Time editor Lansky delivers a gut-wrenching exposé of his adolescence, a period filled with a steady diet of drugs, prescription and street, and one-night stands with older men.
During the day, Lansky attended an elite New York City prep school and aspired to enroll at Princeton, but at night, he slipped out of his father's apartment to snort cocaine, take large doses of Adderall, Xanax, Klonopin, Ambien, and other drugs, drink too much alcohol, and have sex with strangers he'd met online or in bars and clubs. The writing is raw and haunting, encouraging readers to keep turning the pages as the author describes countless situations where he shouldn't have made it through the night but did. He delves into the distress he felt over his parents' divorce and the semi-lack of compassion he felt his father showed him at the time. "My father expressed some low-level concern over how many pills I had been prescribed,” he writes, “but my grades were up, which suggested that [the doctor’s] cocktail of pharmaceutical drugs was working. Yet I was sickly, pallid, temperamental, and always covered in a thin film of sweat, even in the dead of winter. I never ate, except for occasional, extraordinary binges that left me ill for days; I slept perhaps once a week, for twenty-four hours straight.” Lansky also explores his relationships during that time, mostly older men who had no real intentions of staying with him. The narrative’s best moments are the author’s thoughts on the wonder and wholeness he felt when attending a boot camp rehab center in Utah. Otherwise, the book reads mostly like a confessional written to atone for his sins.
A candid, eye-opening memoir of illicit drugs and sex—though, for some readers, it may prove too intimate and too full of semigraphic descriptions of the sex, drugs, and misery he suffered through before finally quitting before he was 20.