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Long Past Stopping: A Memoir

3.7  ·  Rating Details ·  200 Ratings  ·  34 Reviews
Oran Canfield—son of self-help guru and Chicken Soup for the Soul creator Jack Canfield—tells his surreal story of growing up in Long Past Stopping. In this remarkable memoir, writing with a wry and cutting edge, Canfield relates tales of a childhood in flux—being buffeted about among family friends, relatives, rebels, and born-again circus clowns, in an anarchist private ...more
Hardcover, 336 pages
Published September 15th 2009 by William Morrow (first published 2009)
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(showing 1-30)
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Ryan Olson
Feb 13, 2011 Ryan Olson rated it really liked it
Long Past Stopping is one of those memoirs that, while it seems as if you've read it all before. Boy grows up in a broken family, boy finds solace in drugs, boy gets hooked on drugs, boy fights repeated attempts at rehab - rinse and repeat. But with Long Past Stopping, there is so much more to Oran Canfield's fall to the depths of heroin addiction.

Oran found solace among clowns when joining the circus. He learned some of life's lessons while living on a farm in Mexico. He transformed from adole
Sarah B.
Mar 09, 2011 Sarah B. rated it really liked it
Picking this book up, was worried that it was going to be a revenge memoir meant to illustrate what a bad parent Canfield's famous father was. To my relief, Canfield simply tells his own story, and leaves the reader to draw his or her own conclusions about Jack Canfield, if desired.

As a memoir, it is interesting, sad, and detached. The story of Canfield's childhood is fascinating, although it should be noted that his mother maintains that it is also mostly fictional. Comparisons with Augusten Bu
Diane Kistner
Oct 28, 2012 Diane Kistner rated it it was amazing
This memoir is completely different from another one by the kid of a celebrity, My Incredibly Wonderful, Miserable Life: An Anti-Memoir by Adam Nimoy, that I read earlier this year. Nimoy's "anti-memoir" is strongest for conveying the value of NOT numbing oneself out to life through addictive substances. Oran Canfield's memoir wins hands-down, though, for describing numbing out as (initially) the survival mechanism that it is--especially for a child growing up so bereft of guidance. It's a wonde ...more
Sep 05, 2009 Kate rated it really liked it
There are people who will not like this book, either due to the drug use or the very poor advertising on the cover, which makes it sound very hipster and pretentious. For example, there's a quote from the book about how one of his rehab docs diagnosed him with "terminal assholism". A bit overly cute, I thought, but in the context of the book it's funny without being obnoxious.

Though I was wary of self-important showing off judging by the cover alone, I was quickly engaged by Canfield's candid an
Aug 12, 2009 Bridget rated it really liked it
The book is fast-paced and a quick read, but it is by no means a light and breezy book. The wit used does not disguise its serious subject matter, drug addiction. True to addict behavior, Oran is completely self-centered and self-absorbed. His autobiographical account of life through 26 and sobriety is well-written and thought-provoking. The chapters alternate between his childhood and his early 20s when he bounced in and out of rehab. His childhood had 2 constants: juggling and inconsistency. H ...more
Patrick O'Neil
Apr 27, 2010 Patrick O'Neil rated it really liked it
Oran Canfield's Long Past Stopping is a cool, wacky, goofy, and at times heartbreaking memoir. That I felt a certain camaraderie with Canfield because he is a fellow former dope fiend, and San Franciscan is not lost on me. The streets he talks about are the same Mission streets I used to walk - in more ways then one. Also, he too was involved in the "alternative" music scene. And he too had a strange ass childhood. Although his, as the son of new age parents was quite different, he was still tor ...more
May 15, 2010 Nick rated it it was ok
I felt little empathy for this author. I feel like this book has been written a dozen times or so. Child of hippie parents experiences an eccentric type of childhood: goes to circus camps, attends liberal arts-type boarding school, adept at music and art. Kid goes on to pick up one helluva drug habit.

