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Tweak: Growing Up On Methamphetamines

3.94  ·  Rating details ·  35,198 ratings  ·  3,025 reviews
The story that inspired the major motion picture Beautiful Boy featuring Steve Carell and Timothée Chalamet.

This New York Times bestselling memoir of a young man’s addiction to methamphetamine tells a raw, harrowing, and ultimately hopeful tale of the road from relapse to recovery.

Nic Sheff was drunk for the first time at age eleven. In the years that followed, he would r
Hardcover, 336 pages
Published February 19th 2008 by Atheneum Books for Young Readers
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David - author, advocate, father

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Average rating 3.94  · 
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 ·  35,198 ratings  ·  3,025 reviews

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Apr 21, 2009 rated it did not like it
I wish to God that Goodreads had a category or designation for THE WORST BOOK I HAVE EVER READ, because this would definitely be in it. The schtick is a pretty good one - the drug addicted son writing his version and his father writing his own version, but the execution is just awful. The kid, Nic, is just one more selfish, entitled kid (who brand-name and name drops excessively) who goes down a wrong path and has a family to keep picking up the pieces for him, giving him chance after chance. It ...more
Apr 24, 2008 rated it did not like it
I tried reading this book after reading Beautiful Boy and I couldn't get through it. This guy's writing was published in Newsweek? Once you get beyond the extremely graphic quality of it, I thought it was terrible. He touts himself as an accomplished writer for his age, yet he uses "amazing" to describe things at least 3 times in the first 50 pages. Come on.

However, it was interesting to read the opposite side of this story after reading Beautiful Boy. Nick is more honest than his father about t
Jun 26, 2008 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Readers of Beautiful Boy
Shelves: non-fiction
I heard about Tweak/Beautiful Boy through the provocative NY Times book review a few months ago. The idea of having such a harrowing story told from two opposite perspectives really piqued my interest.

Tweak is nothing if not engaging. That being said, I find the writing to be sub-par, at best. After listening to a Nic Sheff podcast, I learned that Nic writes exactly how he speaks. Filled with "like, you know"'s, I found myself frequently wondering if this was the caliber of work that landed him
Mar 17, 2009 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: everyone.
Recommended to Cheyenne by: a friend.
I don't mean to put down other people's opinions but you all are being incredibly harsh. This is Nic's true story, of growing up on Meth, and unless you have also overcome such a drug, it's not your place to call him a horrible, pathetic person. And to say that throughout some of the book, he's putting the blame on other people is wrong and you've obviously misunderstood. He looked up to his father a great deal. I remember him writing about how him and his father used to go on walks together and ...more
Jan 10, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Opening Line: "I'd heard rumors about what happened to Lauren, I mean, I never even knew her that well but we'd sort of hung out a few times in high school"

