2 out of 4 stars
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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
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