Beautiful Boy

David Sheff

Early on, David Sheff’s relationship with his son Nic was idyllic—a warm, healthy bond based on trust, common interests and good old-fashioned genetics. However, Nic’s introduction to alcohol (he was drunk for the first time at age 11), cigarettes and marijuana quickly eroded into crystal meth addiction. The drug’s unrelenting stranglehold and unpredictable nature snared Nic in its vice-like grip and kept David in a perpetual state of reeling and second-guessing: “How did Nic get that way? What could I have done to prevent it? Did I do too much? Not enough?” At its heart, Beautiful Boy is a striking and painstakingly detailed account of Nic’s struggle with drugs, which is really nothing new. Sheff’s account is a bit heavy-handed at times, but maybe that’s how it’s supposed to be. Not so much a tear-jerker as a stern warning, Sheff’s tireless research into methamphetamine also reveals “professionals” who sadly lack knowledge and are ill-equipped to aid those addicted to this wicked drug.