From the intro to the end, this was hard to put down and I found myself listening to an entire chapter over again as so much was so hard to comprehend; the conditions, the brutality, the mindset. Reading it is one thing, but to live through it, like I said, I found it so hard comprehend going thru it and be able to "talk" about it so matter-of-factly. It followed a timeline which helped me keep on track, and some of those gut-feelings and thoughts at the time, well, I just can't describe. Since I was a kid I've had a keen interest in WWII and have read plenty, and this story is definitely among the top three. The narration was top-notch also, with no over-dramatization. The incidents described were drama enough. I wish Mr. Sledge had done more writing, as he really had the knack for it.
I literally (no pun intended) went back to the beginning of the book the instant I finished it, to "read" it again, and am enjoying it just as much the second time around. There's much more here than just bootlegging--the time it takes place in itself; illness, culture, the Great Depression, farm life in general. It's a real history lesson. Bootlegging was not just a pasttime, but a career. The brutality that went on amazes me. From beginning to end, I was glued.
This book should be required reading for Jr. High school kids, and again in high school. A great insight to the life an addict leads; I found it fascinating. He was very candid and the material raw, which made the unbelievable very believable. I do however, recommend reading "Beautiful Boy" by David Sheff (Nic's dad) first, as the insight from his perspective made Nic's perspective more "real"--some of the stuff was just so unbelievable; I can't imagine living like he did. I learned a lot about that way of life, as fortunately, I've never been there myself. I think every kid should read this book to see what "glory" is in drugs, the tragedies in getting high, the work involved in coming clean and the hardships it creates on your body. Unimaginable.
Growing up in the area of the 1st (and at that time, ONLY!) In-N-Out, I found this to be a great book of history: history of the area, of fast food and of In-N-Out itself. The only part I didn't like was the end--it came too soon! I don't know if I would have enjoyed it as much if I hadn't grown up in the area, or if I wasn't a fan of In-N-Out, but I think so, as it is a great source of history on fast food, and Americana in general. Very, very good.
Very well written and narrated. The story is just unbelievable; incomprehensible. The perserverance of the people this story is about is something else. The author's story to get the story is a story in itself! I am more anxious than ever to see the movie, and will probably "read" the book again afterwards.
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