The drug addiction memoir is, in its way, as formally rigid a genre as the vicarage mystery or the nurse-and-doctor romance. There will be scenes from an unhappy childhood. There will be episodes of squalor and degradation (toilets, those private nooks in public places, will feature heavily). There will be incidents of petty crime and scenes in which tearful partners announce that they can bear no more. There will be acts of ingenious trickery (addicts, of course, are masters of deception) and of fearful risk. There will be the moment when rock bottom is hit and, later, fragile pages charting a tentative recovery. There will be the final reckoning and a valedictory description of the addict’s gently meaningful post-addiction life. The genre’s abiding interest is closely linked to its formal predictability.
Original Sins is Matt Rowland Hill’s first book, and it’s a classic addiction memoir, in that it obeys the rigid dictates of the genre. But it might also become a classic in the other sense of the word, since it is really very good. Hill was born in south