5 Novels that Deal with Drug Abuse and Addiction

Over the years, a number of movies have depicted drug use and its destructive consequences quite vividly.  Apart from films, a number of classic books have also talked about addiction and what it can lead to.

Here’s a look at a five contemporary novels that focus on drug addiction.


1. Wake Up, Sir!
Even though there are some really funny moments in the book that concern the absurd life of Blair (the narrator), alcoholism is the underlying theme in the book.  Especially the times when Jeeves only responds to Blair’s drunken fixes with a languid “Very good, Sir”. It makes us wonder whether this Jeeves is actually there or is just the inner voice of an alcoholic in constant denial.

2. Trainspotting
This hugely popular novel set in a specific place and time (mid-90s, working-class Edinburgh) definitely makes the reader wonder as to how much of addiction is because of being in the wrong place at the wrong time and at the same time presenting the linkage between society and a culture where everyone’s reliant on drugs.

3. In The Drink
Written brilliantly by Kate Christensen, In The Drink is about Claudia Steiner, a single, 29 year old and almost unemployed woman who orders her fifth or sixth drink of the night while knowing that it won’t amount to anything. Ultimately, she reaches a stage where all of this can’t last forever. Christensen is able to capture the angst of being in a lonely state and failing to keep up with one’s own plans.

4. Bright Lights, Big City
Jay McInerney’s famous novel is told by a second-person narrator about a man who has recently lost his mother and has recently divorced his wife. He hits the night life of Manhattan and soon gets involved in major substance abuse. McInerney’s lead character is self-aware but not enough to scrape through this life of drugs and random sex.

5. Rachel’s Holiday
The amazing aspect about this novel is its uncertainty. The narrator is a woman who realizes she needs help for her alcohol problem. It presents a situation that is entirely relatable and brings to life the many facets of being an addict.

Somewhere down the line, all these novels talk about hope. If you are someone you love is dealing with drug or alcohol addiction it’s important to understand that help is available and should be sough out.