Saturday, December 19, 2009

Book Review: Long Past Stopping

Title Long past stopping : a memoir
Author Oran Canfield
Rating ***
Tags memoirs, autobiography, addiction, heroin, drugs 

Oran Canfield's memoirs of his childhood and drug addiction are difficult to read. His life story is so bizarre and chaotic it makes me realize just how sheltered a life I've led.

It begins with his father, Jack Canfield of Chicken Soup for the soul fame, abandoning him and his mother when he was a year old and she was pregnant with his brother Kyle. He was often abandoned in his childhood, as there were plenty of periods his mother couldn't take care of him. He was left with anyone who could take him for a while, and it was mostly a pretty bizarre collection of situations. He and Kyle were left for a while at a school that believed in letting the children decide what to do with no imposed structure. Mostly they seemed to jump on a trampoline.

Oran was so shy it was beyond painful and into terrifying. He learned to juggle in large part because it gave him something to focus on so he didn't have to talk to anyone. He was part of a circus for a while, but it was mostly an unpleasant experience of endless physical work and pain.

The book alternates chapters between stoires from his childhood and the story of his addiction to heroin and other drugs. Given the life he had led, and his severe levels of anxiety and self-loathing, drug addiction seems an unavoidable part of his life. He went to rahab several times, but it never took. It is not until the very end of the book that he tries an experimental drug that works to end his addiction.

Am I glad I read this book? I think so. I have my own addiction issues that his help illustrate. It certainly shows me a life very different from my own in outward from, though. Usually I welcome that, but Oran's life is just so painful it does not make for a pleasant read, at least not until the very end.

Disclaimer: I received this book free from Amazon Vine in return for a review.

Publication New York, NY : HarperCollins, c2009.
Publication date 2009
ISBN 9780061450754 / 0061450758

Posted via web from reannon's posterous

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