The Pen is Mightier than the Needle

beautiful_boy.jpgFrom the Playboy Blog 2/27/08

A dark past opened into a bright present this week for contributing editor David Sheff and his son, Nic. The pair just released concurrent memoirs dealing with Nic’s long and harrowing methamphetamine addiction. David’s book, Beautiful Boy , has been selected as Starbucks’s next featured title and both books received great write-ups in the New York Times last Thursday and this Tuesday. Janet Maslin praised the “sturdiness and sense” with which David deals with a crisis that “goes well beyond the horrors of garden-variety substance abuse.” Amazon’s David Callanan called Beautiful Boy “achingly honest,” and Publisher’s Weekly said it’s “a hopeful book, coming at a propitious moment in the meth epidemic.”

The joint publication represents a triumph over Nic’s addiction and over the rift in the relationship between two men, who at one time were not even on speaking terms. As Nic’s book, Tweak, tells it, he spent years virtually homeless, picking meals from the trash while spending every cent getting high. David chronicles his own cycle of denial, anger, and despair as he watched his son lose control. Even after they began writing their books David and Nic hit obstacles that dwarfed your standard writer’s block. Nic relapsed into addiction after 18 months, and David suffered a brain hemorrhage and had to relearn the craft of writing that he mastered decades ago.

But today the books are finished, Nic has been clean for two and a half years and David is back at the top of his game—he interviewed Garry Kasparov for our March issue and Fareed Zakaria for May.

Congratulations to the Sheffs on their groundbreaking new works, and heartfelt good wishes for the future.

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