View Gallery

Available in

Apology to the Young Addict

A Memoir

List Price: $26.00

March 3, 2020 | Hardcover | 5.8 x 8.5, 256 pages | ISBN 9781640092860
Order Now From

Husband, addict, father, skeptic. Now sixty―with years of sobriety under his belt―the celebrated author of The Los Angeles Diaries and This River returns with his most moving work yet.

Opening with the tragic tale of an elderly couple consumed by opioid addiction and moving through the horrors of a Las Vegas massacre to the loss of a beloved sponsor, these essays draw on Brown’s personal journey to illustrate how an individual life, in all its messiness and charm, can offer a blueprint for healing. From writing about finding a new path in life while raising three sons, to making peace with the family whose ghosts have haunted him, and helping the next generation of addicts overcome their disease, this haunting and hopeful book is a reinvention of the recovery story and a lasting testimony from the master of the modern memoir.

“The third panel in Brown’s masterwork triptych on addiction from youth to sixty, Apology to the Young Addict also accomplishes at last a staggeringly rare mercy―on the ghosts of memory, the ravages of disease, the brutal hypocrisies of religion, and finally―most shockingly―on himself.” ―Gina Frangello, author of Every Kind of Wanting and A Life in Men

About James Brown

JAMES BROWN is the author of the critically acclaimed memoirs The Los Angeles Diaries and This River. He is the recipient of a National Endowment for the Arts Literature Fellowship and the Nelson Algren Literary Award in short fiction. Brown's work has appeared in GQ, The New York Times Magazine, Los Angeles Times Magazine, Ploughshares, New England Review, and many other publications. He lives in Lake Arrowhead, California.

Praise
Praise for Apology to the Young Addict

The Rumpus, What to Read When the New Year Is Just Around the Corner
One of Big Other's Most Anticipated Small Press Books of 2020

"James Brown, already among the best memoirists in America, has surpassed his own high standards in Apology to the Young Addict. This superbly written book is about addiction, yes, but it is equally a book about courage, perseverance, love, desperation, recovery, and healing. More than anything, it is a book that reminds us, again and again, of the power of storytelling. In the pages of this heartbreaking but oddly exhilarating memoir, Brown deploys his narrative skills with precision, grace, complexity, and masterfully controlled intensity of emotion. What a fine piece of work." --Tim O'Brien

"The SoCal bard of alcoholism recovery . . . Brown recognizes the addiction in people around him and also acknowledges the sheer resilience that it takes for him as a husband, father and skeptic to get through the day, while making peace with the family of origin that created him. From the story of an 80-something couple of opioid addicts to a close call with the Las Vegas mass shooting and the loss of his trusted sponsor, Brown's story is one of relatable hope in all circumstances." --Dana Dickey, PureWow

"A dark yet hope-infused look back at the long-term transformations fueled by an addict's recovery . . . Memorably well crafted, tight, and searing . . . Tough, meditative, realist prose creates a worthy addition to the crowded field of (post) addiction memoirs." --Kirkus Reviews

"Riveting . . . Readers will be drawn in by Brown's gritty and intense narrative." --Publishers Weekly

"Incredibly powerful and moving while never being sensational or preachy. Readers who've appreciated Mary Karr's and Caroline Knapp's memoirs should give James Brown's writing a try." --Booklist

"James Brown's Apology to the Young Addict may be the closest linguistic facsimile to what it's like to be in recovery: haunted, growing old, somehow not yet world-weary, but always a razor's breadth--one day at a time--away from chaos. The third panel in Brown's masterwork triptych on addiction from youth to sixty, Apology to the Young Addict also accomplishes at last a staggeringly rare mercy--on the ghosts of memory, the ravages of disease, the brutal hypocrisies of religion, and finally--most shockingly--on himself." --Gina Frangello, author of Every Kind of Wanting and A Life in Men

"The undeniable force of James Brown's writing is its ability to concentrate and to distill . . . Brown's writing makes no romantic claim, finds no virtue in degeneracy, sounds off no been-down-so-long-it-looks-like-up-to-me anthems to lull the reader. This is writing with the compulsive energy of an addict, and it refuses to traffic in bromides. Apology to the Young Addict is the last in a trilogy that started with The Los Angeles Diaries and continued with This River. Each is a reckoning with the misery of mourning, and each is a celebration of a life. Rarely is writing so hard-won, and rarely are the rewards this powerful." --Michelle Latiolais, author of She

"In Apology to the Young Addict, James Brown has written a complex illustration of our human flaws and our chances at redemption. It's a book of perspective, empathy, and wisdom for addicts and anyone who's ever loved them. And it's a book that, while never preaching to the reader, will help an enormous number of people." --Rob Roberge, author of Liar

"James Brown's Apology to the Young Addict does not just breathe new life into addiction writing, it does so with enough grace, heart, and grab-you-by-the-throat style to transcend the genre and qualify as genuine literature. These beautiful essays will serve as balm for survivors of the opioid crisis, those still struggling to make it out, and pretty much anyone else trying to stay sane in these insane times. Prose-wise--with all due respect to his late namesake--James Brown has earned his title as the Godfather of Junkie Soul." --Jerry Stahl, author of Permanent Midnight

Related Products