American Junkie

( 8 )

Overview

American Junkie is the story of Hansen's life as a musician and heroin dealer in Seattle during the punk and grunge movements. It's American.
It's human underground.

If you've ever stood in front of the mirror and knew you'd be a better rock star than anyone ever dreamed, and later that night made it ever more true by getting drunk and higher than Jesus, then you'll like ...
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American Junkie

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Overview

American Junkie is the story of Hansen's life as a musician and heroin dealer in Seattle during the punk and grunge movements. It's American.
It's human underground.

If you've ever stood in front of the mirror and knew you'd be a better rock star than anyone ever dreamed, and later that night made it ever more true by getting drunk and higher than Jesus, then you'll like this book.
If you've ever lined up coke or heroin but didn't have the guts to shoot it straight to your blood, you'll love this book. If you've ever wondered why people do drugs even when it's killing them and they know it, this book will help you understand. And if you think that all junkies are nothing but degenerates, then this book will change your mind.

In American Junkie, Tom Hansen takes us on a non-stop into a land of desperate addicts, failed punk bands, and brushes with sad fame selling drugs during the Seattle grunge years. It's a story that takes us from the promise of a young life to the prison of a mattress, from budding musician to broken down junkie, drowning in syringes and cigarette butts, shooting heroin into wounds the size of softballs, and ultimately, a ride to a hospital for a six-month stay and a painful self-discovery that cuts down to the bone. Through it all he never really loses his step, never lets go of his smarts, and always projects quintessential American reason, humor, and hope to make a story not only about drugs, but a compelling study of vulnerability and toughness.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780975362365
  • Publisher: Emergency Press
  • Publication date: 3/10/2010
  • Pages: 280
  • Sales rank: 800,444
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 8.90 (h) x 0.70 (d)

Meet the Author

Tom Hansen is the author of American Junkie, a memoir of his life as a heroin addict and drug dealer, and the novel, This Is What We Do. He writes for The Nervous Breakdown and is an editor at Knock Magazine. He lives in Seattle.
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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 8 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(6)

4 Star

(1)

3 Star

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2 Star

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1 Star

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Sort by: Showing all of 8 Customer Reviews
  • Posted February 8, 2010

    Amazing

    Couldn't put it down. Lucky enough to get an early copy. Wonderful.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted November 25, 2012

    As a nurse who has never even taken a puff on a cigarette, let a

    As a nurse who has never even taken a puff on a cigarette, let alone tried drugs, (I'm not bragging, just stating a fact) I found this memoir fascinating. It isn't a polished story, written by some scholarly ghostwriter, but an honest, tragic, blunt account of one man's downward spiral into heroin addiction. You can tell every word came from Tom himself. It was shocking to read how much damage his body sustained from the drug. I mean, I know it doesn't do the body good, but a lot of the things mentioned in this book were downright horrifying, far beyond what I have seen in my nursing practice or read in textbooks.

    To know that Tom sort of had this nonchalant attitude about it is sad, too. It was interesting to get into his mindset during this time and read his rationale for why he did what he did, including his views on society and his upbringing. He makes no excuses for his behavior nor does he displace blame on others. He fully owns up to his choices in life that got him to this point - and even goes as far as to say he doesn't deserve the second, third and fourth, etc, chances he was given. However, by the end it seems he doesn't take them for granted, either.

    The short section on Layne Staley from Alice in Chains was difficult to read, especially knowing how he suffered with a heroin addiction for over a decade, unable to pull himself out of it, even with help from his family, friends, and fans; how he became a recluse in the last five years of his life and how he died; how his body rotted in his apartment for two weeks before anyone found him. I imagine Layne going through the same things Tom Hansen did and wonder if he had the same accepting attitude of his demise or if he felt sad and lonely and desperately wanted help but was just too far gone - too physically and emotionally damaged - to know how to get it or think it could do him any good.

    Tom has given a face to this disease and to the countless men and women who, right now, are going through the same thing. As a nurse, I make an extra effort not to judge people and I don't give up on people just because they have given up on themselves. Still, I know that drug addicts often get a bad rap from healthcare professionals and society in general and are seen as deserving of the consequences of their behavior. It's tragic. We are all human beings and we are all dealt difficult cards in life. Some handle difficult stuff well, others don't. Heck, even people who seem to have it all aren't immune to mental health issues or making poor life choices. Whether it is genetic or circumstantial is a lifelong debate. Ultimately, we are all worthy and deserving of help, and reading about the caregivers in Tom's hospice in this book (Bailey-Boushay House in Seattle) and the effort they put into his recovery, even when he wasn't sure he wanted saving, is an inspiration to me and a great lesson in humanity for us all.

    This book offered an inside perspective on drug addiction, which I feel I can apply to my medical practice. Not that every addict's story is the same, but still, it gives me additional understanding, and for that, I am grateful to Mr. Hansen.

    I gave this book four and a half stars because I would have liked a bit more at the end, like what happened to Tom after he left the hospice. I don't need an account of the last thirteen years, but perhaps the year or two after he left, which I can imagine must have been very difficult for him. Sure, I could Google it, (I did find information on him being clean now and a writer) but I would've liked to hear about it from Tom himself. Perhaps if another edition is released, he will include an epilogue or something, just to give us an update. He was in such rough shape in this book that I am curious to know how he changed his life around so drastically.

    Bottom line: The book is worth the read and I enjoyed it immensely.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 28, 2011

    Great read

    Bottom line: if you're interested enough to read reviews, just get it; you won't regret it. Hansen's writing is gritty, raw and real... just like his story. Awesome read.

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    Posted May 23, 2011

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    Posted November 18, 2011

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    Posted September 28, 2011

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 27, 2010

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    Posted April 17, 2010

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