Title: Leaving Dirty Jersey
Author: James Salant
Page Count/Review Word Count: 342
If you like ‘drug books’ then you’ll like this book – essentially, it’s the memoir of a guy called James Salant, a former meth addict. Salant has a smooth way of writing which brings his stories and the characters that he met along the way to life, and it’s notable for its unflinching honesty. The author managed to get cleaned up, and so he writes about it with a ruthless self-reflection which highlights his plight and which makes you wonder what you might have done if you were in a similar position.
Salant was just a regular middle-class teenager when he got busted for possession and sent to California for a rehab programme. He quickly disappeared, and that’s how he finds himself descending into the murky underworld of the Californian meth scene. But whilst the author might have been young, he still knew what he was doing – luckily, he shows some remorse and you find yourself appreciating the way that he opens himself up to share things with his readers.
Ultimately, meth causes a lot of damage, and this isn’t the sort of book that glorifies it – it just portrays it, its usage and its users in an unflinchingly honest light. It certainly makes for interesting reading, but it’s also heartbreaking in a lot of ways – because it’s non-fictional, you know that all of the things that Salant is talking about are true, and that they actually happened. That’s a little scary.
Overall, I’d totally recommend this book, especially if you’re interested in drugs or if you’re a keen reader of non-fiction. I always love it when I find a new memoir that’s well written and easy to get into – too many memoirs are written by celebrities, and whilst they do often have stories to tell, they’re not usually as ‘real’ as this. Great work by James Salant – he’s got a way with words, and that helps to make it stand out.