We All Fall Down by Nic Sheff

Published By: Little Brown Books for Young Readers

Date of Publication: April 5, 2011

Categories: Memoir, Mental Illness, Non-Fiction

Pages: 368

Summary (from goodreads.com):

In his bestselling memoir Tweak, Nic Sheff took readers on an emotionally gripping roller-coaster ride through his days as a crystal meth and heroin addict. Now in this powerful follow-up about his continued efforts to stay clean, Nic writes candidly about eye-opening stays at rehab centers, devastating relapses, and hard-won realizations about what it means to be a young person living with addiction.

Nic Sheff and his father, David Sheff, captured a nation of readers with their bestselling memoirs Tweak and Beautiful Boy. Those books explore teen drug addiction from two different points of view: a son’s and a father’s. Nic currently lives in Los Angeles, California.

Review: Once I started reading We All Fall Down, I couldn’t stop. I was immediately drawn into Nic’s world.

And it’s definitely a tough, scary world. You feel like you’re right there with him, going through everything with him. This makes parts of it tough to read, because at times it feels like there’s no hope for Nic, or any other addict. It was definitely interesting to get inside of the head of an addict, to see the world as he saw it.

I’d definitely recommend this book for an older YA reader. It deals with some pretty heavy duty topics. Nic doesn’t hold back talking about the realities of being an addict – it’s not pretty.

While the writing wasn’t amazing, one thing that I did really enjoy about it was that Nic’s voice really came through loud and clear. Some parts almost felt like a conversation between him and I. It felt very genuine and real.

Although I haven’t read his previous memoir, Tweak, also about addiction, or his father’s book about Nic’s journey, Beautiful Boy, I really did enjoy reading We All Fall Down. So if you’re wondering if you need to read either of those ones first, I would say no (cause I didn’t, and I felt like I understood what was happening). But now that I’ve read We All Fall Down, I’m kind of interested in the first part of Nic’s story.

If you’re looking for a book about addiction, from an addict’s perspective, I would definitely recommend We All Fall Down.

Image: goodreads.com

Disclosure: I received this book from the publisher for review.


A Big Little Life by Dean Koontz

Published by: Hyperion

Year of Publication: 2009

Categories: Adult Non Fiction, Animals/Dogs, Memoir

Pages: 288

Summary (from goodreads.com): DEAN KOONTZ thought he had everything he needed. A successful novelist with more than twenty #1 New York Times bestsellers to his credit, Dean had forged a career out of industry and imagination. He had been married to his high school sweetheart, Gerda, since the age of twenty, and together they had made a happy life for themselves in their Southern California home. It was the picture of peace and contentment. Then along came Trixie.

Dean had always wanted a dog–had even written several books in which dogs were featured. But not until Trixie was he truly open to the change that such a beautiful creature could bring about in him. Trixie had intelligence, a lack of vanity, and an uncanny knack for living in the present. And because she was joyful and direct as all dogs are, she put her heart into everything–from chasing tennis balls, to playing practical jokes, to protecting those she loved.

A retired service dog with Canine Companions for Independence, Trixie became an assistance dog of another kind. She taught Dean to trust his instincts, persuaded him to cut down to a fifty-hour work week, and, perhaps most important, renewed in him a sense of wonder that will remain with him for the rest of his life. She mended him in many ways.

Trixie weighed only sixty-something pounds, Dean occasionally called her Short Stuff, and she lived less than twelve years. In this big world, she was a little thing, but in all the ways that mattered, including the effect she had on those who loved her, she lived a big life.

Review: To be honest, I’ve never read a book by Dean Koontz until I got this one for my mom for Christmas. She loves books about dogs, and I thought she’d enjoy this one. When I went up to the counter to pay for it, the lady there said she read it and really liked it.

My mom was pretty excited to get it for Christmas, and about a week later she told me that I HAD to read it. I got didn’t get around to it til last week, but I have to say, it lived up to her enthusiasm. I enjoyed it a lot. Dean managed to describe Trixie perfectly, you felt like you knew her almost as well as your own dog.

Dean has a great sense of humor. I don’t know if it comes out as well in his other books, but I loved it in this one. It really felt like you could relate to him more.

I know there are a lot of dog memoir type books on the market. I’ve read a lot of them. But I think so far this is my favorite one. The ending was a tear jerker, and I was sad (and even cried a little) when the end came for Trixie, though I’m sure it didn’t compare to what Dean and his wife Gerda went through. But at the same time it wasn’t sappy like a lot of these kinds of books can get like.

All in all I’d definitely recommend this book.

Disclosure: I bought this book for my mom.

Image: goodreads.com