Cocaine's Son: A Memoir

Dave Itzkoff, Author
Dave Itzkoff, Villard, $24 (240p) ISBN 978-1-4000-6572-1
Reviewed on: 11/29/2010
Release date: 01/01/2011
Open Ebook - 133 pages - 978-0-345-52439-3
Open Ebook - 1 pages - 978-1-299-25142-7
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In his second memoir, New York Times reporter Itzkoff (Lads) turns his attention to his father, an outlandish man who was a drug addict for most of his life. He begins by explaining how his father's cocaine habit made him, as a little boy, believe his father "was the product of my imagination." As father and son try to resolve the problems created by such an upbringing, they find themselves in couples therapy, which leads to a closer yet still strained relationship. The author begins to understand his father by finding out what his dad's favorite albums to snort cocaine to were, attending reunions, and visiting his father's old neighborhood. These historical undertakings have mixed results, both in terms of fixing his relationship with his dad and as relatable stories for his readers. The episodic narrative at times loses momentum. Still, Itzkoff is a talented writer, and whether he is describing his parents' free-spirited lifestyle before he was born as "their Martin Scorsese years" or composing a chapter using only dialogue to demonstrate "How We Argue in My Family," his prose proves both entertaining and sensitive enough to make this a worthy addition to the recent array of addiction-based memoirs. (Jan.)
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