Reviews for Zoo Station : The Story of Christiane F.


Booklist Reviews 2013 February #1
Drug memoirs have long been a reliable mix of cautionary content, salacious detail, and voyeuristic thrill, and this new translation of the long-out-of-print Christiane F., first published in 1978 and something of a cult classic, delivers on every front. It follows Christiane, whose childhood in a Berlin ghetto was marked by a totally apeshit father, lack of adult supervision, and an early involvement in drugs. As a preteen Christiane was already taking a prolonged cruise through the entire pharmaceutical industry with stops at pot, quaaludes, acid, and more. At age 13, she took her first snort of heroin. From there, it was a fast slide into larceny, turning tricks, and watching her friends wither away and die. Christiane was in and out of rehab, and it was never long before she returned to the same routine: whoring, shooting up, whoring, shooting up. Though the prose is dry, the details are undeniably powerful--for example, an apartment's stench of blood from all of the discharged needles. Repetitive and numbing, for sure, but that's part of the point. Copyright 2012 Booklist Reviews.

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ForeWord Magazine Reviews 2013 - Spring Issue: March 1, 2013

"I wanted to be the kind of person who had a cool nickname," says Christiane, for whom, like most teenagers, fitting in was paramount. Little did she know at twelve years old that her admiration for the cool kids would lead to a swift descent into addiction and prostitution by age fourteen.



Originally published in Germany in 1979, Christiane's story gained widespread popularity throughout Europe and was made into a movie a few years later. This new translation marks the thirty-fourth anniversary of the original book, and it remains as relevant today as it was then. The need to feel accepted and part of a group, dysfunctional family dynamics, and societal pressures are still issues faced by teenagers, and drugs are perhaps even easier to come by.



Christiane moved to Berlin from a small village when she was six and discovered that the kids were different there, colder and meaner. She missed the sense of camaraderie she had shared with her old friends. Her abusive father made her home a tense and unsafe environment so she searched for acceptance elsewhere. She began smoking cigarettes so she could hang out with the cool kids at school. Then she joined them at a local teen dance club located in the Protestant Center at the housing project where she lived, where adults tried to educate the hundreds of kids who would show up about the dangers of drug use. Meanwhile, the kids were drinking, smoking pot, dropping acid, and popping pills right under their noses. Christiane soon moved on to a new night club called The Sound, where she fell in with another crowd, fell in love, and escalated her drug habit. Within a few months, she was hooked on heroin, and it was only a matter of time before she was prostituting herself at Berlin's infamous subway stop, Zoo Station, to afford to her next fix.



Christiane's voice is strong and clear throughout this book, and her story reads like a novel. Her journey into the life of a full-blown junkie is the same one thousands of kids follow to this day. This book offers an honest and thoughtful insight into the self-delusion that perpetuates the cycle of addiction, withdraw[Thu Apr 17 06:14:04 2014] enhancedContent.pl: Wide character in print at E:\websites\aquabrowser\IMCPL\app\site\enhancedContent.pl line 249. al, and relapse that she experiences over and over, while her family watches helplessly. Excerpts from her mother, law enforcement, and other adults in contact with Christiane round out the story.



This book is recommended for both teens and their parents. Teenagers will get a first-hand view of how quickly drugs can devastate their lives, while parents will gain insight into what to watch for in their own children who may be experimenting. Though her story is shocking, it is one that plays out over and over again for kids who turn to drugs.


© 2013 ForeWord Reviews. All Rights Reserved.

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Kirkus Reviews 2012 December #1
An eloquent memoir of teen drug abuse from 1970s Berlin retains a contemporary feel in a new translation. Christiane F.'s story begins in childhood. Readers feel, from her 6-year-old perspective, the sense of frustration and restlessness that permeates the housing projects of Gropiusstadt and her father's violent punishments for mild infractions. At 12, she first tries alcohol, hashish and LSD, and the experiences are described with evocative imagery. That Christiane will ultimately become addicted to heroin is apparent from the first page, and a sense of tragic inevitability pervades each early anecdote. Christiane paints a grim portrait of the drugs-and–sex-work scene around Berlin's Zoo Station, but readers will also see the sense of fraught community that develops among Christiane and her friends. The strong pull of heroin is never clearer than when, after four days of brutal withdrawal, Christiane talks herself into having "one last and final fix." Short chapters written by Christiane's mother and a social worker, a photo spread, a foreword and editorial footnotes help contextualize Christiane's life in West Berlin. Readers might, however, wish for more information about how the memoir came to be published, and a note about HIV infection (not a possibility in Christiane's time, but certainly a risk now) would also be helpful. Disturbing but compelling. (Memoir. 14 & up) Copyright Kirkus 2012 Kirkus/BPI Communications.All rights reserved.