There's been a lot of buzz around Nic Sheff's bestselling memoir TWEAK and for good reason, its un-put-downable. This candid, gritty and detailed struggle with addiction is an amazing story but what entranced me most here wasn't Nic's decent into methamphetamine hell or his subsequent struggles to remain sober and find some kind of peace with
Aug 16, 2011 rated it did not like it
If you look up DOUCHEBAG in the dictionary, you're likely to see this guy under the main entry. I love memoirs about addiction, they are fascinating and usually serve as a nice reality check whenever my often troubled mind veers into darker territories. This one just irritated the hell out of me and made me badly wish I could punch the guy in the face. Sheff spends a lot of time boasting about how great a writer he is, which is strange because this book reads like an immature 14 year old wrote i ...more
jv poore
Rips my heart out, fills me with hope. Every. Time.
Mar 05, 2008 rated it it was ok
Shelves: read-2008
A book in need of an editor. But maybe that is the definition of an out of control life of a teenage/young twenty drug addict, a life in need of an editor.
Jan 21, 2014 rated it did not like it
Never has meth addiction seemed so boring. Or as Nic Sheff, with his fondness for trifold redundancies, would put it: boring, boring, boring. Sheff wants so badly to be the next dark, dangerous, and doomed druggy genius, but he's going to have clean up more than his act if he ever wants to belong in the same company as Burroughs, Bukowski, Miller, et al. His child of privilege, friend of the stars routine gets old very quickly, and one can only take so many repetitions of the same description, s ...more
Ellen Hopkins
Aug 30, 2009 rated it liked it
I just wanted to choke the guy. Shows addiction in a brutally honest way, but had to keep putting the book down.
Valerity (Val)
Dec 21, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
The gritty and harrowing story of Nic Sheff, a young man who shares his story of growing up on methamphetamines (in LA & SanFrancisco), and his repeated relapses on his road to recovery. A crazy ride of a story, I read it in 24 hours.
Melissa Field
Jun 19, 2008 rated it did not like it
Honestly after reading Beautiful Boy this book was a let down. I felt our writer was one of the most selfish, self-inflated narrative voices I have read in a long time. By the end of the book I hated the kid--and found that he glamorized and legitimized his meth addiction. I am curious if this book was only published thanks to Nic's father's connections. A cliched story of an addict who really is too concerned with his California land of plastic existence. Barf. I am sure the movie starring so g ...more
Jan 29, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: real-life, psych
For all the issues our nation, (if you live in the U.S.) and the world, faces in regards to substance use, the fact remains that most of us will go through our life without addiction to illicit drugs. This book is amazing because it gives a firsthand account on the struggles and experiences someone has to overcome in their journey to sobriety. Nic has courage. Not only for not giving up his battle for sobriety, but in sharing his mess, warts and all, with the world. Nic's account is messier than ...more
Spider the Doof Warrior
May 24, 2009 rated it really liked it
Read this book again. It's still good but it reads a bit like On the Road, only the consequences are more realistic. Nic flushes his life down the toilet, claws his way back, and you cheer for him, but he relapses and ruins his life again.I want to read the next book he wrote but if he got with Zelda again I'd be SO FRUSTRATED and I'd YELL at the book and people would see me do this.

Also his father's book Beautiful Boy is good too. Illegal drugs don't just affect the person doing them but their
Moira Russell
The Twit-like update box is not enough to contain my ennui and annoyance at this point(p 259). OH MY GOD. You can just tell when Zelda enters his life again everything is about to totally fall apart, and lo, it does. Story of an addict's life. But, just as the writing about drugs is sort of totally emotionless, this has a real I-was-at-a-movie-and-it-went-like-this quality now -- it's told _about,_ but the people are really hard to get a handle on, or even to see, and therefore to care about. Th ...more
Jun 08, 2013 rated it did not like it
This book is actually, like, the worst thing I have ever read. It's just so, so, bad, you know?

The above is an example of the caliber of writing found in this book. No exaggeration. It's the sort of book where you're hating it so much that you're angry as you read, but can't stop because you have to find out if there is anything redemptive about it at all. In the case of Tweak, there is not.

How did such a poorly written book make it onto the NYT best seller list? I could not stop asking myself t
Watch Your Words
Dec 11, 2018 rated it really liked it
In what I can only describe as a harrowing roller coaster ride, constantly weaving between despair and hope, Nic Sheff illustrates his journey of coming to terms with his addiction and himself. Nic’s struggle, which he acknowledges may never end, is frustrating and sympathetic in a way that will make you want to weep for and wrap your arms around a young man attempting to conquer a demon that at times seems much larger than life. This isn’t for the light of heart. In vivid and often graphic deta ...more
Jennifer Wardrip
May 12, 2008 rated it really liked it
Reviewed by coollibrarianchick for

