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Opium Eater: The New Confessions

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4.19  ·  Rating details ·  48 ratings  ·  11 reviews
North Americans are the world's most compulsive and prolific users of legal opioids. Carlyn Zwarenstein, diagnosed with an inflammatory spine disease as a young mother, eventually turned to them to manage her pain. A Globe & Mail Best 100 Books of 2016, and shortlisted for the Canadian Science Writers' Association general audience book award for books published in 2016. In ...more
Paperback, Print edition, 117 pages
Published June 2016 by Nonvella Publishing
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 ·  48 ratings  ·  11 reviews


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Emmkay
A slim extended essay (or ‘nonvella,’ in the publisher’s clever terminology), that I nevertheless lingered over for days, because it was beautifully written and I wanted to really think about its content. The author has terrible chronic pain, for which she takes opioids. She explores the impact of pain and the nature of the relief from opioids, as well as the impact on the creative process in her own life. She also looks at the English Romantics, Frida Kahlo, historical usage, and the language a ...more
StaceyJEM
Jun 07, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Exceptionally honest, interesting, and heartbreaking. Easily the most affecting book of my MA.
Daniel Rowe
Jun 28, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: health
An excellent mémoire and well worth the short read. Opiate addiction explore in a personal but also broad societal way. This is a very good little book.
Victoria Martin
Feb 16, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Wow. What a beautiful and thought provoking book. This one will stick with me for sometime. The merging of art, history and literature with addictions, pain, mental health and memoir made for a fascinating (and very quick) read.
Kate
Jun 14, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Beautiful, wise, and very timely.
Paolo Pietropaolo
Feb 10, 2017 rated it really liked it
Fantastic, informative, personable, witty, poignant read. Highly recommend.
Josie
Mar 11, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I first read this book in January of 2019. I gave it four stars because I thought it was really good, but I genuinely didn't understand why the author seemed (at the time) so in love with opioids. A few months later, I found myself in love with someone struggling with opioid addiction, and I grabbed this book back off my shelf. While the author is not an addict, her research and insights gave me a lifeline while I tried to help my boyfriend recover from addiction.

Over a year later, I took the b
...more
Kevin
Jun 29, 2016 rated it it was amazing
"Confessions" run the risk of being self-indulgent, but this excellent book is thought-provoking, informative and honest. ...more
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Jan 20, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Opium Eater is a small but mighty book. Carlyn deftly weaves together her personal narrative with history and science to craft an engaging and informative book about pain, the health care system + the use of opioids. It is a chilling reminder of how steep the slope is to prescription drug overuse. Opium Eater is a must-read book in this era of tragic loss of human life due to opioid overdose...
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Carlyn Zwarenstein lives in Toronto. A long-time freelance writer, she writes on medicine, literature, travel, and mental states. She's the author of Opium Eater: The New Confessions (2016), a Globe & Mail Best Book of 2016, shortlisted for the Science Writers and Communicators of Canada's 2016 general audience book award, and taught on university courses in English literature, social work, and li ...more

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