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Forced Entries, The Downtown Diaries Book Review Summary

Detailed Plot Synopsis of Forced Entries, The Downtown Diaries

This followup to "The Basketball Diaries" finds Carroll at age 20, still hooked on heroin and obsessively forcing an entry into the glitzy New York scene of the 1970s. He works for artists Andy Warhol and Larry Rivers; hangs out with luminaries like Bob Dylan, Allen Ginsberg, William Burrougs, Ted Berrigan, Patti Smith, and Robert Mapplethorpe; and he makes the scene at the legendary Max's Kansas City, where the Velvet Underground is playing.   He comes to understand that this quest is empty -- that in his ceaseless efforts to be part of the scene, he is losing his unique vision and thus his ability to write, and that he will be unable to kick his heroin addiction as long as he is driven by the desire to be part of the scene. So he moves to a small town in California, where, during a long period of reclusion, he conquers heroin and regains his poetic voice.
This report prepared by Cassie Carter



It is now a few years later, and teenage poet and heroin addict, Jim,is living in the Chelsea Hotel, supporting his habit by doing various art "things" and writing poetry. He has a sneaking feeling that his addiction
is not only holding him back as an artist, but it is spiritually sucking him dry.
He goes to church and lights candles to certain saints (St. Duncan and St.Francis) for guidance. He's tired of looking like a redheaded scarecrow, and living like the scum on the sidewalks. He attends a performance art happening, and throws a cockroach down on the ground, and sprays the
bug with pesticide until it parishes. The papers say the next day that his "performance" was symbolic of the Vietnam War, but it is even more symbolic
of what Jim is doing to himself with drugs. When his close friend is murdered
while they're looking to cope dope, Jim channels his soul searching into
kicking heroin for good.
This report prepared by Joan Clare








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Chapter Analysis of Forced Entries, The Downtown Diaries

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Plot & Themes

Tone of book?    -   thoughtful Time/era of story    -   1960's-1970's Life of a profession:    -   writer Internal struggle/realization?    -   Yes Struggle over    -   nature of existence (heavy philosophy) Is this an adult or child's book?    -   Adult or Young Adult Book Job/Profession/Status story    -   Yes Drinking/Drugs problems?    -   drugs Pearls of wisdom from homeless?    -   Yes

Main Character

Gender    -   Male Profession/status:    -   writer Age:    -   20's-30's Ethnicity/Nationality    -   White (American)    -   Irish

Setting

How much descriptions of surroundings?    -   9 () United States    -   Yes The US:    -   Northeast    -   California Mountains/Cliffs    -   Yes Mountains:    -   climbing on trails City?    -   Yes City:    -   New York

Writing Style

Sex in book?    -   Yes What kind of sex:    -   touching of anatomy    -   licking    -   actual description of hetero sex    -   Boob talk!    -   Weiner talk!    -   two guys doing it Lot of foul language?    -   Yes Amount of dialog    -   significantly more descript than dialog    -   little dialog

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Jim Carroll Books Note: the views expressed here are only those of the reviewer(s).
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