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How to Stop Time: Heroin from A to Z

3.57  ·  Rating Details ·  292 Ratings  ·  36 Reviews
How to Stop Time is an important contemporary contribution to the classic accounts of the seductive attractions and dangerous distractions of drug use.

In this hypnotic and piercingly intelligent chronicle, Ann Marlowe dissects her former heroin habit, and recounts in harrowing detail the rigors and realities of life under the influence while building a successful Wall Stre
Paperback, 320 pages
Published November 7th 2000 by Anchor (first published September 9th 1999)
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Feb 05, 2009 Marci rated it really liked it
I disliked the format of breaking up the prose by letters of the alphabet, but the book succeeded despite that. I wish the editor had realized that it didn't need a gimmick.

Wholly unromantic, this book dramatizes neither the gritty reality of heroin use, nor its superb bliss. Instead, it's an aching, thoughtful memoir of a young life, a life which includes a heroin habit. The book's setting - in 1990s New York City - is integral to the story, and its resolution. Marlowe's story is as much about
Abby Woodhouse
Mar 17, 2016 Abby Woodhouse rated it it was amazing
Shelves: school, memoir
I took this book out from the library with the expectation that I would skim it quickly, hopefully finding a few good quotes for an essay I'm writing. Once I started, however, I could not stop myself from reading each and every captivating word. In How to Stop Time, Ann Marlowe takes us through her life from the lens of her heroin addiction. While she claims that she wasn't a junkie or hardcore addict like many of her friends, the drug definitely seemed to be a large part of her life and she was ...more
Jan 06, 2010 Sandra rated it did not like it
he called me out on my all too generous rating.
this book now gets one star instead of four.
because I must have been smoking rocks when I gave this book four stars. Oh yeah, I'm in graduate school and I smoke crack. I'm pretty fucking awesome, aren't I?
Diann Blakely
Ann Marlowe’s formidably intelligent memoir finds its structure in the drug’s various and surprising lessons. “There are a million things you can learn from [doing dope],” she writes, “but they are only fully available to you once you stop using it.” While Marlowe seeks to debunk heroin’s glamour (“the drug isn’t really that great”), she argues convincingly that opiates freed her mind for artistic effort, shaking loose just enough of the relentless logic she acquired in her studies at Harvard Co ...more
Sarah Smith
Jan 24, 2010 Sarah Smith rated it liked it
I first read this book in high school--I bought it at St. Mark's Bookshop during a Thanksgiving in New York with my parents during which we had the traditional meal at a diner in Hell's Kitchen populated on that day only by cab drivers. I had, I think, blintzes. Anyway, the genre of drug memoir is a strict one, very prescriptive in terms of how repentant the addict should be, how low rock bottom ought to be, and how glowingly self-righteous the emerged new soul will sound in the retelling. Ann M ...more
Jan 30, 2012 Julia rated it it was amazing
A very un-shrill, unsensational look at heroin and addiction (which of course makes a lot of people very upset.) There is a healthy dose of skepticism and distance but also a sense of nostalgia and tenderness toward the "scene" and the time. The format itself is a joke referring to the author's strained relationship with "alphabetical order" (totally arbitrary despite the appearance of order) and also yet another attempt to "stop time" in that it overrides chronological order, becoming a stream- ...more
Aug 22, 2011 Kimberly rated it did not like it
Recommends it for: no one
Recommended to Kimberly by: Amazon lol
Shelves: sociology
hated, hated, and hated- author was totally unlikable- not that an author has to be likable but you can like unlikable authors- but nothing about this book/author is likable. She claims she was addicted yet never experienced withdrawal or the pains of addiction- then you weren't addicted-not in the physical sense-not in any sense- it is called a casual user- yes heroin addicts can be casual users. The book was slow and boring, the author comes off as pretentious and you just can't warm up to her ...more
Aug 30, 2015 Richard rated it really liked it
The writing is very good, and there are a lot of good ideas here. In particular, I like her musings about how we try to stop time. The only fault I'd mention, is that in parts she, I think, mistakenly presents her experience as universal. She's clearly a very unique person. Highly intelligent, educated, talented, ambitious. And she comes from a very particular place in society. So there were moments, especially in the first half, where she'd make a comment that vexed me a bit. Overall, however, ...more
Sep 04, 2013 Candace rated it it was ok
As someone who represents heroin addicts on a daily basis, I loathed the author. Her pretension and lack of awareness of her own wealthy, white privilege (even though she swears on several occasions that she looks Hispanic) is infuriating. That said, the book was an interesting insight to the life of a chronic user (not an addict).
Mar 25, 2015 Andrea rated it did not like it
What a crock of self-satisfied, inaccurate crap!
Feb 07, 2016 Heffy rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is an obscure book which I like for lots of reasons. Firstly the presentation is really quite terrible. Judging by the front cover you would expect yet another non-fiction book about heroin. Then, reading the back cover you learn that heroin is a "controversial white powder". Finally when you're half way through the book you realise that it isn't strictly about heroin at all, it's more like a philosophy of drug subcultures. Strangely enough the clumsy presentation actually endears this book ...more
Jun 21, 2012 LM rated it it was ok
This is like a memoir of a heroin
user who never really hit rock bottom. At her worst heroin is an everyday, expensive, day
planning routine. She goes to buy it and uses a lot, but
sounds more like a severe pot head in terms of functioning and the way she socialized.
