I love a book with a good title. As I walked through my local Target store, this book grabbed me because of the title: “beautiful boy”. Hey, I have a beautiful boy: his name is Jack. I picked it up and bought it on the spot.
“Beautiful Boy” is the true story of David Sheff’s journey through his son’s drug addiciton. His son, Nic begins experimenting with drugs in high school and before he is 18 he becomes a drug addict. David is a diligent parent. The more he discovers about his son’s drug use the more he researches the facts about both addiciton and recovery. During the course of the book he shares not only this data, but the also very personal journey that he and his family encounter as Nic struggles with his drug use and ultimately, his drug abuse.
Scheff confesses to the parental habit of second guessing every decison he makes as he and his son experience the pain and anguish associated with Nic’s drug additction. Of course it doesn’t help that his son struggles with repeated failures and relapses over the course of early adulthood. Some of the questions he asks himself: Was Nic’s drug use caused by his own divorce? Was the drug use caused because he was too easy on him? Or was he too hard?
As a parent who is constantly second guessing myself I was intruiged and frustrated with David as a parent. Of course, hindsight as they say is 20/20 vision and as readers we know that this will not end well. But during the course of reading this book, many issues come to light about parenting. Just how much will a parent DO for their child? How much of your own personal life will you give up? And for me the most important question of all: when do you just trust your gut instinct and take OVER leaving your child with no options?
But as frustrating as David is, ultimately he IS a good dad. I know that I would do anything for my beautiful boy and David is willing to do anything for his. So in the end it is a book about being a good father. And so in honor of Father’s Day, read this one.