One of my favorite authors is Irvine Welsh and he has just come out with a prequel to his classic work Trainspotting. The prequel, Skagboys, is just as good and explains how Rent Boy, Spud, Sick Boy and some of the others became hooked on heroin in the first place. I have read so many books (fiction and non-fiction) about drug addiction, housing projects, welfare, and how these conditions can kill your spirit but some tiny little part of me frequently has a hard time not thinking “ if they really wanted to have a better life, they could do it”. Welsh’s brutal, honest writing obliterates that tiny voice in my head and makes me feel so sorry for his characters even as he shows how some of them are totally immoral. He makes me think “who wouldn’t take heroin under those circumstances?” But, oddly enough, I also developed an admiration for the psychotic, violent Begbie as he refuses to touch the drug. Skagboys is not for the fainthearted-most of the book is written in Scottish slang dialect which takes some getting used to and there is lots of explicit language, violence, and sex. It is also extremely funny. Top notch!