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The Story of Junk

3.81  ·  Rating Details  ·  233 Ratings  ·  22 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

(showing 1-30 of 747)
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Stephen P
Aug 22, 2014 Stephen P rated it really liked it
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
May 24, 2013 Spencer Distraction rated it it was amazing
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
Sep 20, 2012 Eliza Player rated it it was amazing
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!
Apr 17, 2013 karen rated it it was amazing
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
Aug 08, 2011 Emily rated it it was amazing
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
Mar 26, 2016 Joseph rated it really liked it
Very readable drug thriller. The writing is a bit clunky in places but the dialog is good and sometimes the writing catches on fire; there are moments of tenderness, though mostly, it's told in a very detached voice from a person who has a bleak and dreary view of life. More social history than novel, it gives good insight into the grip drugs had on the downtown NYC scene in the 1980s. A few characters I recognized: The great artist Jean-Michel Basquiat(Claude),writer/muse Cookie Mueller(Honey), ...more
Sailin' On
Mar 20, 2008 Sailin' On rated it really liked it
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.
May 03, 2015 Karschtl rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: drama, read-in-2005
Die Protagonistin erzählt in Rückblenden ihr Leben in den 80ern in New York City. Wie sie dazu kam, Drogen zu nehmen und vor allem mit ihnen zu dealen; welche Freunde sie hatte und wer davon an Aids starb; und wie sie schließlich von der Polizei hochgenommen und gezwungen wurde ihre Lieferanten und Freunde zu verraten.

Sicherlich ein sehr interessantes Buch für all jene, die zu Anfang der 80er halbwegs erwachsen waren und die ganze Zeit mitgemacht haben. Am besten natürlich für die, die in NYC w
Jan 28, 2015 Monica rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: netgalley
Yablonsky's novel is a thinly veiled memoir about bad old Downtown NYC in the early 1980s when drugs were everywhere. The writing is fantastic but I would complain that the last chapter of the book does not have the same pacing as the rest of the book and feels a bit rushed and overly abbreviated. If not for the ending, I would have given the book five stars.

Anyone with memories or second-hand knowledge of the art/music/literary scene of the time will recognize many of the characters either dir
Feb 23, 2015 Tucker rated it liked it
The descent into heroin addiction is not a pretty picture. Recreational use turns into addiction and dealing to feed the habit. Desperation is an almost constant companion, at least until the next fix. "The Story of Junk" was intense and harrowing but definitely worth reading. It was well written and felt much more real than most addiction fiction.

Thank you to Open Road Integrated Media and NetGalley for an advanced copy of this book.

Oct 16, 2008 Heather rated it really liked it  ·  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.
Jun 24, 2008 Lizzie B. rated it it was amazing
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
Read ages ago; long before Bookcrossing and Goodreads existed! Love reading about mid-80s NYC. Ah, my hometown used to be so, so filthy!
Jan 18, 2012 Martin rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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?
Aug 28, 2013 Charlotte rated it liked it
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".
Oct 15, 2009 Melissa rated it it was ok
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.

Oct 01, 2015 Viki rated it really liked it
Very truthful story of addiction and the life of an addict who deals "junk" to support her habit. So disturbing how strong the pull of substances that are life altering.
Apr 28, 2016 Tiff rated it it was amazing
If you want an inside view on the how and why people deal drugs, read this book. It will give you an idea of what they go through and why it is so hard to kick it.
Jul 28, 2011 Philippa rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Excellent novel set in New York about a lesbian junky couple.
Mar 11, 2008 Lanestar7 rated it liked it
If you like books about heroin junkies, this ones the best
Sep 11, 2011 Roger rated it liked it
Could have used some Talking Heads stories.
Mar 20, 2009 Genesis rated it liked it
......this is why drugs are bad
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