Monday, September 19, 2005

How to Stop Time

How to Stop Time
by Ann Marlowe

The most intelligent drug memoir I've read, Ann Marlowe's first book is subtitled "Heroin from A to Z." This is literal, as Marlowe eschews a conventional linear memoir in favor of an alphabetical list of short essays on different aspects of the junk life ("city," "dark,""withdrawing"). Marlowe's reasoning for this has to do with her rather complex ideas on what she calls our "digital culture," but for the reader what it does if free Marlowe's observations from the predictable chronology of your common drug tale (dabbling, addiction, low point, redemption). This is a fiercely individual book, and Marlowe refuses to demonize or romanticize her drug of choice. It was fun, it seems, and it worked for a while, but it's finally not worth the price: that's drugs in a nutshell.

A petty gripe: Marlowe has that annoying habit of Ivy League grads of working in far, far too many references to her hallowed alma mater, considering she took up drugs in her thirties. Perhaps poor old state school-educated me is overly sensitive.

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