An unflinching, often effective story about the torments of drug dependence.

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Teenage Degenerate

Sterling’s debut memoir details his addiction to crystal meth in the 1990s.

“The first time I did crystal methamphetamine I was nineteen,” writes the author as he begins his story, which takes place over 10 months in 1996 and 1997. (Some names and dates in the story have been changed, according to the author’s note.) In these diarylike entries, the author was a high school graduate with no real ambition; he lived in Littleton, Colorado, near Denver, with his parents and worked as a grocery clerk for near-minimum wage. He had a girlfriend, Leah, and a group of friends, including Jake, Mark, Craig, and Tony, with whom he hung out in his small, suburban town. Sterling and his friends went to parties and concerts—readers who are fans of the 1990s alternative scene will find their favorites within—and drugs were a constant throughout. As the author became more and more dependent on meth, his life began to crumble; he quit his job, broke up with his girlfriend, and spent his time either high or coming off of benders. After further attempts to hold onto jobs failed, he eventually became a drug dealer; he then lost his friends, alienated his family, started going broke, and approached rock bottom, or, as “a tweaker at a party” called it, his “wrecking point.” Sterling’s descriptions of his experiences while high are vivid and often disturbing, and he isn’t afraid to show the lengths to which addicts will go for one more fix. However, the overall story arc isn’t as compelling as it could be; readers never get to really see what the author was like before his addiction, so his sinking to new moral lows is rarely shocking. Some of the book’s pop-culture references seem a bit too on the nose, such as when the author watches the overdose scene from the movie Pulp Fiction while having a drug-induced panic attack. But despite these missteps, there’s enough action in the second half of the book to make for a quick, compelling read.

An unflinching, often effective story about the torments of drug dependence.

Pub Date: Jan. 18, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-9970175-4-0

Page Count: 252

Publisher: CreateSpace

Review Posted Online: Sept. 8, 2016

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WHAT A WONDERFUL WORLD

A LIFETIME OF RECORDINGS

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)

Pub Date: May 1, 1995

ISBN: 0-19-508629-4

Page Count: 224

Publisher: Oxford Univ.

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 1995

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MOMOFUKU MILK BAR

With this detailed, versatile cookbook, readers can finally make Momofuku Milk Bar’s inventive, decadent desserts at home, or see what they’ve been missing.

In this successor to the Momofuku cookbook, Momofuku Milk Bar’s pastry chef hands over the keys to the restaurant group’s snack-food–based treats, which have had people lining up outside the door of the Manhattan bakery since it opened. The James Beard Award–nominated Tosi spares no detail, providing origin stories for her popular cookies, pies and ice-cream flavors. The recipes are meticulously outlined, with added tips on how to experiment with their format. After “understanding how we laid out this cookbook…you will be one of us,” writes the author. Still, it’s a bit more sophisticated than the typical Betty Crocker fare. In addition to a healthy stock of pretzels, cornflakes and, of course, milk powder, some recipes require readers to have feuilletine and citric acid handy, to perfect the art of quenelling. Acolytes should invest in a scale, thanks to Tosi’s preference of grams (“freedom measurements,” as the friendlier cups and spoons are called, are provided, but heavily frowned upon)—though it’s hard to be too pretentious when one of your main ingredients is Fruity Pebbles. A refreshing, youthful cookbook that will have readers happily indulging in a rising pastry-chef star’s widely appealing treats.    

 

Pub Date: Oct. 25, 2011

ISBN: 978-0-307-72049-8

Page Count: 256

Publisher: Clarkson Potter

Review Posted Online: Jan. 13, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2011

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