Ninety Days by Bill Clegg
The drug addiction memoir has become quite a common form, but this is one of the better written ones. Bill Clegg is a literary agent, so knows something about writing, and he tells his own tale – he had become a crack addict - with just the right amount of skill, mostly using short paragraphs made up of shortish sentences in the present tense that flow neatly into one another. His style is exactly clever enough for his story, without trying to be too ostentatious and tipping into purple prose.
This isn’t Clegg’s first memoir – Portrait of an Addict as a Young Man detailed his descent into drug abuse, Ninety Days picks up afterwards, looking at his struggle with rehab. And it is a struggle, because Clegg isn’t interested in telling a trite recovery story here, which would only seem empty in the end. Instead, the book follows his attempt to stay off drugs for ninety days, the magic number which, apparently, is a benchmark for sobriety. It’s not easy, and Clegg greatly relies on daily meetings and the cast of characters he encounters at them for support. This is a compelling account of a difficult time. [Ryan Agee]