This week I choose a book that I bought from the reduced shelf at the local supermarket … it cost the grand total of 25p!
I choose ‘Wasted ’ by Mark Johnson . (340 pages paperback)
This book was an autobiography looking at the life of the author, Mark Johnson, and how his life descended into crime; drugs and at one point he even thought he had killed someone. He described his terrible childhood with his father who never showed any kindness let alone love. His father is totally controlling and jealous of anyone his wife (Mark’s mother) may talk to; regularly beating up both his wife and the children. To escape his father Mark spent as much of his time out of the house as possible. This then meant he had no food to eat so he would steal food. Mark also wanted to be liked by the ‘big’ children on the estate so would so anything they asked. He tried cigarettes while still at Primary school.
When the ‘big’ boys start smoking cannabis he tries it and from there things just progressed downwards. Every time he was given an opportunity to escape – whether it was by doing an Art course or when he trained as a tree surgeon – he seemed to take what he saw as the easy option and return to drugs as soon as he hit a problem.
You could tell that he would get more involved in drugs … he soon starts to supply so he can afford his own habit. He kept trying to convince himself that he wasn’t really addict because he didn’t do whatever the next stage was. By the time he faced up to the fact he was an addict he was in London living on the streets having lost his job with no obvious friends. He seems to think nothing of stealing CDs and selling them on to pay for his habit. He implies that the shops were stupid for not catching him. He seems to think himself cleverer than the average person in the street because he has to ‘earn’ so much more money than them just to keep himself in drugs.
He reaches rock bottom when neither mainlining heroin or chewing crack have any real effect on him any longer. At various times he is given a chance to go through rehab but he uses while still in the actual buildings.
He does finally come clean with a great struggle. You get the impression that he has used a great deal of people in his life and come across as being very selfish and emotionally immature.
I found the book interesting to start with when describing his childhood but it became very repetitive when he was writing about how he found his next hit and where he stored the drugs etc.
I am pleased for him that he managed to finally reclaim his life; that he is developing a relationship with his 2 sons and that he is using his experience to work with the Prince’s Trust trying to educate those in power and help those in a similar position to him when he was living homeless on the streets controlled by drugs.
It took me almost 10 days to finish this book, I had a break in the middle and did not read for a couple of nights as it was such hard going. If I had not been taking part in this challenge I’m not sure I would have bothered to pick it up again. It was not so much the style but more the subject matter.It is not often I find a book I struggle to finish but I have found another one this week.
So my current totals for my Reading Challenges are:
52 Books in 52 Weeks ……. 10 books ……… 42 Left
Read It Again, Sam ……………. 5 book ……….. 11 Left
Dusty Mini Challenge …………. 6 books ………….. 2 Left until my next award
Chunky Mini Challenge ……… 2 Books ………… 2 Left until my next award