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The Story of Junk

3.75 of 5 stars 3.75  ·  rating details  ·  173 ratings  ·  15 reviews
New York City. March 1986. The world is made of junk: junk bonds, junk food, junk powder. At least, that's how it seems to a woman in a downtown walkup, where every day for five years she's been opening her door to people engaged in the culture of the moment. Some of them are getting famous, some are changing their sex, while others are dying. But all of them are buying he ...more
Paperback, 336 pages
Published May 1st 1998 by Back Bay Books (first published 1997)
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Community Reviews

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Stephen P
This is an important book. As much for what is told as for how simple it is to dismiss it before even lifting the front cover from the waiting pages of print. After reading many books difficult for me I reached for something non-fiction, straight forward, happily bereft of metaphorical layers, dense passages, dazzling messages if I could stay with it and read on. I didn't think it possible but I felt, Read-Out or R.O. in medical terms. So, I reached down for Yablonski's, The Story Of Junk. The p ...more
Spencer Distraction
This novel was absolutely terrifying. Her account ov carrying smack over foreign borders by shoving heroin-filled condoms up her ass was harrowing. I read this while on a pretty unglamorous smack streak, so what made it through the heroin haze, smack fog, dope filter, etc, was still enough to make quite an impression. Especially when a week later my then-roommate turned cyanotic blue from an overdose! After I stopped running in circles, squawkin' & throwing our stash under the couch, I calme ...more
Eliza Player
I read this book many years ago, before i ever touched heroin myself. Of course, I lost this book somewhere along the way, maybe in the same place I lost so many other things. This story stuck with me over the years, as I remembered it crawling through my own addiction. I remembered it crawling out of my addiction. A number of years after I got clean and finally had a steady job, I ordered a copy of this book. It was just as good as I remembered it!
Devoid of the stream-of-consciousness rambling that accompanies many stories in which drugs are at the forefront, Yablonsky's narrator gives us the straight dope (pun intended) about how a regular girl might come to use heroin, begin dealing, become a junkie, and get busted. The book is fascinating and realistic, which leads me to believe Yablonsky might either be very close to her story or be extremely skilled at research. The writing is very matter-of-fact, and our unnamed narrator could be an ...more
This story will take you on a ride. Obviously your taste for it is going to depend on your feelings on narcotics. For those who have been there this is a beyond real telling of the non-stop party life of 80's New York. It perfectly captures the seedy glamour, the escape, the FUN of getting fucked up...and what happens when it gets light out, the party's over, you're not a rock star: you're a junky. The sickness, deterioration, crime and pain creep up before you even know it. I've been searching ...more
Sailin' On
cookie mueller makes a cameo in this book. . .rad. usually junkie books annoy me but i think she did a good job. especially when she describes how everything she put in her body was brown. . .chocolate milk and dope. kit is such a babe, i want to be her. sort of predictable ending. i've actually been wanting to re-read this but only the winnipeg "millenium" library has it. . .montreal hates this book, FYI.
Oct 16, 2008 Heather rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Annie, Schaunette, Louella, Victoria, Jen Silverman
I never read novels unless I can relate to the characters. I am too self centered to care about learning what it is like to be a 18th century French peasant or modern day murderer.
So the fact I read this book probably tells way too much about me.
Ummmm. It's very well written. Talent and truth. Obviously this is a form of memoir.
The 80s in New York. There sure was a lot of heroin around, wasn't there? And it seemed like no matter where you went everybody was a famous artist. It was all so... str
Lizzie B.
For the most part I hate drug books. I hate the authors’ attempts to render the experience of the high in words. I hate that they all follow the same predictable arc. I hate that, for the most part, they are written from a hyper-masculine perspective. But this is the single best drug book ever, as well as a quite hero of the Downtown literary scene. Actually, to say that this is the most amazing drug book ever is somewhat of an insult, as it is fully deserving of recognition as a great book irre ...more
This is a ripping good read! For the uninitiated few, junk is heroine. It’s a nightmarish story with more than a few hair-raising sequences, but the narrator’s bone-dry humor and eye for the telling detail in the downtown demimonde of 1980s New York make the book hard to put down. I’m told by someone who was on the scene at the time that it’s a roman a clef—who CAN these people be?
I have no experience using or buying smack. I had no trouble getting through the book but I have read better drug books, ie. Charles Bukowski (although his drug of choice is alcohol). Hunter S. Thompson's "Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas" was far superior for creating a feeling of druggedness in my opinion. But like I said I have never lived the "life".
This book is depressing and drawn out but somewhat intriguing if you're curious about drug addicts, their motivations, and psyche. Tells a story of an everyday girl who gets caught up in the world of drug addiction on all levels.

Excellent novel set in New York about a lesbian junky couple.
If you like books about heroin junkies, this ones the best
Could have used some Talking Heads stories.
......this is why drugs are bad
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