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@Download E-pub · The Basketball Diaries 1963-1966 à The urban classic coming of age story about sex, drugs, and basketball Jim Carroll grew up to become a renowned poet and punk rocker But in this memoir of the mids, set during his coming of age fromto , he was a rebellious teenager making a place and a name for himself on the unforgiving streets of New York City During these years, he chronicled his experiences, and the result is a diary of unparalleled candor that conveys his alternately hilarious and terrifying teenage existence Here is Carroll prowling New York City playing basketball, hustling, stealing, getting high, getting hooked, and searching for something pure I met him in , and already he was pretty much universally recognized as the best poet of his generation The work was sophisticated and elegant He had beauty Patti Smith If I had to chose one book as my favorite of all time, it would be The Basketball Diaries I ve basically lost track of the number of times I have reread it.The fact that the book is, in fact, Carroll s diary makes it so much real His experiences aren t censored and modified Instead, you are given an intimate and raw look into a portion of Carroll s teenage years and his struggles with substance abuse, as well as just growing up, in 1960 s New York City. Before there was a cop on every corner in New York, there were some of the most interesting characters frolicking around, bounding up and down the streets as if they were players in a real life version of a very fucked up Wonderland Pimps and prostitutes and transvestites and junkies and businessmen and children and you name it all blended together and somehow figured out a way to live a somewhat harmonious existence in this concrete jungle This was the land of Jim Carrol And it was in this land that Carrol wrote THE BASKETBALL DIARIES It was within this surreal playground that a fourteen year old basketball phenom decided to record his thoughts as his life slowly unraveled because of heroin The diaries start in the fall of 63 JFK is not yet dead Nuclear holocaust is on everyone s minds But to Jim Carrol the only pressing matter is basketball and girls As a white kid, Carrol is an unusual basketball standout in New York City He is rated as one of the top twenty prep players in the nation the world is his oyster Then, Carrol experiences his first big party Girls and drugs abound His life has entered into a phase were the inhabitants of Sodom might be jealous It is also during this time that Carrol finds his voice The entries during this time are slowly built upon, giving the reader a unique insight into the vast array of New York City However, it also during this time that I have to question the veracity of some of Carrol s adventures I m not going to say they never happened But, I will be skeptical of how they happened You see, to me, a diary is only the rebirth of previous memories Sometimes these memories are shrouded in the fog of time sometimes these memories have been tinkered with and are no longer a memory of what happened as they are a memory of what has been reconstructed Regardless, Carrol s memories of this time evoke a sense of innocence that is about to be corrupted in a manner that can never be uncorrupted As the diary progresses, Carrol begins to flirt and with H Never buying at first, only using when others around him supply the deadly euphoric, Carrol begins a dance that starts off as a waltz but turns into a frenetic assemblage of hands and feet that no choreographer could put any semblance to As the diary moves from year to year, Carrol s decline becomes obvious as his basketball status slowly loses its luster Folks know he has game, but they never know exactly what game is going to show up at any given time Besides the decline of his basketball prowess, Carrol notes, often in a sideway glance, what is happening in his beloved New York It is within these segments that Carrol shines As Carrol recounts how his relationship with his father is tenuous at best, the reader is given a sneak peak into the psyche of a child that only wants approval of the man he knows will never accept him And as Carrol lets his hair grow long, and begins to travel with less than desirables, a war rages in a small country named Vietnam To Carrol, this war is never a prominent fixture in his life, but to New Yorkers, who were constantly living in fear that the Russians would use this war as a way to attack the US, fear permeates through the streets Kids, especially kids with long hair, are looked upon with disdain War protestors were looked upon as if they were spies or insurgents Sadly, during this time, Carrol was fighting this war he just didn t know that his battles came in the form of H and basketball and family When the diaries conclude, some three and a half years later, Carrol is a shell of the person he could have become But he is also so much of what the man he is about to become Let me explain As his H problem increased, his basketball abilities decreased to a point where he was no longer looked upon in awe But, also, as his H addiction increased, his will to adequately convey his journey through thoughts and images and words increased, too Carroll remarks about this strange change, describing it as though he needs to write just as much as he needs to find where his next score is coming from THE BASKETBALL DIARIES takes Carrol from Harlem to Manhattan to Riker s Island and everywhere in between This is so much than a story about being a junky or a disenchanted street kid from New York this is a story about loss and real life, about hope and the everlasting truth that hope is sometimes only found in the minds of those that are still crazy enough to believe in it it is about finding the apparition of happiness within a world of phantoms Woefully, it is about knowing that life is not all about happy endings And as I sit here and type this review, I am still contemplating the last sentence of his diary What does it mean Was it his last confession Did he know that his life was only going to get darker and decide that the reader was no longer invited on his journey It was written in the summer of 66 after Carrol had lost almost everything I just want to be pure he says What an incredibly haunting admission All I can say is Don t we all HIGHLY RECOMMENDED
It s amazing to know Jim Carroll wrote this book when he was age 13 16, not only due to subject matter but for the undeniable talent that seeps through every page With Manhattan as his playground and local junkies, thieves and hooligans as his playmates, Carroll spirals from mild delinquent to full blown addict believing as all addicts first do that where others fail, he has it all under control.Those expecting this to be like the movie beware Hollywood takes a bunch of his stories, glosses them up and presents them to you nicely gift wrapped Carroll himself does no such thing He lays them out, fearless and real, strips them raw and leaves you to pick up the pieces. The Basketball Diaries reminded me of an after school special look it up, kiddies gone very, very wrong And while I m sure this book attracts adherents because it s real or whatever I can t say the book held much of my interest Maybe The Basketball Diaries is one of those titles that when first published 1978 was considered cautionary and groundbreaking but needs too much license and contextualization in 2011 For example, these passages are supposedly Carroll s authentic although edited teenage diary transcripts If this is so, well done, high school Jim Carroll, you get an A , young man But I think there s a reason that not many teenage authors get published and, honestly, it s because teenagers write like teenagers You can t blame them They re teenagers Also, the whole did a lot of heroin and now I m becoming an addict arc felt very Go Ask Alice published in 1971 but filtered through the lens of a NY hipster Ok, you did heroin And then you did heroin again Oh, and you did heroin a third day, and pretty soon, you spent all day chasing heroin Page after page of heroin chasing gets boring So while maybe The Basketball Diaries has some historical value as a document of aberrant behavior in early seventies NY, the endless I did drugs I had sex I cut school I played basketball stoned messages gets tiresome I m not sure of the point, even if the passages read quickly and Carroll s writing, even as a high school kid, is smooth and natural.Maybe I m jealous because, if this book is accurate, Jim Carroll had sex by age sixteen than I did in my teenage years X 20 I m not sorry I read The Basketball Diaries but I wasn t impressed, either.