The Basketball Diaries: The Classic About Growing Up Hip on New York’s Mean Streets

By Jim Carroll

The urban classic coming-of-age story about sex, drugs, and basketball

Jim Carroll grew up to become a renowned poet and punk rocker. But in this memoir of the mid-1960s, set during his coming-of-age from 12 to 15, he was a rebellious teenager making a place and a name for himself on the unforgiving streets of New York City. During these years, he chronicled his experiences, and the result is a diary of unparalleled candor that conveys his alternately hilarious and terrifying teenage existence. Here is Carroll prowling New York City–playing basketball, hustling, stealing, getting high, getting hooked, and searching for something pure. The Basketball Diaries was the basis for the film of the same name starring Leonardo DiCaprio.

“I met him in 1970, and already he was pretty much universally recognized as the best poet of his generation. . . .┬áThe work was sophisticated and elegant. He had beauty.” — Patti Smith

224 pages

Location: New York City
# Cultural

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