Methamphetamine use, commonly known on the street as crystal, tweak, the New Prozac, and crank, has become a growing problem in the U.S. in the last several years. From what I have read, there is no worse drug addiction than crystal meth. It not only affects the person using but the personal relationships they have, as well. It is not just my humble opinion when I tell you that these drugs have the power to kill or cause great harm. A great exam
Apr 09, 2008 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: All
Recommended to Jeremy by: Dennis Miller
Shelves: people-biography
This is the memoir by Nic Sheff that accompanies his father, David's, memoir. The book is an extremely honest look at addiction written by an addict, Nic Sheff.
This book is heavy emotionally. Everything from details on cooking meth to abcsessed arms the size of baseballs are included. Along the way Nic prostitutes himself, steals from strangers, and in a heart-breaking scene, takes $5 from his little brother's piggy bank.
Nic holds nothing back, and what is left on the page is something that is c
Apr 01, 2008 rated it it was ok
I'm not sure what to make of this book. It felt like at times it was trying too hard (to sound cool, to be edgy, to be desparate), and at times it was not trying hard enough (Sheff alludes to his "troubled past" that is supposed to be even more messed up than his present relapses, yet never gives any real details to back it up). Ultimately, the book ends up reading like a cliche that we've read and seen and heard too many times to make it fresh anymore. And although the book is "true," there are ...more
Jun 15, 2008 rated it it was ok
Recommends it for: parents of teens and teens who think they are too cool to listen to warnings about drugs
Here is the story of David Sheff's Beautiful Boy from the son’s perspective. He is not the writer that his father is, but hearing his voice, so clearly the voice of a damaged soul, and also possibly a narcissist, fills out the picture. In its own way, this book was hard to put down, despite its shortcomings. (Poor editing?) I gained a great deal of insight into the devastation of addiction. And I find that helpful in many ways. Despite all the damage he wrought and his desperate struggles to go ...more
Carrie (brightbeautifulthings)
Tweak is a memoir of Nic Sheff’s early young adulthood as a crystal meth addict. He recounts his spiral through addiction and his very lowest points, to his turn toward rehab and the twelve steps and back time and again. From relapse to recovery, Sheff is forced to face the worst of himself and dig to the root of his addiction in the hopes that he can finally get clean, stay clean, and live his life. Trigger warnings (pretty much everything): death, addiction, drug use, overdose, withdrawal, nee ...more
Jen from Quebec :0)
I like to re-read this one every now and then in between 'big reads' as it has an easy flow and the author, a drug addict, has some wild escapades. ...more
Kelly H. (Maybedog)
Surprisingly poorly written, especially considering the author was allegedly published in Newsweek while in high school. It was all over the place and there were contradictions in his timeline. The book also said very little about his growing up. In fact, it doesn't start until he's in his early 20's and the worst of his drug use sounds like it was in college. Plus, there was almost nothing about meth. He uses a mixture of meth and heroin through half of the book but most of the time he uses wha ...more
Aug 24, 2008 rated it it was amazing
I truly enjoyed this book. I just finished it and I am excited to write this review. I had just finished Beautiful Boy, which is written by this author's father regarding and is about his son's (the author of Tweak, Nic's) battle with drug addiction prior to picking up Tweak. Both books were compelling and it was amazing to read about the same story from the son's perspective after reading about the experience from his father's perspective - a rare experience. Having read his father's book first ...more
Jun 30, 2008 rated it it was ok
Recommends it for: no one
i consumed the first half in a haze not unlike the author's, which is to say, without feeling or emotion or time spent considering my reasoning. when, during his feel-good clean-up, i started to actively root for a relapse, i knew i was probably never going to feel sympathy for him. and in fact, i never did. fuck this kid & his problems (tho it never became clear precisely what those were, only that they caused him to become a fucked up junkie). whatever, bitch, life is hard for everyone. there ...more
Apr 22, 2009 rated it liked it
I definitely prefer the father's book over the son's, not to say that the son's memoir isn't powerful, it just isn't enjoyable to read. First, it clearly reveals the seedy, dangerous and horrific underbelly of drug abuse and addiction in American cities.

It's hard to say if it is by design, but you begin the book expecting to feel sympathy for Nic and his drug addiction, but as you ride the roller coaster of addiction, sobriety, and relaspe with him, you begin to feel the frustration that his par
Apr 08, 2019 rated it really liked it
What was I thinking reading this?

Sheff's personality shoots all over the place as he seesaws between addiction and rehab, Mr Nice Guy and total pr*t. But hey it's his life. I read this before watching the film and now think I probably won't watch the film.
But it's gotta be a 4* on the strength of the crack and Arizona rehab chapters alone. The third quarter of the book is brilliant.
Apr 02, 2010 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Joanne Baines
Jun 10, 2009 rated it did not like it
Shelves: print, audio, have-it, borrowed
I hate meth addicts. I had hoped that this book would bring some understanding of what it's like on the other side of the drug. It did not. It just dragged me through the experience of spending time with a selfish sociopathic tweaker again. Redundant as hell. In order to save you some time and cash, here's how it goes...

"I'm going to steal from you, entice the people you love to do this satanic drug with me and take apart anything that has value so that it'll be all fucked up in a heaping mess i
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Nic Sheff is the author of two memoirs about his struggles with addiction: the New York Times bestselling Tweak: Growing Up on Methamphetamines and We All Fall Down: Living with Addiction. Nic lives in Los Angeles, California where he writes for film and television.

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