Patrick O'Neil's Reviews > Leaving Dirty Jersey: A Crystal Meth Memoir

Leaving Dirty Jersey by James Salant
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Aug 31, 09


I might be being a bit picky here. Being a dope-fiend memoir elitist and all. Yet, one would think if an author was writing their "tell-all-drug-addict-memoir," they'd at the very least have been a dope fiend longer than it took to get the book published. James Salant ran away from rehab and shot speed for a year, then wrote a book about it. Ok, sure, shooting speed sucks. Hanging out with speed freaks and ex-cons sucks. Endlessly masturbating to internet porn really has to suck. Even just the thought of actually living in a trailer park in some podunk town in SoCal sucks. But doing it for just a year justifies writing a memoir? Don't get me wrong, the misery of addiction shouldn't be measured by time or even quality. It's no fun no matter how you look at it. But the majority of the first hundred pages of Leaving Dirty Jersey is nothing but Salant retelling how many times he shot-up, with who, and how tweaked he got. I realize there's a good deal of repetition to a meth-head's existence, but man, oh man, enough is enough. To be absolutely honest I couldn't finish the book. I tired, god knows I tried. But Salant's voice sounded so sophomoric as to be unreliable that I was unmoved and didn't really care what the hell happened to him as it appeared that nothing but the same old tedious boredom of continuous meth use was on the menu. I'm surprised an editor didn't address this issues, but then again some people are interested in the superficial aspects of addiction - as just the lure of drug use seems justified to make for good reading. Yet the blurb on the back of the paperback compares it to Jim Carroll's Basketball Diaries??!! Which is totally absurd...
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message 1: by Nick (new)

Nick I absolutely agree...at first. But who knows, that year could have seemed like a decade. Wait...no...nevermind, I agree. A year of shooting speed MIGHT warrant an paragraph in some local pub, NA meeting note, or short for a zine, but if you're gonna go full-on Million Little Pieces, I wanna read how you were shooting up for a year solely in your dick because all the other veins were collapsed. Jeez, Nikki Sixx puts all these junkie cum writers to shame.


Patrick O'Neil Abso-fuckin-lutely...


Catherine I agree with you. However, I also lived the lifestyle & all it took was a year for my life to spin completely out of control. So... I dunno. He was an addict for longer than a year, he was just a "tweaker" for a year though. I get what you are saying though.


Kirsten I couldn't believe that such a meth head couldn't get laid more. I mean sex and meth kind of go hand in hand.


Patrick O'Neil Sadly yes, for most speedfreaks they do. It's just another discrepancy, another example of why this book sucked, another nail in the coffin of mediocrity. But then, slightly in his defense, he did live in a trailer park, and maybe there weren't any said potentially available victims around? Either way, yawn...


Andrea I'm a dope fiend memoir elitist too! Nice to know I'm not alone in the world.


Patrick O'Neil Nice to know there's those of us who can discern the difference. Publishers might think otherwise, and maybe the general readers out there - but man it's glaringly obvious when it's so bad.


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