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

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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Stricter than, say, Bergen Evans or W3 ("disinterested" means impartial — period), Strunk is in the last analysis...



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").

Pub Date: May 15, 1972

ISBN: 0205632645

Page Count: 105

Publisher: Macmillan

Review Posted Online: Oct. 28, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 1972

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This early reader is an excellent introduction to the March on Washington in 1963 and the important role in the march played by Martin Luther King Jr. Ruffin gives the book a good, dramatic start: “August 28, 1963. It is a hot summer day in Washington, D.C. More than 250,00 people are pouring into the city.” They have come to protest the treatment of African-Americans here in the US. With stirring original artwork mixed with photographs of the events (and the segregationist policies in the South, such as separate drinking fountains and entrances to public buildings), Ruffin writes of how an end to slavery didn’t mark true equality and that these rights had to be fought for—through marches and sit-ins and words, particularly those of Dr. King, and particularly on that fateful day in Washington. Within a year the Civil Rights Act of 1964 had been passed: “It does not change everything. But it is a beginning.” Lots of visual cues will help new readers through the fairly simple text, but it is the power of the story that will keep them turning the pages. (Easy reader. 6-8)

Pub Date: Jan. 1, 2001

ISBN: 0-448-42421-5

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Grosset & Dunlap

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2000

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