The Heroin Diaries: A Year in the Life of a Shattered Rock Star
By Charlie Goodrich Monday, 11 Jan 2010

Looking at the cover of The Heroin Diaries provides a Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde retrospective into Nikki Sixx’s past. The background is covered with a strange, rust colored amoeba that engulfs a younger looking Nikki who’s face is ridden with cuts and scars. This amoeba reminds me of blood under a microscope. And while I have never been a heroin addict, the dirty look of the “blood” resembles what my mind would perceive to be the blood of an addict. Emerging from the blood on the left side of the book cover, is an older Nikki that looks ashamed of his past. Yet, as he remains ashamed, he knows he cannot escape being an addict. After I read this book, I reexamined the cover. I discovered that this is the perfect way to illustrate The Heroin Diaries: dirty, crazed, and melancholy. Those three little words kept me turning the pages with anticipation of what would happen next to Mr. Sixx. After turning the final page, this became one of the strangest books I’ve ever read but also one of the most memorable.

The Heroin Diaries chronicles one year in the life of Nikki Sixx, bass player and main song writer for Motley Crue. From Christmas Day 1986 until Christmas 1987 the reader visit’s the inner psyche of Sixx as he delves into the depths of his cocaine and heroin addiction. Nikki decided to keep a diary of his life during this time to help ease his insanity. Each diary entry paints a bit of the picture of Nikki’s life during this time. Reading about what he went though is eye opening. When talking about drug addiction it’s almost always in the past tense, but the diary presents a unique, present tense for this topic.

“When Jason [Nikki’s drug dealer] left last night and closed the door, I had the feeling he was closing the door on a crypt.” “…he can’t tell me what to do in my house. Even if what I want to do is kill myself.” “…at 3 this morning I was crouched naked in my closet thinking the world was about to burst through my door.”

A plethora of emotions filled my mind when I read this book. They ranged from sad and surprised, to angry and unremorseful. It is easy to feel sorry for Nikki during many parts of this book, but it can be very difficult to feel for a man under the control of drugs. The drugs change Nikki’s outlook on the world and create an alternate persona. It’s a lot like Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. There are some stories that seem incomplete though, and I wish a few parts of this book would have been discussed further.

In addition to the diary entries, there are illustrations, photographs, and added commentary. The illustrations are morbid and creepy. Many include needles, blood, anatomy, or a combination of the three. They fit the book well and add to the world of a heroin addict. The photographs often show Nikki or the people in his life. Some add to the book very well (like the pictures of people doing drugs or a doped up Nikki) but some just seem to be thrown in (pictures of half naked girls) because it would be a “Motley Crue” thing to do. The commentary is very insightful. There is an entire cast that helps explain Nikki’s life. They include: Tommy Lee, Nikki’s mother, grandfather, and sister, Doc McGhee (Motley’s manager), Slash, and Bob Timmons (a drug councilor). Each knew a part of Nikki’s story and they added information that was greatly beneficial to The Heroin Diaries.

By the end of the book you have a complete picture of Nikki’s shattered life. It is an incredibly interesting book and I found it to be very hard to put down. Any fans of Motley Crue’s The Dirt or of the band itself should check out The Heroin Diaries. Even if you don’t care for the music of Motley Crue, you may still find this book interesting. Nikki’s dark battle has been documented wonderfully. Take a trip into his madness to see what I mean.

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