Plot: The Last Stop is the author's narrative of her late son, David's, downward spiral into drug addiction, crime, and early death at 39 years old.
Prose: The author is a clear, concise writer, though there is a certain amount of jumping around, especially in the first chapter—covering the early years of David's life—that can prove confusing for readers.
Originality: The author's tragic story of having to watch her son disappear into the life of an addict is heartbreaking, but there's no question it's also an important narrative to share with the world. Sections that focus mainly on David's many run-ins with the law and stints in jail are essential to the story, but they grow repetitive at times and fall in the vein of other addiction narratives.
Character/Execution: David's story is a heartrending cautionary tale that the author bravely shares. Initially the book hints at help for others who are dealing with these issues, but in actuality the narrative focuses exclusively on David's story, though there are a few isolated moments when the author gestures toward research/addiction more generally. The many letters, emails, and social media posts by David are interesting and give the narrative a more personal feel.
Date Submitted: January 27, 2023
Although she powerfully outlines the course of David’s addiction so readers can grasp its devastation, Street offers more than a conventional life history. Her desire to help families recognize warning signs early is evident throughout, as she highlights the behaviors she missed alongside her exhaustive efforts to help, and she never shies away from recounting even the most shameful aspects of addiction—or the pain it causes loved ones. Heartbreaking stories include David stealing valuables from his family to sell for cash, becoming physically dangerous, and his rocky relationship with wife Circe, a fellow addict, who contributed to his multiple relapses.
Though there are moments of hope, readers take heed: Street offers a brutally honest look at the harsh reality of addiction. David transforms from a promising young adult into an emaciated addict, plagued with life-threatening physical illnesses all stemming from his constant needle use. Street shares what worked, what failed, and what she wishes she had done, in candid language that will be equal parts sobering and useful for families facing similar circumstances. She also honors David’s goal of being an author by sharing his writing (including the rough draft of a novel she discovered after his death) that illuminates his agony, as he records “the words come from the despair inside me.”
Takeaway: A mother’s devastating story, chronicling the ravages of addiction.
Great for fans of: David Carr’s The Night of the Gun, Cat Marnell’s How to Murder Your Life.
Design and typography: A-
Marketing copy: A