A drug addict-turned-therapist chronicles her journey in this debut memoir.
Holly was a crack-cocaine user for 16 years, and her dependency on the drug contributed to the destruction of two marriages and led to suicide attempts and hospitalization in a psychiatric ward. After achieving sobriety, she earned a master’s degree in psychology and turned toward helping others recover from addiction. In this work, she offers an unflinching remembrance of her life in “crack hell,” with the goal of sharing her story with a wider audience and coming to terms with her drug-ravaged early years: “There are moments when the thought crosses my mind of erasing some if not all of my past,” Holly writes. “But without this disturbing past who would I be today?” The author grew up in a Connecticut housing project. “As a family we had a lot of fun,” she recalls, though there were dark undercurrents of disharmony; her father’s Sunday drinking escalated into a ritual, and her mother, on one occasion, beat her with an extension cord, she says. She entered adulthood with a poor self-image, magnified by feelings of body shame. She started experimenting with marijuana, and later tried crack: “It felt like a ride on a rocket headed towards the stars,” she writes of the first time. “Ecstasy traveled from my head to my toes without missing space in between the two.” Holly is particularly effective at conveying the craving that made her a “full time slave to crack,” devoting most every waking moment to “chasing the dragon.” But the account of her almost-daily encounters with crack gets tedious at times, and she’s somewhat vague about the roots of her addiction, touching only fleetingly on parental neglect, genetics, and poor self-image. Ultimately, however, she shows how she recognized that “What was bad were the choices [I] made,” and that now, at least, she’s made a better choice—“not to relapse. My life has not been perfected.”
A somewhat-repetitive remembrance, but one that powerfully captures the feeling of addiction.
Privately published by Strunk of Cornell in 1918 and revised by his student E. B. White in 1959, that "little book" is back again with more White updatings.
Stricter than, say, Bergen Evans or W3 ("disinterested" means impartial — period), Strunk is in the last analysis (whoops — "A bankrupt expression") a unique guide (which means "without like or equal").
Noted jazz and pop record producer Thiele offers a chatty autobiography. Aided by record-business colleague Golden, Thiele traces his career from his start as a ``pubescent, novice jazz record producer'' in the 1940s through the '50s, when he headed Coral, Dot, and Roulette Records, and the '60s, when he worked for ABC and ran the famous Impulse! jazz label. At Coral, Thiele championed the work of ``hillbilly'' singer Buddy Holly, although the only sessions he produced with Holly were marred by saccharine strings. The producer specialized in more mainstream popsters like the irrepressibly perky Teresa Brewer (who later became his fourth wife) and the bubble-machine muzak-meister Lawrence Welk. At Dot, Thiele was instrumental in recording Jack Kerouac's famous beat- generation ramblings to jazz accompaniment (recordings that Dot's president found ``pornographic''), while also overseeing a steady stream of pop hits. He then moved to the Mafia-controlled Roulette label, where he observed the ``silk-suited, pinky-ringed'' entourage who frequented the label's offices. Incredibly, however, Thiele remembers the famously hard-nosed Morris Levy, who ran the label and was eventually convicted of extortion, as ``one of the kindest, most warm-hearted, and classiest music men I have ever known.'' At ABC/Impulse!, Thiele oversaw the classic recordings of John Coltrane, although he is the first to admit that Coltrane essentially produced his own sessions. Like many producers of the day, Thiele participated in the ownership of publishing rights to some of the songs he recorded; he makes no apology for this practice, which he calls ``entirely appropriate and without any ethical conflicts.'' A pleasant, if not exactly riveting, memoir that will be of most interest to those with a thirst for cocktail-hour stories of the record biz. (25 halftones, not seen)