A Life Without Consequences
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A Life Without Consequences

3.61 of 5 stars 3.61  ·  rating details  ·  96 ratings  ·  16 reviews
A Life Without Consequences is a semi-biographical novel from emerging author Stephen Elliott. His novel traces the fate of Paul, a boy whose mother has died and who runs away from a violent father. The book follows Paul from living on the streets of Chicago to passing through juvenile institutions and a state system that is primarily programmed for failure. There, he meet...more
Paperback, 186 pages
Published July 1st 2002 by MacAdam/Cage Publishing (first published October 15th 2001)
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Imogen
I never see this anywhere, and it starts at like a dollar on abebooks- I guess because it's early stuff and he doesn't really write about kink? And mostly I, too, am interested in Mr Elliot's stuff about kink- there's one paragraph from Happy Baby that just fuckin haunts me- but I liked this one a lot. It's a funny book, and not the sort of thing that I usually get super sucked into, because it's all about atmosphere, wet blankets and thick snow in Chicago winter, two kids hiding from those elem...more
Aris
Elliot is a great writer. I'm generally not a fan of memoirs of a troubled childhood, but boy if I didn't read two of his books in a row.

He has some great moments of language in here, and doesn't try to wallow in the harshness of what he experienced. For me this makes the experience of reading far more real, more like talking to a friend you fell out of touch with than meeting some weirdo at a bar that wants to prove how square you are.

He's more than willing to admit that he's had it easier than...more
Cheryl
A LIFE WITHOUT CONSEQUENCES by Stephen Elliott (PB) $12.50

A deeply moving story of hard truth.. of hard life. Chicago is known for its cold, merciless winters and for Paul, it last almost a lifetime. A runaway "street rat," he is shoved from mental hospital to housing project to group homes - always fighting to hide the hole of emptiness he suffers. With more biography than fiction, his ugly duckling metamorphosis is not without some lost feathers. Yet somehow, he emerges from this snake pit to...more
Gill
What I like best about Elliott's book is the narrator's first person pov. The character narrates without irony about the specifics of his world. The voice seems in perfect pitch. I didn't know for sure that I wasn't reading a memoir until very close to the end.

The story is rough going, but the narrator, his distinctiveness, will stay with me.There are few writers now as good as Elliott. No matter how ugly the stories he has to tell, I'm hooked, for now at least. Now I need to figure out which bo...more
Kurt
There is a thing that Stephen Elliott does better than anybody else, and he does it seemingly effortlessly. He writes in this sparse, almost simplistic style - but then the words just tumble through your skull, snowballing and adding more and more meaning until your drowning in the story, just as his desolate characters are always drowning. Elliott is just a remarkable person who has led a remarkable life, and then has the talent and guts to present his story in an outstandingly relatable and be...more
Pete
Jul 01, 2007 Pete rated it 4 of 5 stars
Shelves: 2007
Elliott quickly became one of my favorite writers of the year, mostly because he writes almost exlusively about Chicago (discounting the sexual memoir). His personal history with the city--in and out of group homes, street kid--provides a ridiculous amount of material, which he wields well. After a couple of his books, he does tend to repeat himself (sometimes, entire passages are re-used), but he provides insight into an underbelly that I haven't seen or smelled.
Why aren't there more Chicago w...more
Neal
Of interest mainly to those who have enjoyed Elliott's later works, such as Happy Baby and the Adderall Diaries. This is his first novel, and while you can see some elements of the style Elliott later honed to become one of the best writers working today, its not quite there yet here. There are some good sentences, some good paragraphs, and some poignant moments, but the good parts aren't sustained throughout. Definitely read his later work first, then consider checking this one out.
Jalen Flores
A Life Without Consequences tells the story of Paul, a young man who is moved a lot around by the system because of his lack of a family and history of behavioral problems. The amount of sex, drugs, profanity and violence is great throughout the the book, but those attributes are not exploited. If we use these types of characteristics in our writing, we have to make sure we don't use too much. And if we happen to use a lot, it has to be relevant to the tale and help it progress.
Elizabeth
Nov 21, 2009 Elizabeth rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: adults who have seen a few things, you know what i'm sayin
semi-autobiographical novel by stephen elliot... another super smart kid with shitty parents learning to start life from the bottom up and making it through chicago institutions to become a more interesting individual. it's scary, sweet, thoughtful, with such well written observations and i read the whole thing in one night.
Michelle
Apr 16, 2007 Michelle rated it 2 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Only the most devout Stephen Elliott fans
I liked "A Life Without Consequences" for its ties to Chi-Town and friends of friends, but the book came up short for me in the plot. I just felt the subject of shunned, struggling teens is a tad typical. "Happy Baby" is his superior work.
Sgilbert
Semi-autobiographical story about a guy caught in the juvenile justice system. He is a druggie and has the tendency towards violence. Not exactly uplifting but interesting none the less.
Christopher Jayy
Very interesting. The story is great and it was pretty well written. It's more of a page-turner than most memoir type books. It is definately worth reading.
Good Read.
Josephine
Feb 15, 2008 Josephine added it
Recommends it for: foster care graduates, maybe social workers
This book was okay. Not what I thought it was going to be and it was not very informative - more of a partial biography.
Matthew
Whoah! Great read! And all the crazier for being 110% true. Stephen Elliott is super good and you should read Happy Baby too.
Sheherazahde
Mindblowing story about teenage homelessness by someone who knows first hand. Semi-autobiographical.
clara
he is a good writer...
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Stephen Elliott is the author of seven books including Happy Baby, a finalist for the New York Public Library's Young Lions Award, as well as a Best Book of 2004 in Salon.com, Newsday, Chicago New City, Journal News, and Village Voice. Elliott's writing has been featured in Esquire, The New York Times, GQ, Best American Non-Required Reading 2005 & 2007, Best American Erotica, and Best Sex Writ...more
More about Stephen Elliott...
The Adderall Diaries Happy Baby My Girlfriend Comes to the City and Beats Me Up Where to Invade Next Looking Forward to It: Or, How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the American Electoral Process

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