If you’re looking for a memoir about addiction, scrap Frey’s book and check out An Officer and a Junkie. Here you’ll find a well-documented story about a humble guy named Mike Winder going through the horrible realities of addiction.
The story begins as his parents drop him off for his first day at West Point Military Academy and chronicles how he became addicted to various drugs. His drug use at first is reminiscent of a Hunter S. Thompson dope journey but changes course as the years of drugs take serious toll on his body, his mind and his relationships with family.
Mike and I grew up together and he was one of my first friends when my family moved to a new town. We often played hoops together, caused trouble here and there, but also stayed up late occasionally doing homework or studying for physics tests.
The fact is that An Officer and a Junkie simply has more value for people and society. Chances are that, whether you are aware of it or not, you know someone that is an alcoholic or a drug user and functions in his or her everyday life. Some people can even achieve at the highest of levels while simultaneously stuck in the snare of addiction (some examples – Ernest Hemingway, Jack London, and Mickey Mantle).
I saw my friend Mike during most of the stages of his book, from his acceptance to the Academy, his drug abuse, graduation, addiction and recovery. He lives with the physical and mental repercussions of his drug use everyday – his doctors assure him a lifelong sentence of antipsychotic and mood-stabilizing medication – but he is committed to sobriety and living a healthy life.
We all know about the James Frey Oprah debacle. If you think it’s important for a memoir to be true and want to read a good book, check out An Officer and a Junkie.
Which is more important in this case: the story or the truth?