In the midst of the Cold War, war in Vietnam, race riots in New York City, and a turning point in American culture between "Leave It to Beaver" and Woodstock, Jim Carroll began writing his "basketball diaries" at the age of 12. He's an all-city basketball star at an ivy league prep school leading a double life, experimenting with drugs, getting hooked, hustling gay men to support what will become an epic heroin addiction, and . . . becoming a poet. This is an incredibly funny book as well as a remarkable document of a key period in American culture -- but read it for the language! Even better, read it and then listen to the audio book read by Carroll.
The review of this Book prepared by Cassie Carter
It is 1964 in New York City's Lower East Side of Manhattan. Jim Carroll, the teenage diarist, records his games as a basketball star in his diaries. Something happens to him,
and he mistakes the fact (as he explains to his mother)
that it's actually heroin you can get addicted to, not marijuana. So he causally
begins to skin-pop heroin, then inject it directly into his veins with a needle. He is
laughing at that old junkie phrase about the monkey being on his back. But
it is no laugh to him when he runs out, and gets the skin creeps, and the fever,
and the chills. His addiction increases, and Jim, while he stills attends high school,
and high school games, increasingly turns to the underground life. He supports his
habit by selling his body to gay men, calling it "perversion for profit". Eventually, he
lands in Rikers, a prison, for a month. But this does not reform him, and in the end,
he's on the nod, "looking for something pure".
The review of this Book prepared by Joan Clare
Kara on 1/7/2016 4:26:46 PM says: I loved this book because of Carroll's writing style: humorous and artful, and his character describing things oddly innocently when juxtaposed with his grave situation. I can't describe it; Carroll's character writes things so casually as if they just happen to them, there is a level of understanding that he does not have at the age of writing these journals that, instead of taking away from the novel, makes the story that much deeper and leaves more to the reader to infer. I also loved the actual plot of the story, and the points Carroll addresses which I feel expresses his unique perspective. If you watch the movie after reading the book, you almost get angry how it erases some of the, I guess you could say 'rawness' of the novel. It glosses everything over and explains away Carroll's slipping into addiction with the depression from his friend Bobby's death instead of as a result of his unfortunate circumstance. Basically it erases the point of the class-ist society we live in and the lack of education about drugs in his time period (end even now in my opinion). But that is not a criticism of the movie's acting or directing, only the writing of it when compared to the book. Definitely read the book first, but that's my opinion for everything.
Overall one of my all-time favorite books.