Fresh out of high school, Smith arrived at the Academy of Dramatic Arts in New York City with big plans and dreams. She longed to be an actress, but she fell in with a bad crowd and found herself experimenting with ecstasy, cocaine, and acid. A bad acid trip isn't enough to scare her off from the lifestyle, and after graduating she gets involved with Mason, a charismatic and handsome drug dealer who quickly draws Lynn into his aimless, ecstasy-filled existence. The constant drug use finally leads to a breakdown, and Lynn's concerned mother brings her to a hospital and checks Lynn into a rehab program back in her hometown of Danville, Pennsylvania. Smith manages to complete the program only to come home to more challenges (her father is an alcoholic) and unexpected opportunities (MTV wants to do a story on her struggle with addiction). Smith's memoir is a must-read for anyone who views drugs as glamorous--her descriptions of bad trips are very vivid and frightening, and the effort she made to turn her life around is admirable.
Aspiring actress Smith dabbled in recreational drug use after moving to New York City from small town Pennsylvania. Sadly, the recent high school graduate quickly went from being a casual user to an addict. Smith's descriptions of "rolling" on ecstasy are appropriately disjointed and haunting. She deftly conveys an ecstasy user's sense of euphoria, especially the bubbling happiness that spreads like a wave through an "E"-fueled dance floor. But in tackling recovery, she falters. Although Smith's experience in treatment was difficult, and her description of it lends some insight into her subsequent triumph, she lingers too long in very well-trod territory. Once Smith is out of the hospital, though, the book regains its footing as Smith details her appearance in an MTV special about ecstasy use, and the difficulty of dealing with her somewhat emotionally unhealthy family. Smith has written a fervent cautionary tale; even when revealing the drug's joyful moments, her tone is one of warning and regret. As a member of the advisory board of the Partnership for a Drug-Free America, Smith tours and lectures about ecstasy, and it's likely that this work will find wide readership. The book's greatest strength is its alarming passages about coming down from a high and about the emptiness of living for the next pill-popping moment.
Smith's revealing debut features prose that rolls by as smoothly as the book's catchy title ("rolling" on Ecstasy is the present-day equivalent of "tripping" on LSD). Taking readers on a journey from rural Pennsylvania to the concrete jungle of Manhattan, Smith relays her folly in succumbing to the thrills of Ecstasy and its attendant club scene. After graduating from the American Academy of Dramatic Arts, she takes her newly minted degree precisely nowhere. Rather than seeking acting roles, she tries on the hat of addict, at which she excels. Her life rapidly spirals out of control, and Smith suffers a psychotic breakdown that prompts a rescue mission by her mother and a return to Pennsylvania. Ultimately, Smith succeeds in staying clean and resumes life, complete with a triumphant return to New York City. A brutally honest memoir and testimonial to the courage of recovery; recommended for public libraries with holdings such as Go Ask Alice.
Rolling away is a brilliant book. It tells the honest truth about what some people consider to be a harmless pill. For some, once you try ecstasy your hooked; it's hard to break free and Lynn does an excellent job in describing and explaining the horrors that she went through trying to get herself clean. You can go on any website or even Google the effects of ecstasy but nothing is better than hearing, well reading in this case, something that actually happened to someone.
Lynn shares her whole life story. She explains how easy it is to get hooked, how it feels to be addicted to something and how hard it can be to get your life back. She tells about the show she was on that MTV aired called, True Life: I'm on ecstasy, and explains about the brain scan that her doctor had done on her and the results are scary but so true.
This book is for anyone that has ever done ecstasy, or knows anyone that has ever done E, or just for anyone that wants a great true story to read.
I can't say that I 'liked' reading this book - it was at times painfully sad. All young people should read this book, if only to understand that sometimes you don't get a second chance. Lynn Marie Smith had a once in a lifetime opportunity to attend the American Academy of Dramatic Arts in New York. First, you have to be talented just to get in the door, and then you have to figure out how in the hell you're going to pay for everything, if you're lucky enough to be accepted as a student.
Smith was a casual drug user who became an addict, who was later confirmed to have suffered permanent brain damage from her use of the drug Ecstasy. Once she was out of rehab, her days of being a student over, she was back home with her parents, working a dead-end job and living in a small town.
This is the ultimate truth of what can happen to young people who f--k up their lives with drugs. They might not end up as homeless bag ladies with shopping carts, but being stuck in a low-wage dead-end job is a hell on earth, especially when you had a chance to make the big time, and you blew it.
The author's point of view is refreshing - she acknowledges the role that her parents' dysfunction played, but she does not fully blame them (or anyone else) for her problems.
I read this book in two days. Lynn Marie Smith writes in an honest, real style that made me feel like I was talking to her directly. I also felt like I went though much of her experience with her. I appreciate her 'this is me, take it or leave it' style. Her message is more profound because of it.
