if you have any interest in the beautiful darkness of the human spirit this is a book for you. Transcendent and illuminating, O'Neil leads you through the twisted world of the career junkie. A scuzzy work of extraordinary art. An autofiction, par excellence.
This is a must for any fans of novels like The Basketball Diaries, Trainspotting or Junkie. The author details his years as a musician in various mid 90's bands like Kenickie, before the real meat of the book - a relentless nosedive into heroin addiction and crack use in some incredibly scuzzy sounding LA neighborhoods. The writing is simple, very brutal but poetic: the book reminded me more of the classic stuff like Burroughs or Bukowski than more recent memoirs like Jerry Stahl or James Frey. And a barely disguised account of his stint as a member of The Brian Jonestown Massacre is worth the price of admission by itself.
Be warned though - if a blow by blow account of someone injecting crack cooked up in lemon juice, with a used needle sounds too much for you - then avoid Digging the Vein. Otherwise, pick up a copy and change yer life.
I cannot explain how much I loved reading this book. You get so deep into the mind and the vein. Slip into the eye of his mind : his writing lets you . I have had similar issues myself . Perhaps for someone who doesn't know that world at all it may be just a little *too* dirty and horrific in places. So if that's the case brace yourselves, because this is quite a tale. but read it anyway, because you will come out richer in experience. And we know from the beginning that he lived to tell the tale (thank g#d), so...