2 out of 4 stars
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The book, Why Can't Johnny Just Quit? by Kyle Oh, M.D., is an informative read about what he has found through research and his patients, redefining what addiction really is. Dr. Oh describes how the loss of a patient in the grip of addiction became the catalyst for him to delve into what really happens when someone becomes truly addicted to a substance, and the best ways to help them overcome those cravings. His discoveries are very eye-opening, educational, and some are even controversial. Dr. Oh states that in order to effectively battle addiction, we need to be more educated about it, focused on prevention, and change some of our perceptions, as they have been misrepresented by the media and widely accepted as truth.
While reading this book, I found the journey Dr. Oh took to learn, discover, and help patients as much as he has during the past several years, quite beneficial and an interesting read. However, I noticed some significant problems with the book itself. My first overall concern is that the continuity of the book is lacking. It is rather choppy, in fact. The first part of the book is written in short sections, which is not all bad because at times there were parts with medical terminology and drug information. The choppy part became apparent when I noticed that the same statements and two or three important themes were being repeated in different ways under each short section. I don't just mean the one statement that Dr. Oh specifically mentions he is repeating purposely so the reader retains it. I am referring to the redundant information that appeared to be filler. By the time I got to the middle of the book, I was thinking he seemed to be having trouble organizing his thoughts in a more congruent way.
The other part I disliked about the book is that Dr. Oh expressed some obvious biases when he started on the case study section. Each case study is a brief personal story about one (or more) of Dr. Oh's patients and how addiction affected them. There are 20 case studies presented. Dr. Oh didn't mention what the patient looked like unless it was a pertinent piece of information for their case. Then I noticed three separate women Dr. Oh mentioned were blond. In no other case study did he mention anyone's hair color, male or female. There were also two men where Dr. Oh mentioned their general appearances, describing the men in negative terms and describing them both as skinny. He did not mention the general appearance of anyone else in the other case studies.
The best part about Why Can't Johnny Just Quit? is definitely the new information and overall message of how we can prevent and fight addiction! The other good things about the book are that Dr. Oh covers the whole spectrum of addiction, from why people get addicted, to why they get clean and sober, and why people relapse. He includes the medical field's findings and progress. He also talks about the many substances that people become addicted to, from prescription medications, to alcohol, to marijuana. Dr. Oh also provides valuable insight from his experience as a pain management specialist. The easiest and most engaging part of the book is the case study section.
Overall, the information conveyed in Why Can't Johnny Just Quit? is interesting and important for everyone. There are many references to biological processes that may be too advanced for young readers. In general, however, this book is appropriate for anyone to read who is high school age or older. The difficulties in reading this book are mostly with the organization of the author's thoughts. The book formatting is not clean and makes the presentation more difficult to navigate. Other than the overall formatting style, there were only a few typographical and grammatical errors. I rate this book 2 out of 4 stars because of the poor organization and repetition of information in an otherwise worthy read.
Why can't Johnny Just Quit?
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