Official Review: Bitter sweet cocaine by alan salmon

This forum is for volunteer reviews by members of our review team. These reviews are done voluntarily by the reviewers and are published in this forum, separate from the official professional reviews. These reviews are kept separate primarily because the same book may be reviewed by many different reviewers.
Post Reply
Posts: 36
Joined: 22 Oct 2017, 13:41
Favorite Author: Brandon Sanderson
Bookshelf Size: 11
Reviewer Page:
Latest Review: Bitter sweet cocaine by alan salmon
fav_author_id: 4040

Official Review: Bitter sweet cocaine by alan salmon

Post by Stapes » 31 Jan 2018, 12:49

[Following is an official review of "Bitter sweet cocaine" by alan salmon.]
Book Cover
2 out of 4 stars
Share This Review

Bitter sweet cocaine, written by Alan Salmon tells the tale of Danny's life. Danny is a man plagued by an incredible amount of bad luck and the story takes us on his journey of trying to find love and happiness in a world that takes everything he loves away from him.

The story begins with Danny, who lives contentedly with his parents in a happy albeit poor family environment. Danny's world shatters when his mother suddenly dies of a heart attack. Danny and his father find solstice in each other's company and Danny begins working alongside his father in a factory. He loses his father to cancer a few years later and falls into a pit of despair. This sadness is only mildly alleviated when he finds that his father had left him enough money to start his own company. He tries rebuilding his life and through a series of unfortunate events just keeps on ending up worse off. Danny eventually ends up as a coke-addicted alcoholic and the story develops into a cautionary tale on the overuse of substances.

The book had a lot of events that managed to evoke emotional responses and the brutal way that the story rips away Danny's loved ones, sometimes with mere pages between the losses made the story seem more real in the process. I liked how easy it was to sympathize with Danny throughout the book, even when he starts losing hope. There was nothing that I loved about the book.

The thing I most disliked about the book was the very brief encounters that the reader had with Danny's loved ones. Danny's parents pass away in the first pages of the book, and although the effect is shocking I felt no connection to his parents and their loss was not one that was easy to empathize with. As they aren't the only loved ones that Danny loses in the story in this abrupt manner the generalized feeling is one of sorrow, albeit a shallow one, that could have been so much more personal if the reader had a chance to connect with the loved ones in Danny's life. Another flaw of the book is the dialect, where in many cases the people speaking are either extremely high or drunk or both. It is really hard to imagine someone who has snorted cocaine for a month to speak in the precise way that the book portrayed.

Anyone who has dealt with the loss of a loved one would like this book, as it shows you that as long as you never give up you can find happiness, even when it is not in the form that you expected it to be when you went looking for it. I would not recommend this book to anyone who knows a lot about the issues of drug abuse, as the book portrays it as a way to distance yourself from your emotional problems with little to no long-term impact.

I rate this book 2 out of 4 stars. The ending of the book was extremely disappointing and I can't give the book 3 stars due to that. The book, however, did manage to draw an emotional response and at times I was completely engrossed in it, so it deserves more than 1 star.

Bitter sweet cocaine
View: on Bookshelves | on Amazon

Like Stapes's review? Post a comment saying so!

User avatar
Sahani Nimandra
Bookshelves Moderator
Posts: 1766
Joined: 27 Nov 2017, 22:49
2019 Reading Goal: 100
2019 Reading Goal Completion: 6
2018 Reading Goal: 100
2018 Reading Goal Completion: 100
2017 Reading Goal: 5
2017 Reading Goal Completion: 5
Favorite Book: Harry Potter and The Sorceress Stone
Currently Reading: The Sparrow
Bookshelf Size: 593
Reviewer Page:
Latest Review: Dibs and Dabs of my Life by Gertrude Coulter
Reading Device: Huawei

Post by Sahani Nimandra » 12 Feb 2018, 07:21

Seems to me a series of unfortunate events! The plot seems to exaggerate on the power of addiction and the pain of loss. Sounds like a moving story. As you said if the author had paid more attention on making the reader have a warm and familiar feeling about the people who were involved in the protagonist life. That would be successful in making the reader cry. Thanks for the details!
The person, be it gentleman or lady, who has not pleasure in a good novel, must be intolerably stupid! - Jane Austen :techie-studyingbrown:

