Pretty Confusing

As if it’s not difficult enough to untangle garbled title requests, this season there are three titles, each featuring a variation on a similar theme:

  • Beautiful Children, Charles Bock
  • The Memoirs of a Beautiful Boy, Robert Leleux
  • Beautiful Boy, David Sheff

Perhaps the following will help untangle requests:


Beautiful Children, Charles Bock

  • Hardcover: $25.00
  • Publisher: Random House (January 22, 2008)
  • ISBN-10: 1400066506
  • ISBN-13: 978-1400066506

So far, this one has received the most attention. The author was profiled by former NYTBR editor-in-chief, Charles McGrath, in the Times Sunday Magazine 1/27. It received a cover review in the NYTBR (unusual for a novel and particularly, for a debut novel). The day after the review appeared, the book went up to #23 on Amazon and stayed in double digits for the next week. It is now at #134. It was also reviewed, far less favorably, by Janet Maslin in the daily Times and has been reviewed by nearly every outlet that still has a book review section, including Entertainment Weekly (where it got a solid B).

In fact, the book has received so much attention that the New York Post got into the act, trying to imply some sort of conspiracy (“Engineering a Bestseller“). The story’s “revelation”? An enthusiastic publicist and a few vintage postcards can do wonders.

An early damning PW review resulted in libraries buying few copies (although, six weeks later, LJ starred it). Check to see if reserves are building.

Short take: the season’s literary darling, a novel about a lost kid in Las Vegas.


The Memoirs of a Beautiful Boy, Robert Leleux

  • Hardcover: 23.95
  • Publisher: St. Martin’s Press (January 8, 2008)
  • ISBN-10: 0312361688
  • ISBN-13: 978-0312361686

Reviewed by Janet Maslin in the daily NY Times, as well as in the Seattle Times, the Rocky Mountain News.

Current Amazon ranking: #16,088

Short take: Funny/sad memoir about growing up gay in Texas with a flamboyant mother (when he tells his mother he’s gay, she replies, “How could you be my child and not be gay?”)


Beautiful Boy, David Sheff

  • Hardcover: $24.00
  • Publisher: Houghton Mifflin (February 26, 2008)
  • ISBN-10: 0618683356
  • ISBN-13: 978-0618683352

An expansion of Sheff’s 2005 New York Times story, “My Addicted Son,” the book was reviewed, last April in LJ (its pub date was postponed to coincide with its Starbucks pick). It has not been reviewed in the consumer press yet.

Current Amazon ranking: #8,353

Short take: painful memoir of a father dealing with his son’s addiction to meth, set in California


Tweak: Growing Up on Methamphetamines, Nic Sheff

  • Hardcover:$16.99
  • Publisher: Ginee Seo Books (S&S) (February 19, 2008)
  • ISBN-10: 1416913629
  • ISBN-13: 978-1416913627

Amazon ranking: #15,498

Although this one won’t be confused with the previous titles, it actually is the memoir of the beautiful boy from the book above. Nic Sheff, David’s son, writes about his addiction. It’s being published as a Y.A. title and has been reviewed in SLJ.

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