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4.34 of 5 stars 4.34  ·  rating details  ·  1,033 ratings  ·  82 reviews
For twenty-three years of his life Donald Goines lived in the dark, despair-ridden world of the junkie. It started while he was doing military service in Korea and ended with his murder at the age of thirty-seven. He had worked up to a hundred-dollar-a-day habit--and out of the agonizing hell came Dopefiend! It is the shocking nightmare story of a black heroin addict. Trap ...more
Paperback, 246 pages
Published May 12th 1995 by Gallimard (first published January 1st 1971)
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Chilly SavageMelon
I thought I had pretty well exhausted all of the junkie novels out there: Burroughs, Jim Carroll, Nelson Algren, Herby Selby Jr., Iceberg Slim, Alister Crowley, Robert Bingham, James Folge et al, when I came across Goines in a NY Times article a few months ago. Apparently, his books are enjoying a resurgence after references made to his bad self in the rap world. He died in the mid-70’s after having been a junky most of his life, who took up writing during one of many stints in prison, mostly to ...more
Dopefiend is a phenomenal, devastating book. It's far better than the three novels by Donald Goines that I've read up to this point. Never Die Alone was OK, but was too short and sketchy to have much of an impact, and the first two Kenyatta novels--which Goines wrote under his "Al C. Clark" pseudonym--read more like black-oriented versions of the "men's adventure" pulps that littered newsstands throughout the '70s than they did ghetto realism. Dopefiend seems more autobiographical, and there's a ...more
Amanda B.
I stumbled upon this book looking for another which I needed for one of my classes. When I found it, it was with about four other ones which were by the same author. I sat down for the next ten minutes to read each blurb then I picked one to read. When I read the back of this book it intrigued me the most so I started to read it. Dopefiend is about two young people, Terry and Teddy, who get warped into the dope fiend life style. Teddy was already addicted when he met Terry. Their relationship di ...more
♥Laddie♥ (Lee Lee)
A Devastatingly Stunning And Hardcore Dose of Reality

I was ten years old the day that I first picked up this book. Dopefiend was the first novel that I read by Donald Goines and it captivated me.

As messed up as it is to say, I recognized the world that Donald Goines writes about with such honesty and skill. It says something about Donald Goines' awesome talent that he created such on-point characters and painted, with his words, such vivid pictures.

The main characters are people that I saw on my
Kurt Reichenbaugh
Brutal and hellish depiction of the lives of addicts in Detroit, around 1970. For the most part the novel follows a young couple, Terry and Teddy, as they descend into addiction and crime to fill their junk-need.
Sarah Hamilton
The book was absolutely chilling. It left me feeling as if my skin were crawling. It was disturbing. I have never read something so gruesome and brutally honest as this. I felt myself bringing my hand to cover my gaping mouth. I was awestruck.
I could've sworn I marked this as read and wrote a review when I finished it, but didn't? At any rate, I just happened to come across the audiobook on Hoopla and decided to listen to it.
It was extremely disturbing and sad. I was equally disgusted and depressed during the entire book. Witnessing a person (Terry) go from completely "normal" to a rampant drug user, and what that person will do to get drugs was just awful - I had such a helpless feeling while she went into a downward spiral.
The cha
Jeriah Murphy
Donald Goines Dopefiend is a great book to read. It talks about the struggles of a young black man that is addicted to crack cocaine. The book describes all of the hardships that he and his girlfriend went through and what led both of them to the dangerous drug. I personally really enjoyed the book. I enjoyed reading this book because it really describes how a simple drug can change your life forever. The explicit descriptions of situations in the story also help to really be able to understand ...more
Raya Sunshine
Oct 18, 2007 Raya Sunshine rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: everyone
this book was one of the first adult-fiction books that i read. it was extremely graphic (as is the nature of d.goines novels) but the characters and the writing style pulled me into the book...even if you are un-accustomed to the subject-matter, you feel drawn-in and i definately felt like i learned a little about the pull and addiction of drugs. the ending was unforgettable, both image-wise and in a literary sense. Great Book!
Kit Fox
If there's one thing I've learned from Donald Goines and Iceberg Slim, it's this: for the love of god and all that's holy, stay off the goddamn needle! And if you're on it, get the fuck off now!
Islam ♥
This is one of the readings I had to read for college, and man was it depressing. This book tells the stories of young adults quickly pulled into the world of dope. It tells of the struggles they go through daily just to get their fixes. They shoplift, rob people (including their own families). They risk their lives in the process, just to get enough money to take care of their habits, spending hundreds of dollars a day. When reading this book you're faced with harsh reality of life, and the cru ...more
Dr. Detroit
Donald Goines first saw the devil on the streets of Detroit back in the 1950's and wound up with a monkey on his back the size of Mighty Joe Young, eventually going belly up in the gutter at age 37 over a dope deal gone way south. With a stint at Jackson State Penitentiary wedged in there somewhere as well. Before he laid down for that final dirt nap, however, he was churning out grim stuff like "Dopefiend" in between nods, most of which is so seedy you'll be tempted to start shooting up, scratc ...more
This year's tour of white guilt land has taken me to The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness, through a whole lot of hip hop, and now this book, which I was inspired to read by a Killer Mike line. Whatever my motivations, it's been fun.

