05 September 2009

Junky (William S. Burroughs)

I actually started writing this review about a week ago whilst on Skype with Alcott, got one sentence in and promptly forgot about it. If my posts are a little sporadic for the next couple of weeks it is because I am currently writing reviews for FOUR publications (if you count this one) and seeing as this is the only one for which I get no money... it may be put on the back burner. This is not to say that I don't love writing reviews here; this is the one place I can write a review and completely slate a book should I so desire. Not so with my other forays into reviewing. Anyway, rejoycement over negative review ability aside here is a book which I LOVED. It is also a book which confirmed my belief that I don't really want to be a heroin addict, and also made me yearn (just a little) to have lived in the Beat Generation. I am talking of course about Junky by William S. Burroughs.
Although published as fiction, it is pretty well accepted that this is an autobiographical (or at least semi-autobiographical) account of Burroughs' own addiction. The main character is called William, last name Lee - the maiden name of Burroughs' mother and a majority of the incidents in the book were, surprisingly enough, incidents in Burroughs' own life. The book starts with Burroughs' first shot of morphine, details his many attempts at 'quitting for good' and lets you in on all kinds of secrets which you probably would know nothing about if you (like myself) have never taken heroin cut with milk sugar (bought from a shady Mexican lady) and cooked it up in a spoon over a Bunsen burner.

Through a series of really interesting musings about junk as a way of life, not just as a trip, you get to see inside Burroughs' head. And what a messed up place it is. We are talking about the man who shot (and killed) his wife when he convinced her to put a shot glass on her head so he could re-enact the William Tell shoots apple off son's head incident. Except with a gun. And he missed the glass and got his wife instead. (The same wife who is pictured on the cool first edition cover which I got thanks to the wonder of the internet - the very pulpy novel cover depicts an actual scene in the book.)

Anyway...I am running out of steam already with this review that never really got off the ground (although it got further off the ground than Alcott's first attempt at a Blackberry Wine review) - But this book is an amazingly written account of a narcotics addiction that spanned Burroughs' entire lifetime... it is fascinating... just go read it. Okay?

(ALSO - I am the proud new owner of a MacBook - have discovered blog looks kind of weird and small in Safari - sorry about that to all you Mac owners who have known this for a while and wondered why we insisted on using such tiny font - not our choice I am afraid.)
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