User avatar
Special Discussion Leader
Posts: 7041
Joined: 31 Dec 2016, 20:31
2019 Reading Goal: 95
2019 Reading Goal Completion: 17
2018 Reading Goal: 115
2018 Reading Goal Completion: 94
2017 Reading Goal: 100
2017 Reading Goal Completion: 94
Currently Reading: The Royal Trials
Bookshelf Size: 253
Reviewer Page:
Latest Review: Raven Dock by Sara Caldwell

Post by kandscreeley » 12 Feb 2018, 08:14

I'm sorry this one was so disappointing. I don't think I would enjoy it either. I dislike the way it portrays drug use. It's not a solution to any problem. Thanks for the review.
“There is no friend as loyal as a book.”
― Ernest Hemingway

Posts: 138
Joined: 27 Dec 2017, 09:20
2018 Reading Goal: 50
2018 Reading Goal Completion: 0
2017 Reading Goal: 0
Currently Reading: From Drift to SHIFT
Bookshelf Size: 299

Post by vinodsai » 12 Feb 2018, 12:56

Drugs don't solve your problems, it makes it even worse. I am not interested in books related to cocaine or addiction as well. Thanks for your thoughtful review.

User avatar
NL Hartje
Previous Member of the Month
Posts: 1254
Joined: 04 Jan 2018, 12:58
2018 Reading Goal: 30
2018 Reading Goal Completion: 143
2017 Reading Goal: 0
Favorite Book: Kushiel's Dart
Currently Reading:
Bookshelf Size: 384
Reviewer Page:
Latest Review: Ultra Blue by L. M. du Preez

Post by NL Hartje » 12 Feb 2018, 14:18

Substance abuse really hits home for me as both my father and sister are abusers. I really enjoyed your review but I'm not sure I'll be able to read the book. I appreciate your words because I am previcely the audience that wouldn't handle it well. Thanks for your honest feedback!
“So the writer who breeds more words than he needs, is making a chore for the reader who reads.”
-Dr. Seuss

User avatar
Posts: 1060
Joined: 07 Jan 2018, 03:51
Favorite Book: The Magic Mountain
Currently Reading:
Bookshelf Size: 241
Reviewer Page:
Latest Review: Eleanor's Daughter by June Hall McCash
Reading Device: B00JG8GOWU

Post by cristinaro » 15 Feb 2018, 06:15

Thank you for your review. To be honest, your review made me put this book aside although the topic may be of interest.
"The madness of writing is the antidote to true madness." (Hanif Kureishi)

Posts: 36
Joined: 22 Oct 2017, 13:41
Favorite Author: Brandon Sanderson
Bookshelf Size: 11
Reviewer Page:
Latest Review: Bitter sweet cocaine by alan salmon
fav_author_id: 4040

Post by Stapes » 15 Feb 2018, 12:34

To be clear, the book did have some very moving moments! I don't think the author made the overuse of drugs and alcohol seem insignificant to encourage people to usage, but rather it was just a focus on the story-line and the substances were just a way to show that Danny had reached an extremely low point in his life. If you can manage to put aside any personal feelings about substance abuse it might just be possible that the story could make a profound impact on your life. I do understand how it can be something that pushes you away if you are to close to the problem.

User avatar
Previous Member of the Month
Posts: 1258
Joined: 22 Oct 2017, 14:19
2019 Reading Goal: 20
2019 Reading Goal Completion: 10
2018 Reading Goal: 30
2018 Reading Goal Completion: 110
2017 Reading Goal: 6
2017 Reading Goal Completion: 183
Currently Reading: Lighthouses, Lightships, and Beacons of Texas
Bookshelf Size: 50
Reviewer Page:
Latest Review: Sex, Murder, Betrayal by Frederick Bruce
Reading Device: B00G2Y4WNY

Post by CommMayo » 16 Feb 2018, 12:55

This sounds like a interesting cautionary tale. The review makes it sound like the main character sees themselves as a victim of circumstance, as opposed to their own poor decisions. Could be a tough read for anyone who has lived closely with addicts. Thank you for your review and the warning about the poor ending.

Post Reply

Return to “Volunteer Reviews”