The Basketball Diaries by Jim Carroll

The Basketball Diaries

The urban classic coming-of-age story about sex, drugs, and basketball.Jim Carroll grew up to become a renowned poet and punk rocker. But in this memoir of the mid-1960's, set during his coming-of-age from 12 to 15, he was a rebellious teenager making a place and a name for himself on the unforgiving streets of New York City. During these years, he chronicled his experiences, and the result is a diary of unparalleled candor that conveys his alter...

Details The Basketball Diaries

TitleThe Basketball Diaries
Release DateJun 1st, 1995
PublisherPenguin Books/Penguin Group (USA) Inc.
GenreNonfiction, Autobiography, Memoir, Biography

Reviews The Basketball Diaries

  • TK421
    Before there was a “cop on every corner” in New York, there were some of the most interesting characters frolicking around, bounding up and down the streets as if they were players in a real-life version of a very fucked up Wonderland. Pimps and prostitutes and transvestites and junkies and businessmen and children and you-name-it all blended together and somehow figured out a way to live a somewhat harmonious existence in this concrete jungl...
  • Lynx
    It's amazing to know Jim Carroll wrote this book when he was age 13-16, not only due to subject matter but for the undeniable talent that seeps through every page. With Manhattan as his playground and local junkies, thieves and hooligans as his playmates, Carroll spirals from mild delinquent to full blown addict believing (as all addicts first do) that where others fail, he has it all under control.Those expecting this to be like the movie beware...
  • RandomAnthony
    The Basketball Diaries reminded me of an after school special (look it up, kiddies) gone very, very wrong. And while I'm sure this book attracts adherents because it's “real” or whatever I can't say the book held much of my interest. Maybe The Basketball Diaries is one of those titles that when first published (1978) was considered cautionary and groundbreaking but needs too much license and contextualization in 2011. For example, these passa...
  • Melki
    Sex, drugs and stealing purses.WINTER 1964My old lady found a nickel bag of grass in my hiding spot under the rug today and flushed it down the toilet. She had a long talk with me and asked me if I was addicted to the stuff. I told her it's heroin you get addicted to, not grass, and I think I finally convinced her. She was not so convinced that she'd give me back the five bucks though, when I asked her for it. In fact, I think she got a little an...
  • Carac Allison
    William Burroughs and Irvine Welsh wrote my favorite books about junk addiction. I love "Naked Lunch" and I love "Trainspotting".I don't think of Jim Carroll when I consider those two writers. Because I don't think of Jim Carroll as a writer.I don't think of "The Basketball Diaries" when I consider those two novels. Because "The Basketball Diaries" isn't fiction.Jim Carroll was a prodigy diarist and "The Basketball Diaries" is a personal journal ...
  • Jessica
    I don't really remember a thing about this book except that I really did like it at the time that I read it, around age fourteen. When the movie came out I cut school and drank some cough syrup or something and went to go see the matinee by myself. This was in Leonardo DiCaprio's fleeting, long-past early-nineties moment of hotness, and in the movie -- which was bad -- he looked gorgeous and lanky leaping around on the basketball court in his Cat...
  • F
    One example of the film being better than the book.
  • Tosh
    In my intensity to read anything regarding the streets of New York City, I picked up this book at Alias East in Atwater Village. I have known this book for ages, but for whatever reason I had no interest in reading it. The only interest for me is New York. The drug part is not interesting to me, but i think anyone from that world or is about to go into that landscape, would probably find this book fascinating. To me it reads like a young adult no...
  • E.D. Martin
    This book was insightful, in that it showed us the life of a very troubled kid in 1960's NYC. But what value is that, in that it was mostly his daily activities without any insight into why he did it? There was no growth, no reflection. No beginning, no end. This was a snapshot, not a reflection.
  • Neil Strauss
    I strongly recommend for those who don’t regularly read.
  • Elizabeth
    Jim Carroll's diary about growing up "urban" on "mean streets" is a crock of shit. He grew up with a supportive family, albeit not wealthy, and he was given opportunities other kids could only dream of. He got himself hooked on heroin and other drugs, skipped school (where he was lucky enough to be on scholarship), frequently committed robbery, burglary, armed robbery and burglary, trespassing, assault, and ended up arrested a few times and in ja...
  • Blake Nelson
    I was so young when I first read this, I didn't know that the word "lame" was just the normal word "lame", like kids used. I thought it was a fabric or something. I wasn't used to seeing how people actually talked, printed in a BOOK.
  • David
    Some bold lines. Visceral and vivid, striking. Perhaps I should have read this when I was a bit younger, but I still enjoyed it now. Strong writing.
  • William Prystauk
    Carroll’s diary chronicles his teenage years of drug addiction in New York City during the mid-1960s. He tells the reader candidly about his addictions to glue, codeine and heroin, what he did to get it and all the sex he had along the way. Most importantly, Carroll established a consistent tone and voice full of sardonic wit and he never flinched at revealing his life at the time. For better or worse – most assuredly worse – Carroll has th...
