I know I said I wasn't going to post book reviews anymore, but since it's a popular book and was in the news, I decided I'd give it a little more publicity.
I don't normally read popular books, especially ones with an Oprah sticker on the cover, but it was recommended, and I read the first few pages in an airport bookstore, and I decided it was worth borrowing the library copy.
First, I'll say that it's written appropriately. I wouldn't go so far as to say it's written well, but the form reflects the function, which seems to be to convey the feeling of having an addiction. The author often omits sentence structure and punctuation, especially when his character is feeling an urge to use. Though it's effective, it also makes me want to send the author a copy of Eats, Shoots & Leaves.
One reader review I read lauded the author not only for his success in beating the addiction, but more so for being in control of his program. Through the book, his character constantly rejects the 12 steps because they are intimately linked with religion. He's rude to almost everyone in authority, and he plainly refuses to submit to the program. Instead of being strong, willful, and confident, I find this arrogant and obnoxious. To make it worse, he capitalizes nouns (like People and Room) as if he were an 18th century English writer. He basically annoyed me as both character and author.
As for the story, sure, ok. It was pretty much what I expected. Whatever. I can't say there was any part I especially liked or disliked. It was just there. I didn't find it captivating or enthralling, in fact it took longer to read it than I expected, and had to rush to get it back to the library on time. It was just there, and I read it because it was there.
Now, for the controversy. Apparently he embellished. He exaggerated some of the details to make it a more interesting story, and made his character seem "tougher and more daring and more aggressive", probably hoping readers would like him more. I'm glad he made the effort to try to entertain, but I probably would have liked him better unedited.