Beautiful Boy (Tie-In): A Father's Journey Through His Son's Addiction

Beautiful Boy (Tie-In): A Father's Journey Through His Son's Addiction

by David Sheff


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#1 New York Times bestseller
With a new afterword

Now a Major Motion Picture
Starring Steve Carell * Timothée Chalamet * Maura Tierney * and Amy Ryan

 “A brilliant, harrowing, heartbreaking, fascinating story, full of beautiful moments and hard-won wisdom. This book will save a lot of lives and heal a lot of hearts.” — Anne Lamott

“‘When one of us tells the truth, he makes it easier for all of us to open our hearts to our own pain and that of others.’ That’s ultimately what Beautiful Boy is about: truth and healing.” — Mary Pipher, author of Reviving Ophelia
What had happened to my beautiful boy? To our family? What did I do wrong? Those are the wrenching questions that haunted David Sheff’s journey through his son Nic’s addiction to drugs and tentative steps toward recovery. Before Nic became addicted to crystal meth, he was a charming boy, joyous and funny, a varsity athlete and honor student adored by his two younger siblings. After meth, he was a trembling wraith who lied, stole, and lived on the streets. David Sheff traces the first warning signs: the denial, the three a.m. phone calls—is it Nic? the police? the hospital? His preoccupation with Nic became an addiction in itself. But as a journalist, he instinctively researched every treatment that might save his son. And he refused to give up on Nic.
“Filled with compelling anecdotes and important insights . . . An eye-opening memoir.” — Washington Post

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781328974716
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Publication date: 09/04/2018
Pages: 352
Sales rank: 41,814
Product dimensions: 5.20(w) x 7.80(h) x 1.00(d)

About the Author

DAVID SHEFF is the author of several books, including the #1 New York Times best-selling memoir Beautiful Boy. His writing has appeared in the New York Times, the New York Times Magazine, Rolling Stone, Playboy, Wired, and many other publications. His ongoing research and reporting on the science of addiction earned him a place on Time magazine's list of the World's Most Influential People. Sheff and his family live in the San Francisco Bay Area. Visit David at, and on Twitter @david_sheff.


Table of Contents

Introduction 1

PART I Stay Up Late 17 PART II His Drug of Choice 105 PART III Whatever 123 PART IV If Only 171 PART V Never Any Knowing 235

