Tag Archives: Addiction

No Longer Human by Osamu Dazai (5 Star Review by Jason S. ’25)

No Longer HumanNo Longer Human by Osamu Dazai
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

TW: suicide, substance abuse, misogyny

No Longer Human, Osamu Dazai’s last work, is a heavy semi-autobiographical novel told mostly through the abandoned memoirs of Oba Yozo, a man whose failure to understand and properly interact with a thoroughly westernized pre-WWII Japanese society forces him to live under the assumption that he is disqualified from humanity. The narrative is bookended by an observer whose findings reframe Yozo’s life through a set of more forgiving, though by no means rose-tinted, lenses.

I find Yozo to be an incredibly well-written character. This does not mean that I like him as a person; on the contrary he is melancholy, irresponsible, and thus extremely difficult to like. However, his mistakes are painfully human. This being said, Yozo’s narration is at times dominated by an unusual misogyny that uncomfortably extends beyond the already alienating context of his misanthropy. Even more concerning for a semi-autobiographical novel, quite a few women are written by Dazai to passively conform to Yozo’s views concerning a vulnerable, inscrutable woman.

This intolerance, though, is a human fault. Inexcusable, but quietly human. Passing judgements onto Yozo’s faults inevitably made me question my own. The text, though genuinely depressing, sits at an extremely accessible 177 pages. No Longer Human is a novel I will return to when my values will have unrecognizably shifted, and one that I recommend best with a highlighter, a good pen, and an open mind. —Review by Jason S. ’25

Jason’s book recommendations for those who enjoyed No Longer Human:

Notes from the Underground is a strikingly similar work; indeed, Dazai even explicitly communicates his Dostoevsky influences at one point in No Longer Human.

Siddhartha is a very interesting piece in comparison.

Brief Interviews with Hideous Men explores many of the same issues in radically different contexts, particularly the story “The Depressed Person.”

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Daisy Jones & The Six (review by Emma A. ’21)

Daisy Jones & The SixDaisy Jones & The Six by Taylor Jenkins Reid
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

About a page into the book, I was completely hooked! Daisy Jones and The Six by Taylor Jenkins Reid tells the story of the rise and fall of a fictional band in the 70s. The story depicts unconditional love, addiction, self-help, and the golden era of rock, all while set to a soundtrack of some of the best made up songs I have ever read. Loosely modeled off of Fleetwood Mac, the drama and events of the novel are so realistic that you will have to keep telling yourself the band doesn’t exist!

The novel is divided into parts, each progressing through the story of the whimsical, carefree Daisy Jones and the emerging musical powerhouse The Six. Daisy and the band’s stories begin to intertwine and new group dynamics emerge and are tested. The characters are each imperfect in their own ways and there is a sense of humanity given to each of them. Unsurprisingly, my favorite character was Daisy. Daisy is headstrong, stubborn, self sabotaging, and possesses natural born talent, but she grows and develops over the course of the story. As the novel was told in an interview format, each character was reflecting on the decisions they made in the past while providing commentary and witty remarks. Each character’s voice emerged distinctly and proved a testament to their personalities.

This book was honestly a perfect shelter in place read for me and a great addition to my favorite books of all time list! I found myself eager to keep reading and couldn’t put the book down (I finished it in one night!). The story is incredibly engrossing and realistic, and though I grew up in the 2000s, I felt fully immersed in the bustle of LA and the rock scene of the 70s. -Review by Emma A. ’21

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The Death of bees (review by anya W. ’20)

The Death of BeesThe Death of Bees by Lisa O’Donnell
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The Death of Bees is in essence, a story of a few broken people trying to survive life, and look out for each other. Marnie know better than to trust anyone, especially now that she’s got her parents buried in the backyard. Nellie does not understand why these ruffians, her elder sibling included, are incapable of retaining their manners regardless of the trying times cast upon them. Lennie’s just worried about the poor girls who live next door, whose parents seem to have disappeared again.

O’Donnell’s writing is quite a bit better than I originally presumed. While the internal monologue of the main character seems a bit off in the beginning, her writing improves steadily throughout the book, and the oddness of the other characters’ monologues, while somewhat odd, do well to encapsulate themselves as characters and how they are viewed. The bittersweet tale is a masterful study of the effects of childhoods on young people, and on building oneself up after being torn down.

TW: this novel contains depictions of physical and sexual abuse of minors. -Anya W.

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Glass by Ellen Hopkins (review by Nikita R. ’16)

Glass (Crank, #2)Glass by Ellen Hopkins
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Suddenly dealt with the responsibilities of motherhood, Kristina Snow must somehow raise a child while battling her addiction to “the monster,” known as crystal meth. Despite her love for her child, Kristina finds herself becoming increasingly dissatisfied with the monotony of her daily life in comparison to the excitement of her past. In Glass, the second sequel in the Crank series, Ellen Hopkins once again brings to life the story of a confused, desperate teenager who has become swept up in a world she is not ready for. Although the average reader has not necessarily shared Kristina’s experiences, any teenager or adult will understand her emotions and decisions. This book is a must-read, for teenagers especially. – Nikita R. ‘16

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Crank by Ellen Hopkins (review by Anushka D. ’15)

Crank (Crank, #1)Crank by Ellen Hopkins
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Good girl Kristina Georgia Snow begs to visit her father in New Mexico so she can reconnect with the man wrenched from her life and once again be his little princess. When she arrives her dreams crash as she takes in the drug addict her father has become along with his less-than-kingly castle and job. Before long, however, she falls in love with a boy and is swept into the dangerous world of drugs, a world that follows her when she returns home to her mother. Written creatively and realistically, Crank follows Kristina’s descent into a hell that ravages her family, friends, and life. Although she is difficult to understand and often unlikeable, the narration accurately depicts her addiction, pain, and struggle. Based on a true story, the book makes the reader think about what many teens face today. The sequel should be just as tumultuous and dark, and just as worthy a read! – Anushka D. ‘15

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