BOOK REVIEW: Down and Out in Paradise

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Cassandra Powell reviews a new book by Luke Williams — an autobiographical journey into the seedy side of Kuala Lumpur, written while recovering from a drug addiction.

GRITTY. Confronting. Brutally honest.

These are the three things that keep coming to mind when trying to write a review for this book.

Luke Williams has, from my take on this book, been on an internal and external road to hell and back, complete with side tracks, windy roads and a huge amount of speed bumps.

The book is funny, heartbreaking, entertaining and gut-wrenching all at once.

I found it quite difficult for the first chapter. It seemed to jump around quite a lot, and it was a very different writing style to thata which I’m used to reading and so I found difficult at first. But it hooked me. I read it almost in a couple of sittings — though work, unfortunately, got in the way.

What I loved about this book was that the author seemed to find peace, albeit sometimes incredibly brief, in most situations. Maybe that’s why he’s still around. Maybe that’s what makes someone’s self-torture easier to read. I don’t know. I do know that I felt his pain along the way, but I also felt his joy. And I could picture his satisfaction in clapping Hayley up the stairs — I even heard the clapping in my head.

As a mum of a recovering addict, some sections of the book were very hard to digest, although my daughter never quite reached the depths of drug abuse described by Williams. I was, however, left wondering what his mum thinks of the book and how things are now between them. Maybe that’s a mum thing, but I’d also love to hear her story on this because I can guarantee she’d have one or 20.

This book is not for the delicate flowers among us. He does not hold back and, at times, it seems as if some of it was written at the time with old notes or anecdotes simply dropped into it, directly and unedited. I’d be interested to know if this is the case. Either way, that’s how I interpreted it.

I would definitely recommend this book. The honesty Luke has displayed and how he’s put himself right out there is incredibly brave, and I think it’s an important read as parents, addicts and anyone who loves someone who has been swallowed by the drug nightmare.

‘Down and Out in Paradise’ is published by Bonnier Echo and available from most book stores for $29.99 (paperback) RRP.


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BOOK REVIEW: Down and Out in Paradise

Cassandra Powell reviews a new book by Luke Williams — an autobiographical ...  
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