REVIEWS


“Unflinching….told with such bluntness and heart that you can’t help but root for Herren to stay clean.”

- Kirkus Reviews

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What a story. If you read a sports book – no, any book – that sticks in your head longer than Basketball Junkie this year please let me know. This was a walk down a long, dark street to places that most of us have never been. Who knew there was a regulation basketball court in the ninth circle of hell? Fascinating.”

-Leigh Montville, New York Times bestselling author of Ted Williams and
Evel: The High Flying Life of Evel Knievel

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“Chris Herren’s Basketball Junkie is the story of what happens when a town and a family pressure a favorite son to embody their dreams, which turn out to be his nightmare. If a book can be both anguished and celebratory, this is it. Herren’s account of his descent into hell and back show that beyond the bench pressing and the sprints and all the other prep work that help to create an athlete, in the end, character-building is the one drill that really matters.”

–Madeleine Blais, New York Times bestselling author of In These Girls, Hope is a Muscle

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“In this blunt, self-deprecating memoir, Herren tells his story as one of the greatest high school athletes to come out of southern New England. Fall River, Mass., has a storied basketball tradition, and Herren’s achievements on the court made him a local hero as well as bringing him to the attention of national recruiters and Sports Illustrated. Overwhelmed by expectations, Herren avoided school and abused drugs and alcohol. Although Herren managed to make it to the NBA, his life continued to spin out of control until he OD’d in his car and was found unconscious with a bag of heroin on the seat beside him. Herren offers explanations for his downfall but doesn’t make excuses. Neither does he glorify the partying and excess that made his life a blur. What he does achieve is something more valuable: giving a stark portrayal of the surreal existence led by young sports stars in a world of rapacious agents, vicious rivals, oblivious fans, and educational institutions that enable their “student” athletes to get away with almost anything. In the end, this is a sobering, cautionary tale for star-athletes-to-be.”

- Publishers Weekly

“In Fall River Dreams (1995), sports journalist Reynolds profiled crumbling Fall River, Massachusetts, its revered Durfee High School basketball team, and its brightest hope, Chris Herren. Herren went on to be a blue-chip prospect recruited by the nation’s top-tier college programs and even showed promise as a young combo guard in the NBA. But the whole time, he battled addiction, first to alcohol, then cocaine, then OxyContin, and then heroin, bouncing around European and Asian leagues before his drug problems completely overtook his life. In this memoir, he lays bare the flaming wreckage of his career and how the game never mattered as much to him as partying did. He avoids doling out blame, but the immense family and community pressure to win and his failure to develop emotional maturity off the court are the stuff that sports nightmares are made of. His story of wasted opportunity, the crushing toll of addiction, and a hopeful chance at a sober life outside the spotlight may seem familiar, but that doesn’t make it any less compelling.”

- Ian Chipman, Book List

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“The talented guard from Fall River, MA, carried the hopes of his family and his down-and-out town with him as he played legendary college and later pro ball. It was heady stuff for a small-town kid and would be the stuff of dreams if not for the other Chris Herren story: alcohol abuse, drug addiction, crime, lying, and endangering his family. What I’m Telling My Friends How Herren threw it all away and got it back in the biggest rebound of his life is the real Cinderella story this month, albeit told in a gritty, in-your-face way. I could not care less about basketball but kept reading to see what saved him and what laid him so low. I hate to admit that I cared by the end.”

- Library Journal