Use this forum to discuss the May 2018 Book of the Month, "The Sword Swallower and a Chico Kid" by Gary Robinson
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Post by SamSim »

teacherjh wrote: 08 May 2018, 13:03 Addictions are usually a form of pain relief. The person is trying to self-medicate some emotional pain that they cannot consciously deal with. It's only when they turn from the addiction and face the pain that they will find true healing.
I agree. From my limited observation of others, it seems like substance abuse is almost exclusively escapism, but it's certainly not a constructive answer to any problems.
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Post by sanjus »

it could be that Gary Robinson learn t from his disturbed childhood seeing his parents with addiction and may have found they are getting some relief from distress they face in their life. therefore in order to cope op with his own distress he might have got to addiction to find some relief
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Post by Farmgurl1 »

There are definitely recurring themes of substance abuse in the book both with Gary and Duke. Children often imitate the behaviors of their parents so it is not surprising Gary would continue that pattern of abuse. Duke also living in the circus life exposed him to the lifestyle of drug abuse. It was just part of how they lived. People use alcohol and drugs because they want to numb the bad feelings and escape for awhile.
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Post by SereneCharles »

Sometimes people get addicted to something before they realize it. And when they do, it's difficult to leave. It gives them relief, I think, from their emotional disturbances.
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Post by 10mile72 »

My take on the drug abuse: it got the characters through in the short term, but prevented them from having any long term fulfillment, especially with regard to relationships with the opposite sex.
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Addiction is just but a menace in today's society. It wastes and destroy persons life especially the youths. Actually, it provides no solution at all to a persons problem. People just need to learn the art of responsibility and tackle their problems head on.
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Post by v_for_vincent »

cristinaro wrote: 31 May 2018, 06:41 Didn't you think it was strange that Duke tried to cure Gary of alcoholism, but at the same time initiated him in the use of meth? I know that Gary must have thought that Duke could help him because they shared similar problems. I don't consider Duke to have actually helped Gary change his life. It was more of a combination of his near-death experience and Duke's own death that actually helped Gary see things differently.
With everything in the book its hard to lover look the reaction of going down the lions path. This book is filled with the times like this. The death was unfortunate because there was a life pro vibe during each chapter.
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Post by kemp1kor »

In the event that a person is exposed to addiction through a parent or guardian, I've found that a child will generally tend toward one of two extremes. Either they will form an addiction themselves or they will completely avoid alcohol or drugs of any kind in order to avoid forming an addiction. In different ways, both of these can help a person feel more in control.
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Post by ReyvrexQuestor Reyes »

Addiction and drug abuse are, strangely enough, associated with the desire for thrills. Thrill-seekers, the daring ones, will always try anything once, but with drugs, they get addicted.
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Post by ButterscotchCherrie »

While both protagonists were frequently described as consuming substances, I didn't find this to be a vivid portrayal of the psychological and physical aspects of addiction. Even the family background was vaguely told rather than shown, especially in Duke's case.
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Post by klwoodford »

This is a great discussion. The prevalence of substance abuse created a major part of the backbone in regards to both Duke and Gary's development throughout the novel. I think that both men grew up in environments where substance abuse was common place. In my experience, if something is considered normal than it's hard, even nearly impossible, to see it as a problem. I love how Duke helped Gary recognize that the majority of his problems were ignited with alcohol. One thing that really struck me as odd and rubbed me the wrong way was how near the end of the book meth seemed to be glorified as a substance that wasn't near as harmful as alcohol. I understand that due to Duke's family pushing methamphetamine at him and the other circus members stemmed it, but I wish he would have stopped the cycle. What I mean by stop the cycle is not offering it to Gary, who really became part of his family and vice versa.
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Post by Roggyrus »

Addiction and drug abuse are just natural end results of the attempts of people to flee from reality. At first, people would just want to try anything for the heck of it. Peer pressure helps a lot in this. With the members of the group using drugs, anyone who values his being with the group is forced to do as the group does in order to belong. But drugs will ensnare anyone who tries just for the first time. There is no escape. It will draw you in like the blackhole.
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Post by LarissaRunamuck »

Rather than using it to feel empowered, I feel addiction is most often used as a tool to numb and forget the problems one doesn't want to face.
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Post by Britty01 »

kemp1kor wrote: 11 Jun 2018, 20:43 In the event that a person is exposed to addiction through a parent or guardian, I've found that a child will generally tend toward one of two extremes. Either they will form an addiction themselves or they will completely avoid alcohol or drugs of any kind in order to avoid forming an addiction. In different ways, both of these can help a person feel more in control.

I think I prefer they do the latter, though it is unfortunate that they cannot get help with this issue, so that there is no fear, unforgiveness or other emotional issues within them. That way they can simply make a conscious choice not to want those things rather than a need to feel in control.
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Post by Rosemary Wright »

Addicts abuse substances to escape their problems because they don't want to face them. It's good that the book highlights some of the causes and effects of drug and alcohol abuse.
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