3 out of 4 stars
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Freedom for Lab Monkeys: A curious teenager's experience with designer drugs by Bryson P. Connolly is the story of a young man who got hooked on powerful designer drugs and fought hard to overcome his severe addiction.
Luke Baker is in his last few months of high school, and he is seriously struggling. He is way behind his homework, and there is a real chance that he won’t graduate this year. All these problems are caused by his addiction to chemicals like MDMA (ecstasy), LSD (acid), and worst of all, MDPV (also called bath salts). In addition, he is a popular drug dealer who supplies his friends, schoolmates, and other people around the town with various drugs.
While I was reading the story, my stomach was in knots. I don’t think I have ever met a genuine drug addict apart from seeing them on TV, so the whole story (with its sordid details) was a culture shock for me. What really grabbed me by the throat, however, was that his parents knew he was on drugs (although Luke was careful not to tell them about the heavier drugs he was taking), yet they were not overly concerned about his addiction and comforted him with phrases like “You are great and we believe in you.” I often wanted to slap them silly for being blind to the fact that, sooner or later, their son would end up dead in an alley from drug overdose.
I almost lost hope of anything changing in the book besides Luke going about his day-to-day drug business and his parties, when something happened that caused him to experience major revelations that changed his life forever. At the end of the book, the author mentions his hope that the story would bring awareness to Ayahuasca and DMT and help lots of suffering people, and he gives a list of links to useful Ayahuasca resources. However, I felt that the whole “healing” section was too rushed. It was only detailed in some 40 pages in a book over 400 pages long. The author could have spent more time focusing on Luke’s recovery and discussing the benefits of plant-based medicine.
I saw a couple of grammatical errors throughout the book, but they were few and far in between. I was pleased to notice that the book was well edited. The author wrote it while being incarcerated for shooting a man with a rifle. When he committed the crime, he was high. I have to give kudos to Bryson P. Connolly for doing his part in spreading awareness about the dangers of such highly addictive drugs.
After much deliberation, I decided to give Freedom for Lab Monkeys: A curious teenager's experience with designer drugs 3 out of 4 stars. I would have given it 4 stars if the author had spent more time focusing on the message about overcoming drug addiction, because the message is, indeed, very powerful. I recommend this book to anyone who has ever tried drugs, to people who want to quit drugs, and to readers curious about the daily routine of a drug addict. A note of caution: there are a few rather explicit sex scenes, so if you want your book clean and proper, this story might not be for you.
Freedom for Lab Monkeys
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