Bright Lights Big City by Jay McInereney

By reads
In addiction fiction
Feb 5th, 2014

For an interesting addiction fiction book that has gained a lot of fame and has a unique writing style, pick up a copy of

Bright Lights Big City by Jay McInereney

First published in 1984, this novel about a young man living and working in Manhattan became an immediate sensation.   Yes, it's a story of the 80's and all of the excesses that went along with that decade but that is what still makes it so irresistible to the masses.    Here's what's odd: The story is written in the second person so the word "You" is used throughout the book.   For example, the book opens with the line, "You are not the kind of guy who would be at a place like this at this time of the morning."

We are taken through the main character's life and excesses in detail, including his failed relationships, non-stop parties, drug use and his job at a prestigious magazine that he is so dis-satisfied with.   There is a non-stop quest for more and more pleasure and a desire to shirk as much responsibility as is humanly possible.

You keep thinking that with practice you will eventually get the knack of enjoying superficial encounters, that you will stop looking for the universal solvent, stop grieving. You will learn to compound happiness out of small increments of mindless pleasure.” -Jay McInerney, Bright Lights, Big City

Again, there isn't much in the book about recovery here, just lessons and what I like to call "relapse prevention".  What Bright Lights, Big City tells me is that despite having an amazing job, a ton of popular friends and beautiful wife, life can still be amazingly unfulfilling if you are filling it with the wrong stuff.  That search for never ending happiness and tranquility in a drugs and alcohol is all too often a runaway freight train going 180 degrees in the wrong direction.  If you haven't read Bright Lights, Big City check it out here:

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