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Book Review: High Achiever by Tiffany Jenkins

This book is a real life account of a drug addict who later would end up in prison. It's a nonfiction book, but it reads like fiction, which is one aspect of the book that I really liked. Honestly, High Achiever kind of reminded me of Orange is the New Black. A good chunk of the narrator's time was spent in prison, and the reader gets an in-depth look at life behind bars. Though the book is partly about the author's time in prison, it's mostly about her life as a drug addict who manipulates anyone she comes into contact with.

Tiffany spent $30,000 on rehab, and when she got out, her days of addiction were behind her...for a few months. She started dating a sheriff's deputy and everything was looking up, until she messed up. She found some pills in her roommate's house and relapsed. She would spend the next two years lying to her boyfriend about being clean until she ultimately was taken to jail.

As someone who has never had a drug addiction before, this book really surprised me. A drug-addicted person will do anything for that next high. Morals and ethics are thrown out the window. They will manipulate and use anyone in their life to keep feeding their addiction, as well as hide it. I was captivated by this book from the very beginning, and I finished it in only two days. However, parts of the book were problematic, especially the dialogue of the women in jail. The people of color in the book spoke with a stereotypical dialect that made them seem as though they came from poorer neighborhoods. In contrast, white characters did not have this dialect. It makes it seem as though Tiffany was trying to demean people of color with her representation of them. However, I know this novel is based on real-life, so I cannot say for certain that they did not speak in this manner. Also, I feel that Tiffany did not recognize her privilege in society as a white woman. She sold various firearms to a known drug dealer, betrayed her boyfriend and the rest of his police colleagues, and stole various objects that she could sell to feed her addiction. If she were a person of color, I'm sure she would have had to do a lot more time than just four months in jail and six months in a rehab facility. Though the book has its issues, I commend the author for the honesty she pours onto the page. She acknowledges how she messed up and how she hurt a lot of people in her life. It's difficult to put your life on display like that for everyone to see. I also appreciate the non-linear way the book progresses. It picks its way through the most important scenes, but leaves out enough that you have to keep reading. The reader does not find out the exact details of the crime Tiffany commits until half-way through the novel, and the suspense makes it incredibly hard to put down.

I think this book is fantastic and I definitely recommend that you read it!

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