Memoir of a Modern Opium Eater
An indispensable tale for anyone who has ever succumbed to a pernicious addiction, only to have it consume one's entire existence, the Memoir of a Modern Opium Eater both lifts the reader into the firmament of drug-induced rapture and drags him through the muck of the addict's withdrawals.
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I knew McVea during his life, and know how much of it is contained in this book. He was a great friend, and I miss him terribly. As far as the book goes, while brought up to date when it was written, it does follow much of DeQuincey's original work, which was McVea's intent, and I think he did a wonderful job of it. He really enables you to feel, or at least to imagine, what it's like to be held captive by an opiate. This wasn't an easy book for him to write, but one he also put so much into. And it wasn't an easy book to read, for much the same reason. However, I believe it's an important document on what addiction to an opiate can do to one's life, and feel that anyone even contemplating experimenting with this, or any similar drug, read first-hand the effects it can have on one's life. In a similar fashion, I think this should be recommended reading for any (addiction-)counsellor, psychologist or therapist of any kind, and is a fascinating read for anyone else.