Here's the problem though. Oran Canfield just comes across as a snarky, uncaring dickhead. He is spoiled beyond belief, funneling money from a family trust and bilking his millionaire father out of
Dec 30, 2009 Daniel rated it really liked it
A memoir very worth reading, I greatly enjoyed taking the safe version of this journey with Oran, and found myself deeply wishing there was more that could have been done for Oran in the stretch I knew him, or that I'd even had a clue about what was happening to him. I suppose that is sortof the point though, that with addiction the only person who can fix it in the end is the addict. It was a deeply disturbing trip,and with any story of addiction, you end up just wishing they'd get it together ...more
Jun 24, 2010 Michelle rated it it was amazing
I was really intrigued by this book given that he was the self-help Guru Jack Canfield's son. I've never been able to read a self help book all the way without giving up. Reading this I know I was right! Brilliantly written with underlying humour the story of Oran's incredible journey through childhood and all the crazy shennanigans his mother puts him through to his ordeal at becoming addicted to heroin and the multiple times he tried to kick it. For anyone that has had an addiction this book w ...more
antonia vitale
Oct 20, 2009 antonia vitale rated it really liked it
i thoroughly enjoyed this book. honestly, i probably enjoyed it as much as i did because i could relate on so many levels. oran was raised mostly in the bay area to strange parents and then ends up living in the mission in SF, playing music and doing drugs. the book alternates every other chapter between his childhood and his adulthood. it ends up being largely a book about getting clean, but it's about so much more. Oran's writing is accessible and funny... and we're facebook friends. radical.
Dec 09, 2013 Hillary rated it really liked it
This is a quick, fun read by the son of the author of the "Chicken Soup for the Soul" books. As a teenager, I always wished I grew up with hippie-dippy deadhead parents and Oran Canfield has got them...although I grew out of that longing a while back, this book makes me truly glad that I'm the reader and not the writer of this story.
Oct 04, 2013 Misty rated it really liked it
The thing I liked most about this book was that he didn't bash his parents or even blame them for his mistakes. He really lets you choose. He is honest and doesn't paint a picture of the perfect upbringing, but he really lets us as readers decided for ourselves. He loves his family no matter how unorthodox. I did have an issue with the time jump though. It feel like all books are written in a kind of pulp fiction manner with it going between the past and present. In the end I believe he was tryi ...more
Nov 26, 2012 Joni rated it really liked it
I like that Canfield is straight and to the point. He doesn't include pointless details, but writes with enough description to keep the readers attention. This makes for thoughtful and entertaining writing. This is not a story of how an addict overcomes, rather it's a story of endurance. In it, Canfield writes in a matter-of-fact non-apologetic style without the bells and whistles one might expect from someone in his position.
Apr 18, 2010 Rachel rated it it was amazing
Long Past Stopping is a memoir about Oran Canfield's almost unbelievable life. It often reads like fiction. The chapters alternate between stories of his unconventional and often difficult childhood and his struggles with addiction and rehab in his adult years. Though the topics covered are quite heavy, Canfield's sense of humor keeps things lighter for the reader. This book is definitely a page turner.
Diane C.
Jul 15, 2010 Diane C. rated it liked it

Oran Canfield, the son of "Chicken Soup for the Soul" author, Jack Canfield, regales us with the rather horrifying tales of how he was raised by his radical, selfish, psychologist mom and basically ignored by his dad throughout his childhood.

The book should have been better edited...........the stories from childhood were spot on, but the adult phases were very run on.

Still, his wry, dry sense of humor is very enjoyable and it's quite a thrill ride through the 70's.
Amber Vrenna
Jul 20, 2011 Amber Vrenna rated it liked it
I enjoyed reading the memoir of Oran Canfield, son of Jack Canfield of "Chicken Soup for the Soul" fame.
However, I felt torn at times. Sometimes it seemed as though Oran was being brutally honest & recounting amazing tales from his life (particularly his early experiences)and at other times I was left wondering if maybe he had exaggerated the situations that occurred.

Oct 05, 2009 Disa rated it liked it
My #1 Pick of the Month for heroin addicts trying to kick. Chapters alternate between his kooky hippie-raised childhood and his adult struggle with addiction. Cynical, humorous, and thankfully lacking the sentimental pathos of many get-clean stories. The fact that his dad is an infamous motivational speaker adds a dash of irony.
Jan 09, 2013 Holly rated it it was ok
Interesting but not in the ways promoted by the jacket flap, this book was an easy read with no redemption for its protagonist. So he may not be doing drugs anymore, great. But in no ways does he communicate how he's become a better person (I don't think he has) or how he's made amends to any of the dozens of people in his life that he's systematically destroyed. Did I miss the point here?
Oct 09, 2012 Cassie rated it really liked it
I really enjoy a good memoir. This one jumped back and forth from his childhood to being a young adult, which I liked because I didn't get too much of one at a time. I did find it hard to relate to such an introverted main character, but that is because I'm the opposite.
Dec 19, 2009 Nette rated it it was ok
Why would someone with such a fascinatingly bizarre life choose to write about it in such a deadened, boring style? What a waste of a great story. Oh well, my fault for buying a book with a clown on the cover.
Nov 28, 2009 Patrick rated it liked it
Much better than the usual semi-celeb druggie tale. Canfield is the son of the guy who wrote those drippy "Chicken Soup For the Soul" things. His account of his upbringing remind us why the national temper tantrum known as "The Sixties" was such a lingering disaster.
Dec 07, 2013 Andrea rated it it was amazing
Wow. I can't believe I haven't read this book before. Some bad things have gone down lately and this book helped me get through them. Beyond that, I strongly identified with the author. This book really had an effect on me--it seemed to fit perfectly. Truly amazing.
Betsy Diamant-cohen
Feb 14, 2010 Betsy Diamant-cohen rated it really liked it
Son of Jack Canfield (of the Chicken Soup series) writes a memoir of his life that does not paint his father in a particularly nice light.....
Apr 04, 2012 Jess added it
Tried three times to get into it. Just couldn't get past the first two chapters. Had a hard time keeping my attention...
Oct 24, 2015 Danine rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I registered a book at!
Feb 24, 2015 Tonya rated it liked it
Whoa, talk about someone that's done some living. Also, makes me extremely thankful for a fairly normal child-hood.
Andi rated it it was amazing
Nov 01, 2009
Megan rated it liked it
Nov 24, 2009
Renee rated it it was amazing
Nov 05, 2009
Kameron rated it it was amazing
Oct 08, 2010
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