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4.35  ·  Rating details ·  1,486 Ratings  ·  121 Reviews
For twenty-three years of his life Donald Goines lived in the dark, despair-ridden world of the junkie. It started while he was doing military service in Korea and ended with his murder at the age of thirty-seven. He had worked up to a hundred-dollar-a-day habit--and out of the agonizing hell came Dopefiend! It is the shocking nightmare story of a black heroin addict. Trap ...more
Paperback, 246 pages
Published May 12th 1995 by Gallimard (first published January 1st 1971)
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Chilly SavageMelon
I thought I had pretty well exhausted all of the junkie novels out there: Burroughs, Jim Carroll, Nelson Algren, Herby Selby Jr., Iceberg Slim, Alister Crowley, Robert Bingham, James Folge et al, when I came across Goines in a NY Times article a few months ago. Apparently, his books are enjoying a resurgence after references made to his bad self in the rap world. He died in the mid-70’s after having been a junky most of his life, who took up writing during one of many stints in prison, mostly to ...more
Mar 07, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Adam by: Chilly SavageMelon
Dopefiend is a phenomenal, devastating book. It's far better than the three novels by Donald Goines that I've read up to this point. Never Die Alone was OK, but was too short and sketchy to have much of an impact, and the first two Kenyatta novels--which Goines wrote under his "Al C. Clark" pseudonym--read more like black-oriented versions of the "men's adventure" pulps that littered newsstands throughout the '70s than they did ghetto realism. Dopefiend seems more autobiographical, and there's a ...more
♥Laddie♥ (Lee Lee)
A Devastatingly Stunning And Hardcore Dose of Reality

I was ten years old the day that I first picked up this book. Dopefiend was the first novel that I read by Donald Goines and it captivated me.

As messed up as it is to say, I recognized the world that Donald Goines writes about with such honesty and skill. It says something about Donald Goines' awesome talent that he created such on-point characters and painted, with his words, such vivid pictures.

The main characters are people that I saw on my
Amanda B.
Nov 11, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I stumbled upon this book looking for another which I needed for one of my classes. When I found it, it was with about four other ones which were by the same author. I sat down for the next ten minutes to read each blurb then I picked one to read. When I read the back of this book it intrigued me the most so I started to read it. Dopefiend is about two young people, Terry and Teddy, who get warped into the dope fiend life style. Teddy was already addicted when he met Terry. Their relationship di ...more
Linda Strickland
The Real Deal!!!!!!
Dr. Detroit
Apr 27, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Donald Goines first saw the devil on the streets of Detroit back in the 1950's and wound up with a monkey on his back the size of Mighty Joe Young, eventually going belly up in the gutter at age 37 over a dope deal gone way south. With a stint at Jackson State Penitentiary wedged in there somewhere as well. Before he laid down for that final dirt nap, however, he was churning out grim stuff like "Dopefiend" in between nods, most of which is so seedy you'll be tempted to start shooting up, scratc ...more
Sarah Hamilton
Dec 15, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The book was absolutely chilling. It left me feeling as if my skin were crawling. It was disturbing. I have never read something so gruesome and brutally honest as this. I felt myself bringing my hand to cover my gaping mouth. I was awestruck.
Kurt Reichenbaugh
Jan 27, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Brutal and hellish depiction of the lives of addicts in Detroit, around 1970. For the most part the novel follows a young couple, Terry and Teddy, as they descend into addiction and crime to fill their junk-need.
Kit Fox
Nov 29, 2007 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
If there's one thing I've learned from Donald Goines and Iceberg Slim, it's this: for the love of god and all that's holy, stay off the goddamn needle! And if you're on it, get the fuck off now!
May 31, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Mr goines took me on an adventure an i explored baby yes Lord powerful book! Whew wow! Masterpiece
Raya Sunshine
Oct 18, 2007 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: everyone
this book was one of the first adult-fiction books that i read. it was extremely graphic (as is the nature of d.goines novels) but the characters and the writing style pulled me into the book...even if you are un-accustomed to the subject-matter, you feel drawn-in and i definately felt like i learned a little about the pull and addiction of drugs. the ending was unforgettable, both image-wise and in a literary sense. Great Book!
Cat Ellington
Dec 20, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The cold, chilling reality of drug addiction as only Goines—a former addict himself—can expose.

Dopefiend is one of the greatest novels that I've ever read.

