We All Fall Down: Living With Addiction by Nic Sheff; read in November, 2010. Copy provided by Little, Brown Books for Young Readers via NetGalley. To be published in April, 2011.
I don’t think a day goes by that my blog doesn’t get at least one hit thanks to a search phrase of “Nic Sheff update” or “Nic Sheff relapse.” I originally posted my thoughts on Tweak and then mentioned a CNN article talking about Nic’s relapse, which is what brings people here. Tweak continues to be a book I cannot keep on the library shelves, although some of that has been due to theft. I take that to mean kids want it even more. I was happy to hear Nic Sheff has another memoir coming out; one reason being an update in his own voice, and another because it means he must be sober more often than not to accomplish a second book. When I saw it was available on NetGalley, I had to read it.
We All Fall Down: Living With Addiction covers a period of time in Nic’s life when he entered rehab after Tweak ended. He is in and out of a couple different programs, and has episodes of relapse. He talks about working on a book, which I assume to be Tweak, and then touring with his dad to promote it. Like Tweak, it is not an easy, happy book to read, but Nic’s story is powerful and really puts the reader in his mind. I couldn’t help but feel sympathy for all involved: Nic, his family, his friends, his fellow addicts. Again, like Tweak, it is written in a conversational tone. It doesn’t make the book feel like “quality literature” but I think many readers will value Nic’s honesty and voice over anything else.
I would recommend that Tweak be read before reading We All Fall Down. It could be read on its own, but I think Nic’s story is more powerful if you know his background struggles of addiction and relationship drama. When he crosses paths with Zelda late in the book, I don’t think the reader can grasp Nic’s growth without knowing their story.
We All Fall Down is a memoir that I could not put down, and I really value Nic’s update. I continue to wish the best for him and hope we hear more from Nic himself in the future. I’ll definitely be adding several copies of this to my high school library.