The Last Stop by Patricia Street

The Last Stop is a book that candidly sets out the experience of the author, Patricia Street in her dealings with her son, David, an addict of many years. What she presents us with is a story of many years where she tries to deal with someone who she loves dearly but she trusts little; who she wants to believe but is always wary that what she is being told is not the truth of the matter; who she wants to help but is reluctant to enable. It is an emotional tightrope that seems to stretch perpetually into the future – a “crazy addiction train” which feels like it is never going to stop and reach “The Last Stop” or which you feel like you can never get off…unless it derails.

The depiction of David’s addiction is dealt with pragmatically by Street as she describes the incidences from what she believes to be the beginning of his relationship with heroin and we lead from this point through the years of court appearances, renewed promises, rehabilitation and rare peaceful periods.

Whilst the way that Street’s experiences are related could be seen as emotionally understated, I liked the frank, almost factual way her story was related. It was not sentimental.

I felt for the author’s struggle. This is something that no parent would ever want to have to face and on reading Street’s book, it is clear that trying to navigate a relationship with someone dear to you who is an addict is exhausting and relentless but not free of hopeful moments. The overwhelming emotion that I gleaned from it is the waste of it all and this is reinforced by the second part of the book, which is an amalgamation of David’s own writings, made of his philosophical musings, poems, stories or Facebook discussions. In the inclusion of his writings, a clear picture is given of Street’s son as an intelligent man, worthy of deep thought and reflection, with ambitions in this direction – to become a published writer. One of his poems, “So Seldom My Thoughts Ring True”, resonated strongly with me as a brief glimpse into David’s viewpoint, full of candour and honesty, providing insight into a character full of contradictions.

I can’t think of any better way for Street to show her love for her son than providing the means for his writings to reach the wider world.

This review was first published on Reedsy Discovery where I was privileged to read it as an ARC.

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