Friday, June 18, 2010

Book Review: Junky

Of course I'd heard of William S. Burroughs on many occasions. I heard he liked to get high- heroin his drug of choice. I heard he was light in the loafers. I heard that he was a nut job. I heard that some of his writing was bad ass. I heard that some of his writing was straaange. I still never read him.

Friday, June 11th. I got a 40% off Border's coupon. I'm walking down the isles of books, head cocked sideways to read the titles. I see this one: Junky: The Definitive Text of Junk by William S. Burroughs. What the hell, I'll give it a shot.

I read it in one sitting.

It's not a flowery, literary garble of the downtrodden life of a heroin addict. Rather, it's a straightforward account of the life of a junky, without the sentiment. An autobiographical novel, Junky illustrates what an addict will do for a fix: roll drunks, become a pusher themselves, etc. And the numerous failed attempts to get clean. Somehow, it manages to explain in detail the junky lifestyle, without preaching. And it does so in cool, hepcat fashion. Oh yeah, it was also written during the early 50's- further proof that life back then was not always the little pink houses and cookouts as portrayed in the movies.

At some point, crime writers tend to write about drugs. If you want to get a great account of the drug culture, give Junky a read.


  1. I've not read it but I've seen the movie Naked Lunch, based on his book and that was wy out there. I read somewhere once that he couldn't remember some of the stuff he'd written due to the different kinds of drugs he taken. I'll add this to my ever growing TBR pile. Thanks, Mike. Hope the writing is going well.

  2. David, from what I understand, Junky and Naked Lunch are two completely different reads. Still lots of drugs, but a lot of other differences.

    Writing is going well- thanks.

  3. Sorry Mike, It was the way I'd written my comment. Yes, I was talking about Naked Lunch the book, as well as the movie and not meaning Naked Lunch was a film of Junky. If that makes any sense?? I will look out for Junky though. :-)