Wasted: A Memoir

Overview

The brutally honest memoir of physical and sexual abuse, drug addiction, crime, and ultimate redemption.

Mark Johnson's father had "LOVE" tattooed across his left hand, but that didn't stop the beatings. The Johnson children would turn up to school battered and bruised, but no one ever investigated their home life. Mark just slipped through the cracks and kept on falling. ...
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Overview

The brutally honest memoir of physical and sexual abuse, drug addiction, crime, and ultimate redemption.

Mark Johnson's father had "LOVE" tattooed across his left hand, but that didn't stop the beatings. The Johnson children would turn up to school battered and bruised, but no one ever investigated their home life. Mark just slipped through the cracks and kept on falling. For years.

Brought up in a home simmering with dark secrets, Mark began stealing at the age of six, was drinking by the age of eight, and took his first hit of heroin when he was eleven. A sensitive and intelligent boy, art college beckoned, but he ended up in a violent prison instead. With searing honesty, Wasted documents Mark's spiraling descent into the very depths of addiction and criminality. Hooked on heroin and crack, homeless on the streets of London with a price on his head, no one—least of all Mark—believed he would ever survive, never mind recover.

And yet he somehow found the strength to pull himself back from the precipice while also helping other recovering addicts. His story is at once horrifying and inspirational—a heartbreaking account of one man's struggle to save himself, and help save others in the process.
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Editorial Reviews

Library Journal

How can anyone survive a life of poverty, crime, drug and alcohol addiction, and physical abuse yet not grow into a bitter adult? Here is a memoir showing just that. For Johnson, now 38, life growing up with four siblings in an English village was far from idyllic. His mother was a religious nut; his father, an alcoholic who regularly beat his wife and kids, even shoving the author's head into the fireplace one time. To deal with these realities, Johnson turned to alcohol, then drugs like crack and heroin. There was rehab, falling off the wagon, homelessness, petty crimes to pay for drugs, jail time, and then more rehab. Johnson's memoir is brutal in its intensity and graphic, awful detail; only at the end (the year 2000) does he emerge addiction-free. An easy-to-recommend genre bridging the gap between readers of nonfiction and fiction, memoirs are extremely popular in public libraries, and this one is especially gripping. Johnson has come a long way since his early days: he now works as a special adviser to Prince Charles. Readers may be curious for more about his current life, so stay tuned.
—Linda Beck

Kirkus Reviews
Hard-bitten memoir of a young Englishman's abusive childhood and quick descent into years of addiction and homelessness. Growing up in a working-class household fraught with physical violence, drunkenness and chaotic behavior, the author was brutalized by what he beheld and wasted little time in indulging in more of the same. Johnson describes a father sick with drink who couldn't touch his children without hitting them and a mother whose fanatical religious beliefs helped her ignore the fact that her husband beat her and the kids while driving them into poverty. Johnson's broken home life marked him as easy prey for sexual predators outside the home, further shattering a skewed psyche. He was shoplifting and drinking by the time he was eight, doing hard drugs not long after. Adolescence and young adulthood were a whirl of increasingly dangerous behavior, from loutish banging about with the lads, petty thievery and short jail sentences to endless days of clubbing and drugging in rave-addicted 1990s England. His chaotic youthful behavior wasn't so different from that of many contemporaries, but Johnson's disastrous upbringing left him unable to downshift into adult society afterward. Nothing stopped the downward spiral-not even the 1996 birth of his son, addicted just like both parents. In the horrific final stretch before he cleaned up, Johnson was homeless on the streets of London, addicted to a witches' brew of drugs and seemingly unable to stop his plunge toward death. Clean since July 2000, he is now a special advisor to Prince Charles. Falls at times into the egotistical tone of the self-obsessed addict, but for the most part Johnson's admirably direct prose provides astraightforward, honest account of what happens to a life when all the brakes come off. Agent: Mark Lucas/Lucas Alexander Whitley
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781933648828
  • Publisher: Pegasus Books
  • Publication date: 5/25/2008
  • Pages: 320
  • Product dimensions: 6.20 (w) x 8.90 (h) x 1.20 (d)

Meet the Author

Mark Johnson was born in 1970. He abused drugs and alcohol throughout childhood and only narrowly escaped his life of criminality and homelessness. He went clean in 2000. Since then he has spearheaded national projects that aim to bring recovering addicts and young offenders back into society. He has won The Prince's Trust Young Achiever of the Year Award and the Daily Mirror Pride of Britain Award. He is now working in London as a special advisor to Prince Charles.
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Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted April 3, 2010

    Truly incredible story inside the mind of an addict.

    Awesome story! What an amazing person to overcome his addictions.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
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