Maybe a typical heroin user story but that isn't the kind we usually hear about. I liked
how she didn't write about stealing from her family, abuse, prostitution, or any of those
terrible lives I usually associate with drug memoirs.
May 17, 2011 Harold rated it liked it
Some interesting writing on the subject of heroin use, by a woman who kicked her habit before it ruined her life. Also one of the first books I've read by a female author in quite some time (the last one was "Geek Love", a couple of years ago). A fairly brisk read, but still a bit of a chore to get through by the end - mostly because I wasn't really in the right frame of mind to enjoy an addiction memoir. One specific complaint: if the author wanted to arrange her story into alphabetical section ...more
Mar 14, 2013 Jerfus rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Al principio me resultó difícil adentrarme en este libro, me parece que esto fue a causa de la manera particular en que está escrito que hace difícil llevar un orden al principio, pero después, conforme uno llega a conocer mejor la historia de Ann Marlowe es posible identificarse con ella, sentir lo que está plasmando, relacionarse con un profundo grado de humanidad. Lo que aquí se describe no la devastadora historia de una decadencia sino simplemente la experiencia vivida por un ser humano. Est ...more
Apr 05, 2009 Emily rated it it was amazing
Coming from a recovering heroin addict, I could relate to this book, as what I liked about the book is that it showed how Heroin Addiction can affect even the upper class, the intelligent studious individuals. It broke down the stereotype, and Ann made it easy for those who weren't addicts, to understand what a downward spiral this addiction is,and how it differs from others. Many people could read this and take it seriously unlike "SMACK" which was the typical, "Junkie" read, in my opinion.
May 05, 2012 Stefanie rated it really liked it
Shelves: nonfiction
This fearless memoir is going to turn everything you thought about heroin addicts on its head. It's the most honest tale chronicling both the good and bad of being heavily involved in a drug that I've ever read, and also weaves in Marlowe's struggle with her family and other relationship issues - personal challenges that underlie everyone's story, whether they choose to use drugs as a coping mechanism or not.
Cheryl Penn
Jun 06, 2012 Cheryl Penn rated it really liked it
I never thought excerpts about one person's heroin's use could be so insightful. She isn't the junkie girl next door, and yet, she is. I really enjoyed the A to Z format that she employed. This powerful literary device lended itself well to surfing through time and underscoring themes both from a drug user's point of view and a person with love's and losses.
Sep 30, 2011 Amy rated it liked it
I am giving this book three stars because I liked the ending very much and because Marlowe *can* be an engaging, inventive storyteller. However, the book also very much frustrated me. It's obviously pretty focused and its the subject that kinda turned me off. I always feel like these books should be shorter so you can bear them better.
Dec 15, 2012 Zachary rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a smart book from a smart author. The perspective on false perceptions of heroin use is unique to say the least. I can't believe this has flown under the radar for a wider audience than simply Village Voice readers for nearly 14 years.
Sep 05, 2010 ii rated it it was amazing
Shelves: totally-in-love
'Get to know someone who has survived addiction. It will change your perspective on pretty much everything.'
reading a book is not exactly like knowing someone in person, but a book still could make you think again
Nov 04, 2007 Jennifer rated it it was amazing
The best "addiction memoir" that I've ever read. Stylistically amazing, and shows how an unusual style can work with the material, rather than seem like a gimmick (David Shields, are you listening?) I have read this several times, and gotten more out of it each time.
Aug 11, 2015 Josh rated it it was amazing
One of my very favorite books. It's not the subject matter (drugs) that interests me as much as this desire to stop time, and the lengths we go to forget for awhile the most important fact of our existence.
Moira Russell
Feb 05, 2009 Moira Russell rated it really liked it
Shelves: favourites
One of the new classics of the well-established genre of addiction memoir. Striking, stunning, and -- despite the dictionary conceit -- tells a memorable, linear story.
Oct 02, 2007 Elyssa rated it really liked it
Shelves: memoir
An overview of heroin addiction from the perspective of an upper class white woman. The alphabetic format is inventive and makes the book stand out from others in the recovery memoir genre.
Michael Thomas Angelo
I live on Chiva Row aka Pill Hill. I was a speed freak until I moved here. Now I appreciate the lure of tar.
I found the alphabetical listings to be a fascinating way to tell a story. I disliked the author very much and I found her to be a complete snob, but I can't deny the book 4 stars.
Nov 30, 2008 Colin rated it it was ok
It taught me a lot about heroin, but was a bit self-indulgent and lacking in narrative, even for a memoir.
Aug 15, 2014 Kailin rated it liked it
Thought provoking look at what being a user or addict really means, but I have to say, I did not appreciate the structure of the book.
Apr 12, 2010 Kara rated it liked it
I liked this book for its general insights, not as much for the author's astoundingly high opinion of herself.
Sean rated it liked it
Jun 08, 2009
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“Addiction is a bargain with the cosmos: only stay time, and I'll remain in this holding pattern, too. The uncrossable gap between now and the past is given tangible form and conquered, daily, in the real but bridgeable gap between what I need and what I can get. Addiction creates a god so that time will stop--why all gods are created. God might be another story.” 5 likes
“Heroin is a stand-in, a stop-gap, a mask, for what we believe is missing. Like the "objects" seen by Plato's man in a cave, dope is the shadow cast by cultural movements we can't see directly.” 3 likes
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