe his diagnosis of multiple sclerosis at the age of 23. The symptoms’ unpredictability played a large role in what Sacchet calls his “physical and psychological agony.” A friend “of ill-repute” introduced him to cocaine, and under the sway of another friend, the author began using the drug more and more frequently. Still, he assured himself that he wasn’t a true addict, because “at least I was earning a living.” He began making drug buys in a dangerous neighborhood and driving home high. He never told his wife about his addiction, even after she gave birth to the couple’s son, and he continued to live “a double life.” About one-third of the way through his memoir, the author mentions his childhood diagnosis of Tourette’s syndrome and asserts that self-consciousness caused by the condition propelled him into joining a gang as a teenager. At 35, the author’s neurological problems forced him to stop working, but he continued to use cocaine; finally, after 13 years of addiction, he was arrested while making a drug buy. He was deeply shaken when his wife refused to remain in the marriage—“she was all I had left”—and he vowed never to use drugs again. He trained for less demanding work, got a job and did indeed stop using, realizing that “I couldn’t risk losing more than I had already lost” and that recovery is “just...a decision.” Although this memoir is often perceptive, Sacchet relates some of his teenage escapades at somewhat disproportionate length, including details of street life and drug deals, as well as events in the lives of unsavory friends. Much of this material might have been omitted, and overall, this briskly paced narrative might have been strengthened by some pruning. That said, he powerfully tells of the havoc that cocaine addiction created in his life and his eventual recovery.

An often engaging, if somewhat overlong, memoir.

Pub Date: Sept. 4th, 2013
ISBN: 978-1492250074
Page count: 156pp
Publisher: CreateSpace
Program: Kirkus Indie
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