Tweak by Nic Sheff

Tweak: Growing Up on Methamphetamines is the counterpoint to Beautiful Boy. Tweak is by the addicted son; Beautiful Boy by the suffering father. I first read Beautiful Boy, which was also published first, with every intention of reading Tweak, but Beautiful Boy was a pretty depressing read. As I mentioned in my review of it, I’m accustomed to a “happy ever after” ending for mental illness and addiction books. Although I guess we always know that relapses are lurking in the shadows, you like to end on some kind of hopeful high note. Beautiful Boy ended with Nic in treatment but after so many relapses that neither his father nor the reader could believe he’d been through his last.

Tweak has no better picture to paint. In fact, although it ends where Beautiful Boy did, my edition contained two additional epilogues/afterwords chronicling two more (shorter, it sounds like) relapses. Since then, Nic has had a blog but when I went to check it out, I found the last post was one saying “Bye” because other things were consuming his time, which reads a bit like addict-speak for “I’m getting ready to relapse.”

Aside from my increasing frustration with Nic’s relapses, I enjoyed the book. His writing is a little too obviously casual, peppered with “like” and “you know.” It’s meant to sound like he’s really talking but it comes off as artificial over a space as long as that book is, but he’s honest and open and a good writer. I wish him luck.

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