[Doctor Baker] jerks his hands forward and up and there's an
audible crack. Cold white light shoots through my eyes and through my spine and
into my feet and back again. My eyes are close but I'm crying. (1.2.149)
Doctor Baker has to
break James's nose in order to set it, which proves that sometimes you have to
break something in order to get better. (At least, we think that's what it
proves. Isn't that what "rock bottom" is all about?)
I can feel blood dripping from the wounds on my face and I
can feel my heart beating and I can feel the weight of my life beginning to
drop and I realize why dawn is called mourning. (1.4.4)
James needs to learn
the definition of homophone, but what is
he mourning here? His hard-partying lifestyle that he's had to leave behind?
The fact that he's such a mess?
I hate myself.
Well, that's sad. It's
probably one of the main reasons James does drugs—or maybe he hates himself <em>for </em>doing drugs? It's
hard to tell. Our guess: it's a big vicious circle of self-loathing, drugs,
more self-loathing, and more drugs.
I listen to Larry cry and pound on his pillow and curse God
and beg for forgiveness. (1.5.251)
On James's first
night in his room, he has to try to sleep while his roommate cries all night
long. James isn't the only person suffering in rehab. Everyone is, in his or
her own way.
The sander bounces slightly and white electric pain hits my
mouth and the sander comes back and holds and pain spreads through my body from
the top down and every muscle in my body flexes and I squeeze the [tennis]
balls and my eyes start to tear and the hair on the back of my neck stands
straight my tooth f***ing hurts like the point of a bayonet is being driven
straight through it. The point of a f***ing bayonet. (1.7.266)
This is two
sentences, if you weren't counting. James writes about pain and suffering in
much the same way he writes about anger: in a frenetic stream of consciousness,
which pretty much is the way you think when you're actually going through pain.
It hurts and I deserve it. (2.1.47)
James is talking
about a too-hot shower here, but this self-destructive attitude could be
applied to almost any of James's harmful actions.
I see the damage and pain of hard years. I see the emptiness
and desperation of existence without hope. I see a young life that has been too
James can tell that
Lilly is suffering because she's had a hard life, partly as a result of the
actions of her abusive mother. If one of the other men had told James this story,
he'd probably have laughed, but hearing it from Lilly makes him care for her
Shame is a terrible thing. Necessary, but terrible.
Miles is suffering
from shame because of what he's done to his family. Unlike James, who seems to
revel in his suffering, Miles doesn't like it… but he's still trying to use it
as motivation to get better.
He started using her. His friends started using her. Her
heart was broken it had never healed it just broke again. She was smoking crack
and using pills. He and his friends used her. (3.2.564)
Lilly has arguably
suffered the most out of any character in the book: sold by her parents, abused
by her boyfriend, addicted to the worst kinds of drugs imaginable… it just goes
on and on. James feels like he can protect her, maybe because she's one of the
few people more damaged than he is.
He just screamed and screamed and all that time we didn't
know that he was screaming because he hurt. (3.3.451)
James's mother is
talking about her son's chronic ear infections, but this line could also double
for the way James is crying for help as he's suffering through addiction.