Beautiful, hopeless and amazing

Candy - Luke Davies

Opening Line: "There were good times and bad times, but in the beginning there were more good times."

Wow this was fantastic, in a watching a beautiful car crash sort of way. Following the day to day struggles, triumphs and ultimate decay of a heroin addict and his girlfriend. It was almost impossible to look away and put this book down even though it’s graphic, horrible, depressing and often pointless. Told in the first person with vividly poetic and just plain amazing writing there’s a surprisingly innocent love story told here as well and I found myself moved by their story. Pulling for our couple and hoping that they could just get clean long enough to come out on the other side of addiction with some kind of future together.

CANDY is a love story, a horror story, and an adventure. It’s darkly humorous and sadly moving. Filled with graphic descriptions of heroin use, vein hunting, needles, sickness, numbness, the endless cycle of finding your next fix, the selling of ones soul and the constant pain. I was exhausted just reading about the kind of stamina it takes to become a full blown junkie.

The scheming and scoring and stealing, the planning and begging and the sickness when you’ve either exhausted all options or you’re trying yet again to get clean (or maybe just not use quite so much) I could feel their pain and hopelessness in particular the mind numbing details as they lock themselves in their rundown apartment and attempt to kick on their own, this is what happens to you physically when you try to come off of a serious heroin addiction and it was tough to witness.

We follow our couple over a ten year period starting in Sydney during their heady early days of first love. Its summer and the world is beautiful and new. Candy, a gorgeous aspiring actress wants to learn everything about her new love, including what its like to use heroin and despite an almost immediate overdose the wheels are set in motion, she wants more.

Through our narrators eyes we watch Candy go from aspiring actress to high paid escort to street hooker. It’s an easy natural progression that somehow seems to make sense for both of them. He remains a con, a thief and a dealer. They often talk of getting clean, having a baby. They move to Melbourne to start again, they relapse; they get married and are the coolest couple in McDonalds dressed in their wedding attire, wasted after using their wedding money to score. There are serious highs and desperate lows. From high-end apartments to slums, hepatitis and crabs, bad scams, arrests and the loss of their baby. Throughout it all they remain in desperate love with each other and heroin.

This did not end at all like I was expecting and was in fact sadder then I had thought possible. It’s haunting when everything turns blue and all that’s left is methadone, madness, loneliness, a job washing dishes and playing Frisbee in the sun.