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Publishers Weekly Reviews 2012 December #1

A powerful memoir first published 35 years ago in Germany (a U.S. edition and film adaptation soon followed) shows no sign of tarnish in Cartwright's mesmerizing and urgent new translation. The story of Christiane F., a heroin-addicted teenager living in 1970s Berlin, begins with her family's move from the country to a fractured and confusing existence in the Berlin projects. Christiane's bleak circumstances (her father is physically abusive, her mother permissive and absent, her teachers cold and uncaring) lead the 12-year-old to experiment with drugs. She begins with pot and alcohol--rapidly moving on to pills, acid, and finally heroin--finding excitement and intense companionship with a group of David Bowie-worshipping teenagers who populate the city's underground club scene. Eventually, Christiane resorts to working alongside her boyfriend as a prostitute at the Bahnhof Zoo train station to support her addiction.

[Page ]. Copyright 2012 PWxyz LLC

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Publishers Weekly Reviews 2012 December #3

A powerful memoir first published 35 years ago in Germany (a U.S. edition and film adaptation soon followed) shows no sign of tarnish in Cartwright's mesmerizing and urgent new translation. The story of Christiane F., a heroin-addicted teenager living in 1970s Berlin, begins with her family's move from the country to a fractured and confusing existence in the Berlin projects. Christiane's bleak circumstances (her father is physically abusive, her mother permissive and absent, her teachers cold and uncaring) lead the 12-year-old to experiment with drugs. She begins with pot and alcohol--rapidly moving on to pills, acid, and finally heroin--finding excitement and intense companionship with a group of David Bowie-worshipping teenagers who populate the city's underground club scene. Eventually, Christiane resorts to working alongside her boyfriend as a prostitute at the Bahnhof Zoo train station to support her addiction. Chapters written from the perspective of Christiane's mother and other adult figures can sometimes disrupt the hypnotic effect of Christiane's narrative, but they also offer broader insight into a vulnerable population under the influence of a devastating new drug. Christiane's uninhibited voice crackles with cynicism over the hypocrisy and arbitrary rules she observes around her ("I hated it when people talked like they also wanted to save me. I got real marriage proposals. And all the while they knew full well that they were only taking advantage of our misery, the misery of the addicts, to satisfy their own desires"), as she documents the choices that bring her further into destitution and despair. Even in moments of utter depravity, Christiane remains sympathetic and wise, with a deeply embedded sense of morality. Although Christiane's message to readers is, without a doubt, "Do not follow me," she synthesizes moments of beauty and joy alongside those of horror, resulting in a deeply observant look at the search for love and meaning amid chaos. Ages 14-up. (Jan.)

[Page ]. Copyright 2012 PWxyz LLC

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VOYA Reviews 2013 April
In 1978, German junkie/prostitute Christiane F. (Felscherinow), sixteen, was on trial. During her proceedings, two journalists found her story compelling enough to interview her extensively and publish her memoir, Christiane F., which became an instant European hit, a classic to this day. It gained popularity in the U.S. in the 1980s with an English translation and the release of an Uli Edel movie by the same name. Thirty-five years later, Christiane's brutal story is being published under a new title with a fresh translation by Christina Cartwright. Christiane's early childhood in the German countryside ended when her parents divorced. Christiane's mother moved her two daughters to Gropiusstadt, a notorious Berlin project. By twelve, Christiane was smoking dope, drinking, and dropping acid. By fourteen, she was shooting heroin and hustling at Bahnhof Zoo (Zoo Station), the spot for dealers, users/prostitutes, and johns. She romanticizes her relationship with her boyfriend, Detlef, who turns tricks with men to keep them both in heroin. Their friends live (and often die) for the next fix. Christiane shares needles, cleans them in filthy public toilet bowls, and when the needles get clogged, she rams the syringe into her veins to get the fix. She is an animal lover who shot heroin into the mouth of her sick cat. Christiane's mother comes late to helping her daughter. Her efforts leave readers shaking their head. During one OD, she keeps Christiane at home, helping her through cold turkey by providing her with a steady supply of pudding, Valium, and wine And on it goes. If you want an in-your-face account of the life of a teen junkie, this is your book. Will it be a deterrent to teens looking for the next high? Doubtful, although the photographs of Christiane's wasted friends may give them pause.--Beth E. Andersen Further Resources. 3Q 3P J S Copyright 2011 Voya Reviews.

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