To most observers, it looked like David Sheff lived a beautiful life. He had a successful career has a high-profile journalist, a lovely children’s book illustrator for a wife, and two adorable young children, Jasper and Daisy. But all of this was overshadowed by his older son Nic’s addiction to crystal meth. In this memoir, David recalls how his charming, joyful, energetic son became a surly addict who lied to his loved ones, stole from his parents, and lived on the streets. David tells the story of his initial denial, the 3 am phone calls that stopped his heart, the trips to the emergency room, the stints in rehab, the relapses. Through it all, David tortured himself with questions: What had he done wrong? What drove his beautiful boy to become such a monster? How could he help his son?
Before Beautiful Boy, I read and enjoyed Nic Sheff’s memoir Tweak about his struggle with meth. I liked his father’s version of the story even more. I like his writing style—this man obviously knows how to use words, and it makes his voice feel incredibly real. He goes into just enough detail to demonstrate how devastating addiction is without getting too gross or repeating himself as he chronicled Nic’s repeated disasters. I’m not a parent, but I feel that this is a book that would comfort any parents whose child is going through something difficult.