San Diego, CA
The story of Lynn and her *love* of E is frank and extremely graphic. She made me feel as though I was right there with her during her harshest experiences.
It is so scary to see how easily we can fall into the trap of addiction and Lynn makes mention of this quite frequently in her memoir.
What sets this one apart though is that Lynn apparently still had quite lucid moments during her trips. She frequently mentions, during her heaviest uses, how unhappy she was even during the middle of her E trips.
I loved this book. I don't know you Lynn, but thank you for sharing your story. You are the message.
I am a librarian at a public library in Florida...I just spent the last 40 minutes here at work reading through Lynn's book, which I just brought from our processing unit to the reference department, so that it can be placed out for patrons. This is only the second book, in seven years, that has caught my attention like this. I am blown away by what Lynn has written.
I want to thank Lynn for her willingness to share her story with the world. I will certainly be recommending this book to everyone I can.
Harriet Protos, Librarian
Thank You Lynn! Thank You for putting your story out there for all to read. There are MANY parts that I can relate to, although I never suffered through a drug addiction. All of the fears, dark thoughts, internal struggles, hopes, realities, fantasies you described are/were mine, too. Your descriptions of the panic attacks you experienced are riveting, as I experienced them, too. After finishing the book, I was filled with a sense of power to change anything that isn't working for me, and I will. Somewhere along the line I guess forgot I could do that? Your story is not one of a drug addiction, but one of survival.
Los Angeles, CA
Although its quite the stretch to compare Ms. Smith to Sylvia Plath, her story reminds me of the semi-autobiographical novel written by Ms. Plath - both describe a young girl moving to New York City full of hopes, going through some extremely rough times, moving home and struggling even more, and eventually, finding some peace with herself.
I saw Lynn Smith on MTV's "True Life" and was intrigued by her story, but I was skeptical that she could write a whole book about what she went through while keeping it interesting. Well, she did. Her writing style is fresh and to-the-point, her characters are intriguing, and I found myself turning each page not only wanting to see what happens next, but rooting for her.
Ms. Smith not only deserves credit for bouncing back from what she went through and using it to try and stop other teens from doing the same, but for writing a great memoir that truthfully describes the pleasures she experienced while doing drugs while making sure not to glorify her experiences, and emphasizing the downsides of that lifestyle. My only qualm with her story was that there were a few loose ends that could have been tied up more neatly at the end. There were some characters who we never really learned what happened with them. I hope this means she'll write a sequel!
Lynn Marie Smith moves people. Her smile is infectious. She is a joy to work with. Fresh, hip and in tune with the world that she so passionately speaks about. Her experiences have taken her on a path that is allowing her to touch the hearts, souls and minds of those who need it most.
Sun Studios, FL
You can not believe how many thank you's I got from staff and students after Lynn left. There is a reserve list a mile long for her book right now - all copies are checked out. They all want Lynn to come back....every year! I have had kids share all sorts of personal stories with me since they read Rolling Away. Everyone had said the same thing - they couldn't put the book down. Lynn made such an impression and connected with the kids seamlessly. The whole experience was magical. I want to thank Lynn Marie Smith for sharing her experience with my students and the world.
Debbie Rothfeld, Librarian
Clearwater High School, FL
Lynn Marie Smith's presentation was moving, powerful and was well received by all the youth present. Right now I have a Juvenile Detention Center full of kids who all want to write personal letters to her. Keep doing what you're doing Lynn, you have no idea what an impact your words have on these kids.
Vincent P. Vurro
Southwest Regional Juvenile Detention Center
I'd like to extend my gratitude to Lynn for the wonderful programs in Clearwater. I know her story had a huge impact; people are still talking about it here. Lynn's personal and honest story of drug abuse and recovery captivated audiences of all ages.
Public Library, Clearwater FL
The Pace Center for Girls in Lee County was treated to an exceptional and well-informed speaker. Lynn Marie Smith brought much needed, important, and relevant information to our young girls. Her story included the fantasy, excitement and parties all loaded with drugs, booze, and artificial friendships that were waiting for her. Lynn looks like a teen herself and the girls connected to her beautifully. They were captivated by the real life drama that became part of Lynn's journey and they saw and heard, first hand, how her romanticized world of dreams fell apart in the blink of an eye. The girls were truly moved by her powerful presentation, as was the staff. Thank you Lynn for taking the time to care and share your story with our Pace girls.
PACE Center for Girls
Lynn's brave and unflinching examination of herself, her actions, and the choices that led her from a straight-A cheerleader at school to a crazed half-dead drug addict shows us the kind of determination it took for this young woman to stay clean. In the end, the hardness of her drug tale is lifted by her honesty and spunk, and love of family, friends, and life.
Loung Ung - Author
First They Killed my Father and Lucky Child