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Eating Smoke (Book) Review

 
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At a Glance...
 

Page Count: 420
 
Genre:
 
Author:
 
Final Score
 
 
 
 
 
3.5/ 5


User Rating
1 total rating

 

We liked?


An unfiltered look at a very difficult time of addiction, poverty, and paranoia.

Not so much?


The fall into addiction is detailed, but clawing away from it is not.


Final Fiendish Findings?

I would have loved the book to detail Chris’ path away from his addiction, but as it is, Eating Smoke is a story that makes you root for Chris to pull through it all, against the odds. From office work to working for organized crime, Chris lives the Hong Kong experience like few others do. Eating Smoke is an interesting look at Hong Kong, addiction, and coming of age.

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Posted December 30, 2012 by

 
Full Fiendish Findings...
 
 

“One man’s descent into drug psychosis in Hong Kong’s Triad Heartland”

 

Chris Thrall was a young guy with everything to look forward to. Fresh out of the Royal Marines, he was off to Hong Kong to expand his business, and things looked so bright. And yet, only months later, he was broke, jobless, and completely dependent on crystal meth. Eating Smoke is his story.

You hear it said all the time. The slide to drug addiction can be instantaneous for many, a near immediate fall into being unable to live without the drug of choice. Methamphetamine is known to be especially addicting, but the idea that the course of your life could change so quickly, with one bad decision, is a difficult one to comprehend for most. With this memoir of his time in Hong Kong, Chris Thrall spares no details in the telling of his fall into addiction, paranoia, and poverty.

Things start out rather innocent, when Chris decides to leave his post in the the military to pursue a career in what had been just a side business. Expanding his business to bustling Hong Kong seems like the first step on the path to success, and life looks bright. Unfortunately, things do not turn out as expected, and Chris finds himself at a crossroads in his life. Drugs are plentiful, and when he is offered a taste of crystal meth, it seems just the thing to take the edge off a life that isn’t working out as planned.

Eating Smoke details Thrall’s descent into addiction, and it does with honesty and forthrightness. But the story isn’t just about drugs. It is about a both difficult and invigorating time in a young man’s life; it is about finding himself far from the comfort and security of home and family; and it is about immersing in a culture that is incredibly different from everything you’ve ever known. The people, the pace, the life in Hong Kong is entirely foreign, but Chris is determined to not just live the status quo, and so as readers, we see a side of Hong Kong that most foreigners never see.

While I very much enjoyed the honesty of Eating Smoke, it really was much different than I expected. Rather than focusing on the addiction and the drug itself, the story is more about how Chris deals with the many obstacles life has placed in his path. Chris is a singular young man who tries desperately to hold on to his sense of honor and kindness against all odds. Though life, and his addiction, certainly get the better of him and things look very grim, he doesn’t give up on himself.

I would have loved the book to detail Chris’ path away from his addiction, but as it is, Eating Smoke is a story that makes you root for Chris to pull through it all, against the odds. From office work to working for organized crime, Chris lives the Hong Kong experience like few others do. Eating Smoke is an interesting look at Hong Kong, addiction, and coming of age.


Amy

 
U.S. Senior Editor & Deputy EIC, mother of 5, gamer, reader, wife to @macanthony, and all-around bad-ass (no, not really)