Larceny in My Blood: A Memoir of Heroin, Handcuffs, and Higher Education

Matthew Parker. Gotham, $19.99 (280p) ISBN 978-1-592-40662-3
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Fresh off earning an M.F.A. in creative writing from Columbia, Parker has written a memoir detailing a life of drugs, jail, wrongdoing, and literary redemption. Parker’s narrative picks up after he’s let out of jail and returns to civilian life, and follows his pursuit of a literary career. He also thoroughly discusses the origins of his drug-induced downfall growing up in suburban Connecticut with a series of hurdles: an absent father, a mother well-versed in illicit activity, deadbeat siblings, the lure of drugs, and the ever-present threat of incarceration. At the heart of the story is the constant push and pull between his two pursuits, heroin and literature, and the looming question over which will win out. This wealth of information about Parker’s life never thickens into a compelling memoir. Parker’s presentation feels cold and reads like a laundry list of bad behavior. The illustrations in the book are also disappointing, a hodge-podge of underwhelming computer-drawn images. Parker’s drawings do not make a case for the need for his story to be told in comic form, and although his story has the substance of an incredible life, it is not delivered with style. (Aug.)
Reviewed on: 06/18/2012
Release date: 08/07/2012
Genre: Fiction
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