My interest in reading novels started for me at a very early age. And the works of Donald Goines had been included in my very first library collection.
Deedee Henson
Jan 13, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
No words needed
C.E. Long
Mar 05, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
There's a scene in this book I'll never get out of my head.
Michael Mulligan
Dopefiend by Donald Goines transports the reader into heroine culture on the streets of Detroit around the year 1971 (when Goines published the book). He shows the reader that heroin (also called dope, smack, junk) is there for people who fall between the cracks of society. The book is also written through the lens of the black community--it recreates many of the struggles that members of the black community face; there are several instances of subtle racial discrimination throughout the book. J ...more
Feb 08, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Before reading Dopefiend I never knew the importance of an addict having their ‘morning do’ and unclogged works. I never imagined what it would be like to shoot dope in veins in places such as your neck, in your groin or between your toes or could even envision such sordid actions like sleeping with dogs for example. I never imagined what it would feel like having a monkey so heavy on my back that I routinely dug a bottomless pit of hell, or engaged in such acts that slowly took away my soul lea ...more
Mar 19, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Dopefiend By Donald Goines
I finally got round to reading my first book by
Donald Goines, something I had been wanting to
do for about 15 years at least, and I have to
say I wished I had done so years ago.
Dopefiend is exactly what you would imagine of a
book with a title like that, it comes across as
a Black Detroit version of William Burroughs
In that it tells you everything you ever wanted
to know about being a smack head in Detroit at
the end of the 60's/turn of the 70's.
The book cen
Mar 15, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Dopefiend by Donald Goines is an excellent urban story. It vividly describes the hard life of a junkie in the streets. The plot of the story revolves around a young fiend named Teddy. His girlfriend, Terry, hates that he is an addict, but she knows that he is controlled by the sickness within him. His dealer, Porky, is the biggest heroin dealer in the city. Porky is well known for having the purest heroin that anybody can get. He is a sadistic, perverted, overweight man who is consumed by power ...more
Jeriah Murphy
Oct 23, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Donald Goines Dopefiend is a great book to read. It talks about the struggles of a young black man that is addicted to crack cocaine. The book describes all of the hardships that he and his girlfriend went through and what led both of them to the dangerous drug. I personally really enjoyed the book. I enjoyed reading this book because it really describes how a simple drug can change your life forever. The explicit descriptions of situations in the story also help to really be able to understand ...more
Jan 03, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: omg, murica
This one’s complicated for me.

On one hand, I read this book in two days and couldn’t put it down.

On the other hand, I read this book in two days and couldn’t put it down because of what I think is a really voyeuristic impulse that grabs for other people’s pains, especially when that pain is presented in an unnuanced manner with plenty of graphic thrills (think injecting heroin into pus-filled sores, bestiality, etc.) to go around.

But back on the first hand, Goines lived this life, so who am I to
Jillian Marie
Dec 26, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
This was definitely one of the easiest and quickest reads for me. Goines' prose flowed as if he were a literal shadow of each character, transcribing their every thought, action and emotion. I think it's a beautiful gift to write this way, as it is much harder than it seems. The themes in the book will probably be a bit too gritty for some people, but there is no filtering or watering down the tough stuff and I appreciate that. I'm officially a Goines fan and I think this is a great introduction ...more
Islam Ahmed
This is one of the readings I had to read for college, and man was it depressing. This book tells the stories of young adults quickly pulled into the world of dope. It tells of the struggles they go through daily just to get their fixes. They shoplift, rob people (including their own families). They risk their lives in the process, just to get enough money to take care of their habits, spending hundreds of dollars a day. When reading this book you're faced with harsh reality of life, and the cru ...more
May 10, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is the street lit the urban community needs to read.

Donald Goines paints a dark and painful picture about what drugs to the user, how it gives power to the dealer, and the corruption in the community. This is not some over fantasied hip hop videos where the drug dealers are popping champagne. Goines tells it like it is, realistic and grotesque. I think this is a book everyone should read but particularly people in the urban communities who think the life of the dealer and user are all fun
Apr 09, 2016 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Urban Fiction Readers
Recommended to Starsz by: Me
Shelves: urb-st-grit

I listened to the audio version of this book & Whoreson.

Dopefiend by Donald Goines; & Whoreson by Donald Goines

Donald Goines
Feb 07, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
It was book that I didn't really expect to like. It was recommended in writing my wrongs by Shaka. The first chapter hooked me in. It's an accurate depiction of what life is like when addicted to heroin. It was fast paced and kept my interest throughout the entire book. I plan to read more of his books.
Sep 14, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: novels, urban-fiction
At the beginning, the first chapter shocked me.

But, as I got caught up in the story I just had to keep reading.

Loved it!

It was just so raw.
Aug 07, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Dopefiend doesn't promise brilliance or deliver it. It's not a book that will make you ponder, or reread beautifully crafted sentences. What it is is a pure, raw account of a drug dealer and the handful of characters that frequent his den. It doesn't distract you with meandering flashbacks or have a single page that is not relevant to the gritty plot itself, and for that I loved it.

Dopefiend doesn't have a happy ending: it is above that. It is not about giving hope for a better tomorrow. It is a
Chad Montabon
Jun 29, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction-ranking
Probably top 3 of the Goines I have read. The stark image that begins and ends the novel will stay with you.

This is one of the longer novels and it could have done with a bit of editing. The character of 'Porky' could have been spelled out a little better and the downfall of 'Terry' could have been a little more concise, but these are quibbles.

After, 'White Man's Justice, Black Man's Grief' and 'Whoreson' this is probably his best work.
Aug 15, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Very will written, such an eye opener.
This year's tour of white guilt land has taken me to The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness, through a whole lot of hip hop, and now this book, which I was inspired to read by a Killer Mike line. Whatever my motivations, it's been fun.

Dopefiend is a book in the heretofore unknown to me genre of ghetto realism, and it's a brutal one. I don't know what makes for ghetto realism, but this book works like this: it opens on a horrifying scene of a heroin den, dealer Porky's
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Donald Goines was born in Detroit to a relatively comfortable family - his parents owned a local dry cleaner, and he did not have problems with the law or drugs. Goines attended Catholic elementary school and was expected to go into his family's laundry business. Instead Goines enlisted in the US Air Force, and to get in he had to lie his age. From 1952 to 1955 he served in the army. During this p ...more
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