Epilogue 307

Acknowledgments 319

Resources 321

Credits 325

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Beautiful Boy: A Father's Journey through His Son's Addiction 4.4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 128 reviews.
Sunflower6_Cris More than 1 year ago
Beautiful Boy is an amazing (and sad) journey that David Sheff describes about his son Nic and his addiction with Methamphetamines. This book provides a personal parent's point of view of the rollercoaster life that his family and his son endured during his son's drug addiction. This book was so easy to read and understand coming from a family who has endured drug additions. I didn't want the story to end when I finished the book. I wondered what happened to him and his son. Have they been able to get through these past years? Is Nic still struggling with addition and recovery? I look forward to reading Nic's book, "Tweak" to see the other side of the story.
BeccaJoy on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Highly recommended read for all parents. While this book specifically covers a father's perspective of his son's addiction I believe this book is one that contains valuable information for all parents.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I would highly recommend this book to any family going through the anguish & heartbreak of a chemically addicted member. The author is fortunate that he had the means to afford all the intervention programs his son attended. The son is fortunate that he has a family that still cares after they have been let down and betrayed time & time again. Although I gained a lot of insight on a very destructive problem, I would not wish this nightmare on any family.
Anonymous 10 months ago
Beautiful Boy puts something inexplicable into words. Something so dark and so mysterious in our society into words that are not written, but crafted in a way that it almost makes sense of it. Addiction. David Shepp illustrates his journey through his son’s addiction through his book. It shows the ups, the downs and the rock bottoms of dealing with addictions in your life. It shows almost an acceptance to addiction, but not quite. Just enough to help his son, Nic. It’s always going to be something and it’s not going to go away any time soon. Anyone can become an addict, and you just have to work through it, as he had to learn. People with addictions are just regular people, which is completely the case in David’s life. Nic became addicted to meth, and he had to learn to not blame himself for the addiction. He gives an interesting and new outlook on addicts, with some sort of acceptance. Accepting the unacceptable is a part of the process. It gives you a raw and real description of a story that is so common, but at the same time so unique. Every addiction is different, and there’s no right or wrong way to deal with it, and that’s what makes David’s position so difficult. His emotions are evident throughout the book, but it doesn’t distract from the story he’s telling. This book is a little heart-wrenching. It makes you wonder about things you’ve never wondered or experienced before in your life. Or maybe it tells the same story you have that you don’t tell anyone around you. It’s dark, but it’s very very real in that sense. Addictions tend to stay in the dark in this society, but anyone who loves an addict will have pretty much this exact same story to tell, and it brings light to a horrible situation that is the ongoing reality for so many people all over the world, whether others realize it or not.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Great read and very touching however..not as realistic as struggles in 2014-2109...there are no rehabs available..for the un insured..and 99% of addicts are uninsured.. how did this addict afford a cell phone..and apartments..etc..
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
No sugar coating
LorrieThomson More than 1 year ago
Any parent who has been upended by an offspring's drug addiction will see themselves in the pages of Beautiful Boy. The helplessness, the hope, the disappointment, and ultimately the decision to never give up
tjsjohanna on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This was a hard book to listen to. Who can explain why human nature is the way it is? Why we destroy ourselves and make ourselves miserable and can't stop? And how can one adequately describe the pain and sorrow and helplessness that one feels standing beside a loved one, unable to change or alter or even influence. Mr. Shef leaves the book with a sense of peace - of having reached a place of moving outside the crisis, of setting in place boundaries that work, of focusing on life. This memoir also sheds light on the true horror that is drug addiction with all the destruction that it creates.
mojomomma on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This is an amazing book about a father and his son who becomes addicted to meth. Fascinating book--I devoured it.
bobbieharv on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Beautifully written account of his son's battle with addiction.
wunderkind on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I have an older cousin who was addicted to methamphetamine for about a decade but made it through the recovery process a few years ago. That's not why I read this book (a decision which was based on impulse and a vague memory of reading good reviews), but it definitely made this book somewhat revelatory for me. David Sheff details the life of his son, Nic, who in his teenage years went from a precocious and charismatic kid to a full-blown meth addict by age 18. Methamphetamine is apparently the worst drug to become addicted to and the hardest to recover from and Nic goes through several bouts of rehab and relapse over the course of several years. Beautiful Boy isn't Nic's story though (which is told in his own book, Tweak, which I haven't read); it's the story of what his family, particularly his father, step-mother, and younger siblings, go through as they witness his self-destructive behavior and experience the feelings of hopelessness and powerlessness that family and friends of addicts must deal with. I nearly cried at least a half dozen times while reading this--several times in public places, actually--and it's been quite a while since a book elicited that kind of response from me. It has also made me better appreciate the kind of willpower it took for my cousin to get clean again, especially since she had almost no support from her family (her mother is, or at least was, also a meth addict), and has inspired me to write to her to express my admiration. We've never been close, since she's about ten years older than me, but, after reading what Nic Sheff and his family went through, I think that she, and anyone else who manages to beat a potentially life-destroying addiction, deserves some applause.
