Long Past Stopping: A Memoir

Long Past Stopping: A Memoir - Oran Canfield Picking this book up, was worried that it was going to be a revenge memoir meant to illustrate what a bad parent Canfield's famous father was. To my relief, Canfield simply tells his own story, and leaves the reader to draw his or her own conclusions about Jack Canfield, if desired.As a memoir, it is interesting, sad, and detached. The story of Canfield's childhood is fascinating, although it should be noted that his mother maintains that it is also mostly fictional. Comparisons with Augusten Burroughs' Running With Scissors have been drawn: Canfield was born in the town in which Burroughs was raised, and he has said he suspects his parents knew the ­analyst in Burroughs' book (I don't know if being sued by family counts as a commonality, since litigation almost seems like a side effect of being American).Even if it is stylized to something only tangential to the truth, it is an engaging read (I may be biased, as I seem to have a soft spot for drug memoirs). My one wish is that instead of being broken in half and shuffled into itself, the book were presented in straight chronological order. As it is, the chapters alternate between the timeline from his addiction to writing the book, and the timeline from his childhood to his addiction. I've thought about whether this adds to the story by giving the reader some knowledge about his adulthood situation that we wouldn't have had while reading about his childhood, and the only important information is the heroin addiction, which we already know about from reading the blurb on the cover. In the end, I disagree with the editors that this structure makes the book stronger, and if I had known how annoying it would be, I would have just read the chapters in chronological order. That would be my recommendation for anyone picking up this book for the first time.