February 9, 2016

Book Review: "The Bitter Taste of Dying" by Jason Smith

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The Bitter Taste of Dying, by Jason Smith

The Bitter Taste of Dying
By Jason Smith
Thought Catalog Books
Reviewed by Jason Pettus

So what's the most heartbreaking thing about the times we live in, when there have been literally hundreds of millions of books published at this point and several million more getting printed every single year? Well, that would be that, no matter how intriguing or shocking or riveting a true story any particular person has lived through by now, there have already been thousands of books already published on that exact subject, making the chances likely that many of them are better than the newest one being penned. Take Jason Smith's The Bitter Taste of Dying, for an unfortunately perfect example; for while Smith absolutely gets an A for his earnestness and honesty when detailing a heroin addiction that consumed him in his youth, the simple fact is that there wasn't a single thing in this entire volume that I haven't already read dozens of times by other writers over the years, and Smith's beginner, single-sentence-paragraph writing style just can't hold a candle to such authors as Jim Carroll or William S. Burroughs who have written so much more powerfully and poetically about this subject. It used to be that the mere fact that Smith actually lived through this tale made it inherently worth reading; but unfortunately this is 2016 when such a statement is no longer true, and it makes me sad to have to admit that Smith's undoubtedly intense experience simply doesn't come across here as very literary or very readable. It is not recommended to a general audience; although as always with books like these, it's well worth the time of someone battling a drug addiction themselves and who wishes to get yet another outsider's perspective on it.

Out of 10: 5.5, or 7.5 for recovering drug addicts

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Filed by Jason Pettus at 7:00 AM, February 9, 2016. Filed under: Literature | Literature:Nonfiction | Reviews |