DuncanMoron on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Written by David Sheff this book is the perspective of a father as he deals with his son¿s plunge into the world of drug addiction dealing with Meth and what it entails for the entire family.Nic was an intelligent boy. Beyond intelligent, he was gifted. He did all of the things that you would want and hope that your son would do. It was unfortunate as David and his wife couldn¿t make their marriage work and at a young age for Nic they divorced. To make matters worse the divorce was volatile and while they lived in the Bay Area of San Francisco David¿s ex wife upon finalizing the divorce ended up moving to LA. Nic stays with David during the school year but spends a lot of the holidays and summer down in LA with his mom. I having recently gone through a divorce that was anything but cordial and having three children closely associated with a lot of what this family went through.Nic held his own in the beginning but like all children was approached with the temptation of doing drugs and drinking (further instigated during a trip to France) and like a lot of kids failed in his choices. He started out with pot moved on to experiment in other areas ending up with Meth as his drug of choice. Nic went to a private school, was on the swim team, had excellent grades and was what we would all hope our children might be during those early years. As he struggled with his adolescence and dealing with the pressures of middle and high school he like so many of us felt uncomfortable without the aid of some help.As Nic began his struggle with drugs and sank deeper and deeper into his own personal hell David along with his new wife and two new children soon discovered that drug addiction is not a personal struggle but one that a family must face together. I am sure that I would feel the same way as David did struggling with self doubt and constantly self guessing one¿s decision while looking for somebody to blame for this abysmal fall. Who really understands why anyone becomes addicted. So many kids make the choice to try drugs and are able to deal with them in an isolated case while so many can¿t ever get beyond that downward spiral lacking the ability to say no once the bridge has been crossed.This is a story of a family¿s struggle to help one of its own deal with all of the baggage that comes with addiction as well as all the family struggles that come with normal life. You feel the pain of Nic and of David and of their entire family as Nic makes it through one rehab only to fall back again then into another rehab re-living the cycle over and over and over again. You feel the hell that David faces as he becomes obsessed with Nic and what he can or cannot do to help his son.I read several books and enjoy a wide variety of different genres and can only say for those of you with kids, or with kids who have a drug problem or are parents or just about anyone this is a fantastic book. Nic has now written a book from his perspective of life on drugs entitled ¿Tweak¿ and I will be reading that one very soon as well. I couldn¿t give a book a higher recommendation. Pick it up when you have a few hours as it will be difficult to put down but be prepared as it is a gut wrenching story of a family and their battle against a force that is not easily fought.
Skipstertoo on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Just when you think you've covered all the parental bases and you're feeling cocksure about your skills as a parent...along comes the very painful reminder that parenting has never been about the strength of your own will and intentions. Sad portrait of the power of meth/speed/whatever-the-kids-call-it-now. Unfortunately, the book's editor didn't read through to the book's ends innumerous times with the author self-congratulating himself on his parenting skills through countless irrelevant stories about his two other children. The author still wants to cling to his initial belief that politically correct parenting is superior. Why does it seem that every journalist-turned-author struggles with story endings? And, crikey, how they torment the reader with their myopic navel gazing.3 star rating on CONTENT, only. Writing style gets a solid 2.
carolwill on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Sad and frustrating story of love for a son but it sort of dragged on in the end.
ILJayhawk on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Interesting look at a real family's life with addition. Author includes factual information about drugs, but the author admitted in the book smoking pot with his drug addited son and also smoking drugs recreationally at parties. This is setting an example? Good to read, but not impressed with the father's real life choices which he admits may not have been the right choices, either.
Alirambles on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
"Beautiful Boy" is a poignant reflection of a father's enduring love for his drug-addicted son. Sort of a companion novel to the very compelling "Tweak," by Nic Sheff (the son). I definitely recommend reading both, in either order. Because I read "Tweak" first, I knew how this book would end, but it didn't matter because I didn't know how this protagonist/author would find closure amidst the ongoing saga of loving an addict. I hope to read more from David Sheff, and from the Beautiful Boy who grew up hard.
gkleinman on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Most books on addiction are from the point of view of the addict. In Beautiful Boy the perspective is shifted and we see the impact of addiction from a parent's point of view.Extremely well written, heartfelt and engaging Beautiful Boy is one of the better books about the impact of drug abuse and addiction out there. It's also one of the better books to give to a teen to open a discussion about drug use and experimentation.
msjoanna on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This was clearly a difficult book to write and to share with the world, as well as with his actual family members. The author is an excellent writer who deals as honestly as he can with his own emotions and his own journey from disbelief and rationalization to release. Frequently, the book reminded me of The Year of Magical Thinking by Joan Didion. Indeed, the author of this book actually quotes from Didion's work a couple of times. But the perspective of the similarities and differences between losing your child (permanently) to fatal illness and losing your child (sometimes, with permanence possible at any time) to additiction was a powerful and useful lens. The author admits that he hasn't lived a model life, nor has he been a model father. On the one hand, I wanted him to take more responsibility for the difficulties his choices created for his son during his son's younger years. On the other hand, I think the author is correct that no one can really take the blame for his son's addictions and troubles. As the Al-Anon motto goes: he didn't cause it, he can't control it, and he can't cure it. For me, it was also interesting to read a perspective on AA and other recovery programs that was both an insider and a skeptic. For those for whom these programs have worked, the programs become almost religious and sacred. From the outside, it's hard to evaluate. I was impressed with the author's ability to become a participant without becoming a true believer and to find benefit even without becoming a whole-hearted supporter of all recovery programs.
LBM007 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I usually don't impulse buy anything but trashy novels, but after hearing David Sheff and son, Nic, speak at a mental health provider conference about their experiences with Nic's crystal meth addiction I was so moved that I bought both the father and son's version of the story (Beautiful Boy and Tweak, respectively) on the spot and then immediately read them back-to-back. I could quibble with the presentation of a few sections of Beautiful Boy but, all in all, it was a great read.
lalalibrarian on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Intense. I like how much research is included in this book. I can't wait to read the son's memoir.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
A personal story used to inform and help those who suffer from the disease that is addiction. Overwhelming and enthralling.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago