The Basketball Diaries

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Penguin Books, 1995 - Biography & Autobiography - 210 pages
7 Reviews
Written between the ages of twelve and fifteen, this diary tells the story of Jim Carroll, a kid growing up stealing, hustling, getting high, playing basketball, and trying to find something pure on the streets of New York.

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Amazing book!!!

User Review  - corman - Borders

In a time where people were rebellious in ways todays society can't facet, Jim Carroll takes us where we never wanted to go. He is honest, addicted, persuasive, smart, funny, humble, and a writer on a ... Read full review

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My old girlfriend's mother suggested one day that I read this book, giving me a copy and showing a picture of her and Jim in NY some time sharing a smoke- the prelude scribbled with 'To sherry, from Jim'. I felt like something deep lay underneath the cover- holding it like his hands must of years ago when he gave the book to Sherry. Right from the first page- I was in to this book, serious reading- it was like the feeling of my crazed youth back in my veins, rushing beside him and his group as I did with my own friends in the days, drug use, disregard for others and partying likewise- made it so easy to feel like I was in his shoes. 10 pages in, I knew this was going to be one of the most important books I'll have, and was so pleased and honored to finally have found this, like its the book I've been looking for all along to recollect my past. By the end of it- last page wiping tears from my eyes, I stared at the texture of the cover- imagining his hands holding it as they did years ago. I've read it over countless times and will continue to read it again and again for as long as I live.
First of the movie is- flat. It offers a soft light warm version of the book- but nowhere near the depth of where the paperback pages can take you. The book is not for those uninterested in reading about drug addiction, sexual experiences, reading about harsh stuff- muggings, suicides, death of friends etc etc- which is why response is mixed- it hit the big screen with a big star, then mom and dad and the local catholic pastor and grandma start flipping into the pages- big mistake- but these are the eye's of Carroll's on what he saw growing up- and is a true testament to anyone on the harsh realities of where we can find ourselves. That being said- I highly suggest reading it. Whatever morals or standards you have, this book can grab you in areas you have never thought, or having been thinking of the whole time, and take you into your own view of Carroll. The story is different for everyone- and to date I haven't met one person who hasn't enjoyed it- however I have only shown it to those I believe will enjoy it- perhaps you are one of the people? RIP Jim


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Rollers & skaters
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About the author (1995)

As a teenager, Jim Carroll won a basketball scholarship to Trinity, an elite private school on the Upper West Side of Manhattan, where he discovered a love of writing and began spending time at the St. Mark's Poetry Project in the East Village. While at Trinity, he led a life that combined sports, drugs and poetry. He published a limited-edition pamphlet of poems, Organic Trains (1967) while still in his teens. He briefly attending Wagner College and Columbia University, but soon found his way to Andy Warhol's Factory, where he contributed dialogue for Warhol's films. Later he worked as a studio assistant for the painter Larry Rivers. He left New York in 1973 to escape drugs and settled in Bolinas, an artistic community north of San Francisco. He is best known for The Basketball Diaries, the journal he kept during high school and published in 1978. In 1995, it was adapted into a movie starring Leonardo DiCaprio. His other works include 4 Ups and 1 Down; Living at the Movies; Forced Entries: The Downtown Diaries, 1971-1973; The Book of Nods; Fear of Dreaming; and Void of Course, 1994-1997. In the late 1970's, he formed the Jim Carroll Band. Their albums include Catholic Boy (1980), Dry Dreams (1982) and I Write Your Name (1984). He also wrote lyrics for Blue Oyster Cult and Boz Scaggs. He died from a heart attack on September 11, 2009 at the age of 60.

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