4 out of 4 stars
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If you look up the word ‘addiction’, the Oxford Dictionary defines it as ‘the fact or condition of being addicted to a particular substance or activity’. In relation to this, when I think of how best to summarise Chasing a Flawed Sun, the best I can come up with is that it is an autobiography of the author, Daniel McGhee, and his journey through life as an addict. While of both these are technically correct, they fail to show the reality of what addiction entails - the countless relapses, stealing money from family and friends, the injection marks, how far someone will go for their next hit and all the psychological and emotional aspects that come with being an addict. In his novel, Chasing a Flawed Sun, Daniel McGhee addresses exactly that.
He delves into the mind of a young Danny McGhee - an intellectually advanced child, from a seemingly normal and drug adverse family, with a great deal of potential and the streets of Baltimore as his playground. And you read, helplessly, as he continues to grow, slips through the cracks and becomes yet another lost youth that finds his way into the Baltimore drug culture. Bars, fights, jobs, prisons, alleyways, institutions – you follow him through it all. From childhood through his teenager years and into adulthood, you are subjected to his innermost thoughts and feelings.
What I liked most about this book, is its completely honest and raw reflection about addiction. I am in awe of Daniel McGhee and the courage it must have taken to essentially relive the darkest moments in his life – exposing himself to his old habits with a risk of falling straight back into them, in order to create something that can help others better understand addicts. I also liked how the book constantly points to the fact that drugs have no bias, meaning that anyone, regardless of their background, religion, race, gender etc., can become an addict, because in my opinion, this is a fact that is often overlooked by many.
There were moments in the book when I got frustrated with Danny, his multiple relapses and all the things that transpired just from his craving for the next hit. However, even though the repetitiveness of all these activities were tiring to read sometimes, Daniel created a unique way of showing this ugly and repetitive side of addiction while instilling a promising sense of hope in the reader and enforcing the principle of getting back up again no matter how many times you have fallen. This book completely changed my perception about addiction and it was very interesting for me to see how ‘human’ addicts are. I always thought that an addict had an inability to feel anything because of drug or alcohol consumption – I never realised that addicts could be ashamed of themselves and their actions.
This book was a huge eye opener for me about addiction and for this reason I am going to give the book 4 out of 4 stars. I could not pick up any errors and thought the book to be exceptionally written and edited. I would not recommend the book to anyone who is strongly against the use of profane language, but due to the author’s full disclosure of his use of language before the start of the book, it is not something which I feel devalues its essence. I would highly recommend this book to anyone who has lost someone to addiction, is in connection with someone battling addiction and even those who have no connections to an addict at all – it is an important read to understand what addiction actually is.
Chasing A Flawed Sun
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