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The Adderall Diaries: A Memoir of Moods,…

The Adderall Diaries: A Memoir of Moods, Masochism, and Murder

by Stephen Elliott

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Showing 1-5 of 7 (next | show all)
Harrowing journey through the author's brutal and painful history and the marks that has left on his present life while covering a murder case that leads even further into the dark side. There are some books that journey way into darkness and yet leave me with a sense of hope...I'm not sure that this one did. Uncomfortable to read, but gripping in its honesty. ( )
  bibleblaster | Jan 23, 2016 |
Can you have a memoir without judgment? More importantly, what is a person without self-judgment like?

Stephen Elliott answers the first two questions to the best of his ability, and it turns out that person is awful, along with their memoir. What use does a list of facts do? Fiction writers are supposed to suspend judgment on others, but who would suspend judgment on themselves, or even worse, think their own actions are justifiable?

I'm not educated enough to diagnose the pathology of Elliott, but the bare confession of culpability towards the end rings false, and the denouement clumsy. Granted this is all subjective, but when Elliott swerves towards the verifiable, he looks even worse. As someone who used to follow ReiserFS (and was shocked when Hans Reiser murdered his ex-wife), Elliott's pontificating about file-systems is borderline-incoherent and utterly useless to boot.

This is a shitty, shitty book filled with lies of omission, and lies of praise in the first few pages of blurbs. Fuck all that. I read through this book so quickly so I wouldn't feel any remorse at a white-hot hatred. ( )
  gregorybrown | Oct 18, 2015 |
Well-written and generally interesting, especially the material surrounding a hi-tech murderer. I found the personal memoir portions too at turns evasive and guarded—and hella tightly controlled—though it did have some effective “my heart laid bare” moments. (I’m not sure how a book can be a memoir AND a diary—and written in present tense, no less). Seems to me the priorities were mixed up: the adderall was the least interesting aspect, and I didn’t find the sell-analysis about his masochism particularly enlightening. On this latter point, I think it was the weakest aspect of the book. He was too willing to let much of his unusual behavior remain mysterious and poetically vague. I think he needed an editor to push him more to take it to the next level (this is where the “diary” element feels like a crutch to lower expectations). And there were a fair number of cheap shot aside comments (cultural, political, social) that struck me as spurious, or, at the very least, exaggerated. These kinds of comments can undermine the credibility of his more personal observations. At times I had to wonder if the author trusts his readers. Should we trust him? I do respect the fact that he questioned the veracity of his own memories, something a lot of memoirists seem to avoid (and part of the reason I prefer fiction). Mostly, I enjoyed the way it was written, but I wanted to like the book more than I was allowed to. I haven’t read anything else by the author, but I would check out his fiction. Perhaps the strictures of non-fiction are what kept him from cutting too deep. ( )
  Carl_Hayes | Mar 30, 2013 |
Review snippet: I don’t intend to demean the power of the addiction or sexual discovery narrative, and I don’t want to demean those who may have found something relevant in Elliott’s narrative. And I fully admit that I may have missed something because I have not read any of Elliott’s other works. I wonder if I would have cared more if I had read his other books. But the fact remains that I did not care much about this book. The narrative was flat and uninvolved. The addiction barely registered as being damaging. The bondage and S&M details were seemingly tossed out with no emotion or attempt to lure the reader into a deeper sense of understanding Elliott. It’s a bizarre condemnation of a memoir to say it was self-absorbed, but that was the problem I had with this book.

How can a memoir be self-absorbed? Well, it’s easy, actually. When someone you find interesting goes on and on about him or herself, your interest trumps the self-absorption. It is subjective, to be sure, but a memoir has to contain content that makes the reader care that they are reading a stranger go on and on about him or herself. Given the proliferation of it, this flat, disengaged writing style must appeal to someone. But I am not that person. ( Which is odd, in a way, because I am fully aware that my book discussions are utterly self-indulgent, written to please myself as much as to entertain and inform.)

The subject matters of this book – addiction, sexual taboos, a murder trial – should all be interesting. But conveyed through Elliott’s numb prose, it is all unexciting. It’s the literary equivalent of tapioca with a dash of tequila. It’s white bread with a dab of mold on it. It’s a boring man telling boring stories to a barely interested audience. I contrast the content of this book with much more taboo writing, like the non-fiction of Peter Sotos, and it becomes clear why Elliott’s writing did not appeal to me. Sotos, in his extremity, forces the reader to think, or to react at the very least. Elliott’s numb tale was like watching a Warhol movie. As I read this book, a quote from Charles Bukowski came to mind often: “Boring damned people. All over the earth.”

You can read my entire discussion here: http://ireadoddbooks.com/the-adderall-diaries-by-stephen-elliott/ ( )
  oddbooks | Jun 9, 2012 |
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The Adderall Diaries is at once a gripping account of a murder trial and a scorching investigation of the self.

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