  • Frank Stein
    The book starts out amazing, with Carroll writing in his diary as a sharp but un-selfconcious 13 year old willing to share his own mundane and amazing stories. At this point he's just a lower class Irish kid on the Lower East Side who has a talent for basketball but still spends most of his time running around shoplifting, doing drugs, and chasing girls. He relates it all with a beautiful honesty and lack of pretense. As the book progresses, thou...
  • Unbridled
    I kind of want to make fun of this book, so I will, momentarily: "Listen up cats and kittens, I won't jive you, if you dig a 13 year old voice that squeaks to be hip, this is the book for you. No squares allowed, dig?" This diary reads exactly what you'd expect from a posturing 13 year old - as edited by the diarist with eyes on Rimbaud and Burroughs (and the rest of the Beats) many years later. Even though this sounds dismissive, I don't want to...
  • Natalia
    If I had to chose one book as my favorite of all time, it would be The Basketball Diaries. I've basically lost track of the number of times I have reread it.The fact that the book is, in fact, Carroll's diary makes it so much more real. His experiences aren't censored and modified. Instead, you are given an intimate and raw look into a portion of Carroll's teenage years and his struggles with substance abuse, as well as just growing up, in 1960's...
  • Kevin
    I actually read with Jim in 1996 or so. It was at Berbati's in Portland and he was very shaky and nervous. As he kept reading though, he seemed to really take off and his words soared to wonderful heights. But I may be imagining that because I was high on acid that night. Ironic, since I think Jim was actually clean.
  • Ben
    The book where I felt transported to a place so different than the world I knew. Still one of my favorite books.And now for some riffage at TNBBC's The Next Best Book Blog - http://thenextbestbookblog.blogspot.c...
  • Jodi Sh.
    life-changing if you are a writer. a junkie. or potentially one or the other.
  • Nate D
    Probably an influential starting point of lots of grimy drug novels to follow. I have a feeling this was edited and embellished enough from its journal origins to consider it as a novel, even if the basic events are plausible enough. Still, drug diary-novels aren't really the most exciting thing to read (the patterns of an addict are almost numbingly boring), what's of interest is mostly this particular slice of seamy 70s New York, the local colo...
  • Ken Collins
    A good read for anyone who insists that crime-afflicted, tribal, racist, sexist, gay-bashing old New York was somehow superior to contemporary New York. This is the work of a third-rate Burroughs with the kind of jock-bragging that will appeal to fratboy stoners who've graduated from Hunter S. Thompson and are looking for something a bit more edgy. Diary of a Cromag covers the same turf a decade later with a more sympathetic protagonist.
  • Aaron Kent
    A perfect "street find" book and an exceptional re-read many years later. Given the current declawed condition that NYC finds itself in this book pulses with the long lost true grit that epitomized the city seen through the wild drug-addled eyes of youth.
  • Haines Eason
    Wild and at times too incredible to believe... A sad reflection of the everywhere-implied Western adage that great suffering makes great art. Three stars for this book’s necessary privileging of content over style (it is a “journal,” after all).
  • Andrew Shaffer
    "The Dick Joke Diaries."
  • Amanda
    I’m certainly not a certified reader but this was too difficult to finish. I struggled to get half way. Not my cup of tea but I am sure lots of people love it.
  • Adam
    The Basketball Diaries, by Jim CarrollBook Review by: Adam Michaelis The Basket Ball Diaries addictively illustrates Jim Carroll’s diary of his life in his teenage years. The book goes between ages twelve through sixteen in his life after the cold war. Set in NYC Jim tells a day to day entry of his life and his experiences he has. From sex to hitting up heroin, he tells all. Being pressured and self drive there is another side of Jim; a strivin...
  • Eddie Tran
    I don't really remember a thing about this book except that I really did like it at the time that I read it, around age 17. When the movie came out I cut school and drank some cough syrup or something and went Anyway, I'd be interested to go back and reread this and see if it's still good. I'm really fascinated by my own adolescent fascination with substance abuse and general nihilistic fucked-uppedness, which is something I've finally realized n...
  • Sara
    I thought I knew what this book was until I read it. I THOUGHT it was about a poor Irish-American kid trying to be a great basketball player, and that part is somewhat true for the first part of the book. What I didn't realize was that this was a memoir about heroin addiction. It is alarming to see such an addiction play out in diary form. For example, you get the sense that Jim's habit has picked up a bit, but when all of a sudden he starts nonc...
  • Guy Portman
    The book was a donation from goodreads friend Lisa Author Jim Carroll recounts his New York youth in this classic piece of adolescent literature. The book, which takes the form of seasonal diary entries, covers the period of his life from the ages of twelve to sixteen. We follow the budding basketball star’s accomplishments on the court, and exploits off it, including his experiences roaming the city and numerous sexual encounters. Innocence ha...