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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant writing
This book is subtitled 'Notes from the Slippery Slope.' But it is so much more than 'notes'. It is superbly evocative of the highs and the lows, the good, the bad and the ugly of drugs and the mental instability that either results from, co-incidentally exists with, or led to, the excesses of drug-taking described. The story will be easily recognised by anyone who has...
Published on 24 July 2007 by M. Walker

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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A grandmother's view
Having thoroughly appreciated Clare's previous book "Running for the hills"
I decided to give this one a try.A grandmother who has grandchildren approaching the adolescent stage I thought this book might give some insight into the world of the youth of today-how they think,how they act and why they do.It did that--bearing in mind that one is talking about a sector of...
Published on 28 July 2009 by Sheila M. Griffiths


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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant writing, 24 July 2007
By 
M. Walker (East Sussex) - See all my reviews
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This book is subtitled 'Notes from the Slippery Slope.' But it is so much more than 'notes'. It is superbly evocative of the highs and the lows, the good, the bad and the ugly of drugs and the mental instability that either results from, co-incidentally exists with, or led to, the excesses of drug-taking described. The story will be easily recognised by anyone who has been in, or watched someone else in, a similar boat on a similarly turbulent sea.
But it is the quality of the writing that makes this book stand well clear of other 'My Drug Nightmare' stories. Read it, laugh, weep and keep clean.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A grandmother's view, 28 July 2009
By 
Sheila M. Griffiths (Peterborough uk) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Truant: Notes from the Slippery Slope (Paperback)
Having thoroughly appreciated Clare's previous book "Running for the hills"
I decided to give this one a try.A grandmother who has grandchildren approaching the adolescent stage I thought this book might give some insight into the world of the youth of today-how they think,how they act and why they do.It did that--bearing in mind that one is talking about a sector of society only.I suspect that many of today's generation will end up boringly like us.I thought it a brilliant portrayal into the world of hallucinatory drugs and of the fascinations of both rebellion and escape into this world.In the end I got a bit fed up with the endless round of securing and "enjoying" these transient pleasures and wished to close the book and end the pain.Read it and decide for yourself!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Palace of Wisdom?, 10 May 2010
By 
Roger Keen - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Truant: Notes from the Slippery Slope (Paperback)
Horatio Clare's second memoir is a trip along the Blakeian 'road to excess', involving wide-ranging substance abuse and attendant behavioural and mental problems, finally reaching the redemptive 'palace of wisdom'. It is self-consciously literary and indeed well written, capturing the mood of '90s grunge-era, live-for-the-moment fecklessness that echoes the romantic, beat and hippy lifestyles. Truant contains effective thumbnail sketches of the effects of drugs, depression, mania and that uniquely liberated tramp's eye perspective of the world, when there's nothing left to lose. Along the way there are glimpses of many disparate worlds - public school, a provincial newspaper office, a rough London pub, and various shabby and chaotic living quarters - as Clare continues his madcap journey, involving brushes with the law and the burning of bridges in jobs and relationships.

As the story progresses, it becomes more 'psychoanalytical', taking into account causative factors, which include a troubled family background, Clare's increasingly evident bipolar disorder and, of course, the cumulative effect of the various drugs he's taken. Here he recounts some vivid and disturbing imagery from LSD trips, mentions heroin in passing and also ecstasy, though he has little to say about this, the big drug of that particular era. Instead it is cannabis that dominates his narcotic life, and Clare talks of his addiction and fatal attraction to the substance, singling it out as the primary exacerbating factor in his condition. His earlier accounts of dabblings are light-hearted and typical of those of the average user, but as his bipolar disorder consolidates and he graduates onto the more potent skunk variety, all becomes darker, and he enters a twilight world, paranoid about seeking help from the psychiatric profession and also about pharmaceutical drugs, and soldiering on alone until the inevitable low point is reached.

