Iced: #bookreview

A timeless tale of one man’s decline into the depths of addiction that is at both a shocking study of the addict’s life, and a deeply compelling and often uplifting tale of human love and loss.

Iced by Ray Shell was originally published in 1993. The book’s 30th anniversary will be celebrated with an anniversary edition, a theatre production, and a movie that is being developed. The book is written in the first person as the personal diary of Cornelius Washington, Jr.

Cornelius experimented with drugs for many years. When he was 40, he became addicted to crack. The book tells the story of how he became a crack addict.

Cornelius Washington, Jr. could have had a great life. He had a scholarship to Columbia University. Unfortunately, he did not graduate or pursue any type of career. Due to drug use and a series of terrible events, he turned to drugs.

His brother, Nate, died possibly from a combination of aids and drug abuse. Soon after that Cornelius’s drug use increased year after year.

His sister Lorraine was doing her best to help him stay alive and get clean. When she became pregnant, she started to distance herself from Cornelius. Who can blame her? She had her own life and soon there would be a child.

Eventually, he moved to Boston. Cornelius was helping a singing group by looking over their legal contracts. When they signed a record deal, the record label didn’t bring Cornelius on board in the same role. He moved back to New York.

When his addiction worsened, he went to stay in North Carolina with his mother. Everything was going well for him. He was the cleanest and healthiest that he had been in years. Until the last short period of time in North Carolina, he hadn’t done drugs at all.

Then temptation got the better of him. After a terrible tragedy, Cornelius didn’t care about anything except crack. He didn’t care about getting off of drugs anymore. He returned to New York where his drug addiction spiralled out of control.

It was sad to read about how someone with so much potential can be affected by drugs. So many people hurt him. He hurt so many people. If Cornelius hadn’t become addicted to drugs, his life could have gone in a different direction with less pain and tragedy.

As an African-American man, the cards were stacked against Cornelius. The War on Drugs has never helped people of color recover from substance abuse. Instead, people of color are sent to prison or die from drugs and drug-related activity. Drugs are from the devil but how do they get into the community?

If I had to guess, I would say that Richard Nixon would not appreciate this book. He would be wrong though.

If you would like to read a realistic book about drug addiction, then this book will be perfect. Please use your own judgment when deciding to read Iced. Do not read it if you are triggered by references to addiction.


Ray Shell

  • I received this ebook from NetGalley. This is my honest review. All opinions are my own. Obviously.

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