A poignantly funny account of renowned writer and humorist Neal Pollack's years as a marijuana addict.
Beginning innocently enough in his 20s, Neal Pollack discovers that pot makes everything—food, music, sex—better. Getting married, having a kid, and enjoying professional success do nothing to dampen Pollack's enthusiasm for getting high. As cannabis grows stronger and more widely available, the expansion and acceptance of marijuana Big Business shadows Pollack's dependence.
By 2014, Neal is a correspondent for a national marijuana newspaper, mostly because it means free pot. Diving into the wild, wicked world of weed with both lungs, Pollack proceeds to smoke, vape, and eat his way to oblivion, leading to public meltdowns and other embarrassing behavior. After his mother dies in 2017, he spirals out of control, finally hitting bottom during a reckless two-day gambling and drug-filled binge, culminating in a public crack-up at the World Series in Dodger Stadium. Three weeks later, he quits.
After joining a twelve-step program, Neal outs himself as a marijuana addict in a 2018 New York Times op-ed piece, leading to his decision to document his experience as a cautionary tale for the millions of recreational users in the hazy age of legalized weed.
Pothead captures a giddy, buzzy, unprecedented moment in our culture—a new, outwardly joyful wave of reefer madness that takes its toll. Neal has always been a hilarious writer, but also surprisingly reflective and bravely self-insightful. His latest book is as funny as always, but also, bracingly, movingly sober.—John Hodgman, comedian and author of Vacationland and Medallion Status
You don’t have to be a pothead to appreciate the humor and pathos in Pothead, Neal Pollack’s zippy, deep-thinking Gen-X recovery memoir.—Caroline Kepnes, author of You
In the recovery movement, they might call the first half of Neal Pollack’s Pothead a war story, for its impressively rich catalogue of indignities and pratfalls. But as in all the best war stories, Pollack’s account is rendered with such spirit and wit, with such a bottomless arsenal of hilarities that it is impossible to look away. We long throughout this harrowing account for the moment when Neal Pollack’s feet will strike the earth, and when he does, his considerable talent billows out with a bright new reflective aspect. This is an especially lucid and welcome account, therefore, of a long journey through compulsion into clarity, insight, and acceptance.—Rick Moody, award-winning author of The Black Veil and The Ice Storm
Neal Pollack’s Pothead is a harrowing corrective to the popular myth that marijuana use is always safe and consequence-free. Told with ruthless honesty and Pollack’s signature irreverence, it delineates how a seemingly harmless habit can devolve into a life-ruining addiction, and what it takes to come back. This is a valuable, timely addition to our cultural conversation about marijuana, and a gift to anyone who loves fearless memoir laced with dark wit.—Kristi Coulter, author of Nothing Good Can Come from This
Pollock’s writing is heartbreaking, funny, tender, and honest. And it offers great hope for the growing numbers who are finding themselves addicted to marijuana in this legal age of weed. I read this book in one sitting. It’s that good and it’s that helpful. All at the same time.—Dana Bowman, author of Bottled and How to Be Perfect Like Me