As an addiction memoir Truant is interesting in that it cites cannabis as the problem substance - rather than heroin, cocaine or alcohol - and so resonates with the current debate about 'cannabis psychosis' and more general health issues resulting from use of the drug. It is honest, unsparing and sometimes harrowing in its revelations, but then the writing itself, in the confessional tradition, has had an evident cathartic function for Clare, and one ends up wishing him well and hoping all that 'reefer madness' is truly behind him.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A worthwhile read, 4 Oct. 2007
It is astonishing that someone so addled by substance and excess can fashion such an elegant and worthwhile read.Honest from start to finish,the pages are peppered with numerous quips and whips,from
bizarre trips through France by freight train to dropping acid and visiting his mother,this book is nothing short of miraculous.As someone in the grips of such experiences to this very day,this book really resonated.And not in a heavy handed,un-hip kind of way,but in a very bashful,approachable manner.A joy.
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5.0 out of 5 stars A STUNNING WORK OF ART, 25 Nov. 2009
This review is from: Truant: Notes from the Slippery Slope (Paperback)
I happened upon Horatio Clare's 'Truant' by complete accident in my local library. As a voracious reader (and writer) I liked the cover and took it home. I was utterly overwhelmed by the talent of one so young. The writing is pure poetry. In fact, I can't remember ever actually putting a book down because I wanted to savour every page and never finish it! It got better and better and better. I have read thousands of personal accounts of addiction and was most interested in this book because it told the truth about 'innocent dope smoking' and how 'harmless' it is (not). It was brutally honest, courageous, vulnerable, witty and extremely emotional. I can't remember the last time I felt like this about a book. It is a real gem. I can't wait to see what Clare does next. EXCELLENT....
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5.0 out of 5 stars slipping and sliding and in the end a solid footing!, 29 Dec. 2009
By 
Mr. Paul F. Stevens "enlightened reader" (Portsmouth,Hants, UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Truant: Notes from the Slippery Slope (Paperback)
Horatio Clare at his discriptive best, another triumph of prose from this modern master, "written how it was" a personal documentry, but so much more, he somehow always manages to almost entrap the reader in the mechanics of his excelent storytelling. required reading for us all!

Read his latest book another triumph!
A Single Swallow: Following an Epic Journey from South Africa to South Wales!
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4.0 out of 5 stars Truant: Notes from the slippery slope, 17 April 2009
This review is from: Truant: Notes from the Slippery Slope (Paperback)
Horatio Clare has a special gift as a writer: he can make words zing with feeling while conjuring astonishing recollections of highs and lows of anguish and exhilaration. It is an extraordinary achievement. It could have done with some editorial cutting in places, but the book reflects life - messy, peaks and troughs, passions, and on the edge. Creativity can be destructive and this book shows how.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Not exactly a portrait, 29 Sept. 2009
By 
Ms. Ea Tate "Elizabeth Tate" (Durham, England) - See all my reviews
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It's a brave book, with attendant contradictions ... it is by turn, indulgent, aware and prophetic, vulnerable and challenging. He is an engaging writer with a genuine ability to tell a story and a more rare ability to seduce the reader into wishing him well.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A good read, but patchy, 5 April 2009
By 
E. Smith (U.K.) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Truant: Notes from the Slippery Slope (Paperback)
This account of Horatio Clare's early adult years of excess, chaos and ennui is an interesting book reasonably well written, occasionally patchy. It is difficult not to get irritated with him for his idiotic behaviour however, but as his mental health problems become clearer as the book progresses things become a bit more understandable, but he still came across as a bit of a spoilt twit sometimes - although perhaps his frankness and honesty is to be admired. I don't think this book really says much about drugs, more about the loss of purpose of modern life, the difficulties of navigating the world when a combination of privelege and existential angst cause confusion, and the disorientating experience of emerging mental health problems.
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Truant: Notes from the Slippery Slope
Truant: Notes from the Slippery Slope by Horatio Clare (Paperback - 3 April 2008)
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