Dopefiend is a book in the heretofore unknown to me genre of ghetto realism, and it's a brutal one. I don't know what makes for ghetto realism, but this book works like this: it opens on a horrifying scene of a heroin den, dealer Porky's
Before reading Dopefiend I never knew the importance of an addict having their ‘morning do’ and unclogged works. I never imagined what it would be like to shoot dope in veins in places such as your neck, in your groin or between your toes or could even envision such sordid actions like sleeping with dogs for example. I never imagined what it would feel like having a monkey so heavy on my back that I routinely dug a bottomless pit of hell, or engaged in such acts that slowly took away my soul lea ...more
Dopefiend by Donald Goines is an excellent urban story. It vividly describes the hard life of a junkie in the streets. The plot of the story revolves around a young fiend named Teddy. His girlfriend, Terry, hates that he is an addict, but she knows that he is controlled by the sickness within him. His dealer, Porky, is the biggest heroin dealer in the city. Porky is well known for having the purest heroin that anybody can get. He is a sadistic, perverted, overweight man who is consumed by power ...more
Dopefiend By Donald Goines
I finally got round to reading my first book by
Donald Goines, something I had been wanting to
do for about 15 years at least, and I have to
say I wished I had done so years ago.
Dopefiend is exactly what you would imagine of a
book with a title like that, it comes across as
a Black Detroit version of William Burroughs
In that it tells you everything you ever wanted
to know about being a smack head in Detroit at
the end of the 60's/turn of the 70's.
The book cen
Marty Babits
Goines is a master story teller. Down and dirty, no frills, hard-boiled, often humorless, a wiry suspense that permeates lives of violence and self-destruction. A hard look that would cause many to flinch. Predictable but ringing with realism.
Dan Joseph
With the death of Phillip Seymour Hoffman it's easy to forget that Heroin hasn't always been a glamour drug that only celebrities fell victim to. At one point heroin was also the scourge of the American inner city.

Dopefiend is basically a case study of a year in the life of a poor heroin addict. While the author doesn't directly come out and say it, being able to paint such a detailed picture of the lifestyle would be nearly impossible had he not experienced certain aspects of it himself. Sure
An urban lit classic. A heroin addict himself Donald Goines was intimately familiar with the desperate, hellish lifestyle depicted in this book. The plot revolves around the once proper black middle class protagonist becoming a cold hearted full blown addict who will do nearly anything to get high. Goines descriptions of junkies, sadistic dealers, and filthy crack houses are horrific even more so as they have the feeling of truth. The dialog is terrific with authentic street slang from the era a ...more
Malachi Kidd
Gritty, graphic and so real. This book takes you right into the world of a dopefiend. Do not read if you don't have a strong stomach, there was times I had to put the book down thats how dark and over-graphic it was but nonetheless this was one of the best books i've read. There is no happy ending for a tired black junkie.
Anita Dawson
Donald Goines, gives yet another look at the streets in this novel. He follows two good looking people with promising lives in the world of the junkie. You would be amazed at what a person will do to get that next BIG high. In this book, you witness the mind of how a junkie maintains his habit. Disturbing of the actions of the junkie, but Real talk...
Pretty wild book. Depressing but you can't put it down. Learned more than I need to know about hardcore drug addiction, yikes!
Kevin Matson
This book was crazy... that's about all i can say about it, i got sucked in and read it in under 24 hours...
Jillian Marie
This was definitely one of the easiest and quickest reads for me. Goines' prose flowed as if he were a literal shadow of each character, transcribing their every thought, action and emotion. I think it's a beautiful gift to write this way, as it is much harder than it seems. The themes in the book will probably be a bit too gritty for some people, but there is no filtering or watering down the tough stuff and I appreciate that. I'm officially a Goines fan and I think this is a great introduction ...more
Fictional account of two black young adults going from being for the most part normal people descending from that to full blown heroin addicts seemingly overnight. Also delves into the lives of other characters in the drug scene, one dealer in particular and a few other addicts. The author of this book, Donald Goines, along with Iceberg Slim (Iceberg Slim actually came first and was a big influence on Goines) more or less created the ghetto crime fiction genre. This wasn't a bad read but I found ...more
Christopher Herz
This was my first Donal Goines book - I read it living in SF during the early 90s. Amazing. I remember reading the first page and putting it down because I couldn't believe what I just read. How he pulled me into the scene and the life that was being lived.

That's the thing that gets me about a novel - how it can do that when it's done right. This book gave you all the action and thrills that one would need - yes, but the style of writing. It was amazing literature I thought - something new and e
Jennifer Seymour
Very insightful to goings of drug addiction. I likes it.
Early urban fiction at its best
What the hell did I just read?! *brain screaming*

Okay, now I think I can elaborate on my response to Dopefiend. When it comes to the psychological and physical aspects of drug addiction, Goines certainly knows what he's talking about. The authentic vibe adds gritty realism to what might otherwise seem like melodramatic pulp. And while I can't say that I enjoyed reading this particular novel, it definitely captivated my attention. It's grotesque, horrific, and I will never, ever read it again, bu
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Donald Goines was born in Detroit to a relatively comfortable family - his parents owned a local dry cleaner, and he did not have problems with the law or drugs. Goines attended Catholic elementary school and was expected to go into his family's laundry business. Instead Goines enlisted in the US Air Force, and to get in he had to lie his age. From 1952 to 1955 he served in the army. During this p ...more
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