The Basketball Diaries by Jim Carroll

I was listening to “People Who Died” by Jim Carroll, and then he started talking about The Basketball Diaries, and he bought the book for us to read.

It is very much a boy book, a teenage boy book. It’s about drugs and sports and sex. He does a lot of drugs, and is starting to have sex, which is very thrilling, in a teenage boy way. There is also basketball. That is the name of the book after all. He’s on a travel team, and pretty good, or at least he could be if he wasn’t more interested in sex and drugs and drinking.

I don’t understand teenage boys. I didn’t when they were my peers, and I still don’t, and have accepted that I probably never will. This book didn’t really help, but did confirm my belief that teenage boys are ridiculous and generally terrible. Jim Carroll probably isn’t representative of teenage boys as a whole, but I feel confident with my conclusion.

The writing is excellent. It’s very simple writing, fitting with the age of it’s protagonist. There are parts that are startlingly poetic, which resonate even more because they stand out.

I appreciated the book, but it wasn’t my kind of punk. I’m into the rebellion and the fashion, not the nihilism. This is the start of something dark. It goes from sports and hijinks in to heroin. It’s a very compelling stumbling into darkness, that never completely loses its sense of humor, because sometimes humor is the only response.


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