The Basketball Diaries by Jim Carroll

The Basketball Diaries

The Basketball Diaries: Sex, Drugs, Basketball and Crime.
Carroll was running wild on the streets of New York and wrote this diary to chronicle his adventures from age 13 to 16. I first read it in 1985 and thought it exciting but now I find it sad. He has parents but they barely appear in the book. Most parents wouldn’t let a teenager run around NYC by himself for fear of what they might run into… Jim Carroll. His life goes off the tracks when he discovers Heroin. Jim mistakenly thinks Marijuana is the dangerous addictive drug and not smack. When the book ends Carroll is a junkie and his life doesn’t look very promising.

200 pages


The more I read the more I know it now, heavier each day, that I need to write. I think of poetry and how I see it as just a raw block of stone ready to be shaped, that way words are never a horrible limit to me, just tools to shape. I just get the images from the upstairs vault (it all comes in images) and fling ’em around like bricks, sometimes clean and smooth and then sloppy and ready to fall on top of you later. Like this house where I got to sometimes tear out a room and make it another size or shape so the rest make sense… or no sense at all. And when I’m done I’m stoned as on whatever you got in your pockets right now, dig?

Now I got these diaries that have the greatest hero a writer needs, this crazy fucking New York. Soon I’m gonna wake a lot of dudes off their asses and let them know what’s really going down in the blind alley out there in the pretty streets with double garages. I got a tap on all your wires, folks. I’m just really a wise ass kid getting wiser and I’m going to get even somehow for your dumb hatreds and all them war baby dreams you left in my scarred bed with dreams of bombs falling above that cliff I’m hanging steady to. Maybe someday just an eight-page book, that’s all, and each time a page gets turned a section of the Pentagon goes blast up in smoke. Solid. -pages 159, 160


About craigmaas

I do a little web design work and support a couple web sites and blogs. My primary focus is lighting and energy consulting where I use a number of computer tools to help my customer find ways of saving money and improving their work environment. See my web site for more information:
This entry was posted in Biography, Memoir, Reread and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to The Basketball Diaries by Jim Carroll

  1. Suzanne says:

    It’s been so long since I read this. RIP Jim.

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