Friday, May 11, 2018

Fiction Friday (69)

Finding time to read anything that wasn't a textbook or academic journal article has been difficult over the past few months, but through it all, I'd been carefully digesting this book written by one of my favorite authors, and biggest inspirations. Given that this book was about characters that I'm already familiar with, I enjoyed taking my time and alluding to their other adventures in my mind as I read. Though it doesn't require reading the other books first, it certainly would help. This is a book that provides a bigger picture to past events which take place after. 

Skagboys by Irvine Welsh
(W. W. Norton, 2012)

All the familiar scoundrels are back, including Rents, Sickboy, Spud and Begbie in this prequel to Welsh's popular Trainspotting novel. Fans will have encountered these characters in multiple books, learning about their lives after Renton took off at the end of Trainspotting, but knowing little about how they got to the place where Trainspotting began. This book covers the years leading up to the time where we first met them and gives some insight as to how they ended up being everybody's favorite junkies.

Readers learn more about Mark Renton than any of the others. We get a glimpse into his home life and discover what motivated his destructive pursuits. As with most abusers of drugs, and I know because I speak from personal experience, the direct connection is not typically clear to the user. There's a part of the user that convinces themselves that it simply out of boredom, or because its fun, or makes them feel good. What is is hidden in that way of thinking is the causes for the symptoms and subconscious ignorance pertaining to the depression that the drug use is usually masking. This is the kind of thing that a users doesn't usually face until the drug use stops being fun and becomes a contributor to hardship.

Though this book is a prequel, it's obviously written from a more mature and reflective view of addiction. Each character expresses some level of regret during this novel, which distinguishes it from the other novels in which they appear. Reading it with the other books in mind, this level of regret becomes an interesting aspect of future behavior. The regret will later become another contributing factor of abuse, giving a clear portrait of the struggle of abuse and how every action can be turned against getting better. Unlike some of Welsh's earlier work, there is no attempt to glamorize the situations. The behavior is displayed in all it's raw ugliness.

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