The Basketball Diaries

by Jim Carroll

Paperback, 1995




Harmondsworth : Penguin Books, 1995.


Today, Jim Carroll is a highly renowned poet and rock musician. But in the mid-1960s, during his coming-of-age from twelve to fifteen, he was a rebellious teenager making a place and a name for himself on the unforgiving streets of New York City. During those years, he chronicled his experiences, and the result is a diary of unparalleled candor that conveys his alternately hilarious and terrifying teenage existence. Here is Carroll prowling New York City--playing basketball, getting high, getting hooked, and searching for something

User reviews

LibraryThing member noah
Carroll's got a great voice. The book is flawless, ironic, understated. And incremental: the lesson to take from "Diaries" is that addiction is something that is fueled by rationalization, and sneaks up on even the strongest and most intelligent people unexpectedly.
LibraryThing member PatrickHackeling13
The Basketball Diaries by Jim Carroll is the remarkable autobiography of the troubled teen, Jim Carroll, and his journey from promise to abyss to greatness. One of the top basketball players in New York City, Jim has to choose time and time again between drugs and ball. In the beginning he is able
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to get away with both. However, as the clock ticks drugs become more and more important to his psyche. After experiences highs while intoxicated by glue, weed, speed, and heroine he experiences lows with life. Kicked out of school, kicked out of his home, he results to crime to feed his withdrawling, cringing stomach. Will dirt grimed nails, unmatted hair, and bloodshot eyes be enough to make Jim kick the habit and straighten his act out or will he be just another "What if" in the dangerous streets of NYC.

One of my favorite books of all time, The Basketball Diaries is a cross roads between Go Ask Alice and Ball Don't Lie. Not only does it incorporate basketball, but also real life in the drug infested 1960s and its effect on one of its most promising minds.
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LibraryThing member Jennifyr
An amazing book about drug addiction and culture. A very quick read (I think I read it in one sitting), and shocking. It's hard to believe Jim Carroll faced this all at such a incredibly young age and created such an important work out of it, along with multiple other important pieces of writing.
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For anyone who has watched the movie, they should definitely, definitely read the book, because it blows the movie out of the water.
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LibraryThing member Polaris-
Don't be put off by the dodgy Di Caprio vehicle from a few years back...This book has to be one of the finest debut novels around from the last 50 years or so. Heavily autobiographical, The Basketball Diaries is written with verve and authenticity. It's a rough story of growing up in early 70s New
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York City, told beautifully.
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LibraryThing member Mrs.WilliamsClass
This novel is a very good book about a typical Boy whose growing up in Manhattan, New York. He loves Basketball and has big dreams about getting into the NBA. During the book you see how his life is about basketball than later Basketball than goofing around than later its only about drugs than his
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whole life is ruined. Its a good book for our age group because Jim is about 13 in the story and you see how this can happened to anyone. Jim was catholic student and was a good kid so you can see this can happened to anyone.
Brianna Guedes
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LibraryThing member CSTaylor24
It was a fascinating read and insight into a life and lifestyle that I have never experienced or read before. There were moments I had a hard time believing that the book was real and that these things really happen, but it does and it was refreshing to see the point of view of an addict and not
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just the stereotyping that most people give to addicts. Carroll is a very talented writer and it was heartbreaking to see how he portrayed the people around him as well as himself and his own life events.
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LibraryThing member dbsovereign
He takes us there. We can smell the sweat. A poet with courage!
LibraryThing member Cheryl_in_CC_NV
I read this when I was way too young. Way way before the movie, when, afik, nobody else was reading it. My mom would have had a fit.

And then I reread it. At least twice. Intense, yes, and poetic, but also totally accessible. Tragic, in a way, but also hopeful, and even, at times, funny.

I don't want
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to re-read it or read other reviews. I don't want to spoil my memory.
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LibraryThing member Salmondaze
I'm pretty damn sure most... scratch that, nearly all diaries you read would bore you to death. And I'm including The Princess Diaries in that estimate! Not so here. Here you have a guy talking about boy whoring (53rd & 3rd territory), copping H and shooting up, stealing, fucking a lot, and a whole
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mess of things all under the age of 16. I mean fuck, this kid has lived more before 16 than I lived in all my 30 years of life. What does that say about me? Well, don't get me wrong, I don't think I'd trade with him considering where he ends up by the end of the book. By the way it shouldn't be a spoiler to anyone who reads the first few entries. It's clear.

I don't know, the prose is clean and filled with the kind of slang that makes the episodes whip right by in a frenzy, which is probably the effect he's looking for. He just lays it out all on the line and gives it to you for exactly what it's worth. It happens to be worth a lot, but don't go expecting literature or the typical linear story curve. It's dirty fun for those curious about what another life might be like.
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LibraryThing member dangnad
Without being pornographic, this book has the most wonderfully erotic sequence, I've ever read. Jim Carroll, what happened to you?
LibraryThing member DanielSTJ
Interesting-- the prose for someone of this age is commendable. Nonetheless, I found it lacking in that sense and the journal entries were not as vivid as I would have liked.

Still, a good read.
LibraryThing member ProfH
I read The Basketball Diaries as a teenager and was impressed by Carroll's level of self-destruction that made my teenage years seem very lightweight. Then as a freshman in college I met him. He had a certain aura not only of fame and talent, but hard living. Rereading again as a father and in my
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forties, I still like his sense of humor and turn of phrase, but I mostly feel grateful that I read about his path rather than follow it.
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