2009

The Reading Committee chose Beautiful Boy, by David Sheff for the First Pages Program.

ABOUT THE BOOK

Book Cover

What had happened to my beautiful boy? To our family? What did I do wrong? Those are the wrenching questions that haunted every moment of David Sheff’s journey through his son Nic’s addiction to drugs and tentative steps toward recovery. Before Nic Sheff became addicted to crystal meth, he was a charming boy, joyous and funny, a varsity athlete and honor student adored by his two younger siblings. After meth, he was a trembling wraith who lied, stole, and lived on the streets. David Sheff traces the first subtle warning signs: the denial, the 3 A.M. phone calls (is it Nic? the police? the hospital?), the rehabs. His preoccupation with Nic became an addiction in itself, and the obsessive worry and stress took a tremendous toll. But as a journalist, he instinctively researched every avenue of treatment that might save his son and refused to give up on Nic

Beautiful Boy is a fiercely candid memoir that brings immediacy to the emotional rollercoaster of loving a child who seems beyond help.

ABOUT THE AUTHORS

David Sheff

Renowned journalist David Sheff is the author of Beautiful Boy: A Father’s Journey through His Son’s Addiction, the story of his harrowing struggle to help his son Nic overcome his methamphetamine addiction. There have been many books about addiction, but few from the father’s and family’s point of view until Beautiful Boy which brings immediacy to the emotional rollercoaster of loving a child who seems beyond your help.

The book is based on Sheff’s article “My Addicted Son," which appeared in the New York Times Magazine. It won a special award for Outstanding Contribution to Advancing the Understanding of Addictions from the American Psychological Association and inspired (and continues to inspire) hundreds of letters from readers, many of whom are suffering from addiction or the addiction of a loved one. His continues to research and writing about this subject and most recently contributed to the HBO book Addiction: Why Can’t They Just Stop.

Along with The New York Times Magazine, Sheff, a contributing editor to Playboy, has also written for The New York Times, Wired, Fortune, Rolling Stone, Outside, The Los Angeles Times Magazine, Esquire and Observer Magazine in England, Foreign Literature in Russia, and Playboy (Shueisha) in Japan. He has conducted seminal interviews with John Lennon and Yoko Ono, nuclear physicist Ted Taylor, Congressman Barney Frank, Steve Jobs, Ansel Adams, Thomas Friedman, the founders of Google, Tom Hanks, Betty Friedan, Keith Haring, Jack Nicholson, Carl Sagan, Larry Ellison, Salman Rushdie, and others. He also wrote an award-winning documentary about John Steinbeck's The Grapes of Wrath and a radio special about Harper Lee’s To Kill a Mockingbird, both for National Public Radio, and wrote and edited Heart Play: Unfinished Dialogue, which won a Grammy Award nomination for Best Spoken Word Recording of 1984.

Sheff is the author of Game Over, called “the bible of the videogame industry," by The Wall Street Journal that also earned great praised from Time, Newsweek, Fortune, Forbes, USA Today, The New York Review of Books. He is also the author of the book China Dawn about the Internet revolution in China that has been described in the Wall Street Journal as “the story of an insurgency, and a momentous one." All We Are Saying, based on Sheff’s interviews with John Lennon and Yoko Ono in 1980, was a Literary Guild Selection book. The Times called it, ''A fascinating, detailed glimpse into the workings of a musical genius" and People said it was "the most revealing portrait of John Lennon's career."

Sheff has been an editor of New West and California magazines and was a founding editor of Men’s Life and Yahoo Internet Life.