Bluebullseye Press (2019)
Reviewed by Sheri Hoyte for Reader Views (02/2020)
“American Boy” by S.C. Megale is a heartbreaking story of addiction. It’s the story of one boy, Matt, and his struggle with opioids, told from the viewpoint of his younger sister, Shea. And, it’s so much more than a story about addiction. It’s also Shea’s story and the impact Matt’s addiction had on her and the entire family. It’s a must-read for anyone who has ever been involved in the struggle, either first-hand or by association. And sadly, isn’t that just about everyone?
Shea and Matt clearly held each other up on pedestals. Matt was the older brother who could do no wrong in Shea’s eyes. He held a fierce affection and dedication to his little sister. It occurred to me many times while reading, that perhaps Shea understood her brother better than anyone, and though the two were five years apart in age, their bond was unbreakable. Until it wasn’t.
There are no depths anyone struggling with addiction will fail to journey to in order to achieve the next “high,” and Megale captures the very essence of an addict in the throes of his obsession. You might say, “Well, of course – she was there.” That’s true, but it is isn’t always easy to convey the message in a such way that makes the reader feel as if they were right there. Megale succeeds in this and more, giving the reader a “third-eye” perspective, if you will.
The writing is exceptional, Megale’s voice demands, and receives, attention. She is insightful and real and brutally honest. At times, she made me smile, her matter-of-fact wit providing a glimpse of her inner strength. Other times she paints pictures that you don’t necessarily want to see, but can’t seem to look away, much like a horror movie.
“American Boy” is actually a two-part book – a biography and a self-help resource, with Carrie Wilkens, PhD and Co-Founder of the Center for Motivation and Change providing a substantial clinical reference in the Afterword.
Matt’s story is an important piece in the fight against addiction and the stigma surrounding the disease. “American Boy” by S.C. Megale should be required reading in schools as it’s an invaluable tool, and what better place is there to educate and create deeper awareness around the issue of addiction? Highly recommended reading.