Review: Party Time by Shaun Attwood

Party Time by Shaun Attwood
Party Time by Shaun Attwood

What can I say apart from he has done it again.

After reading “Lessons from a Drug Lord” I was really looking forward to reading more from the English Shaun series, and I must say, it didn’t disappoint. As I am yet to read “Hard Time” or “Prison Time” I am unsure what happened when he was inside, but one thing I am sure of is that he crafted his writing skills to a fine art. This book flowed and captivated me from the first page to the last. With an effortless writing style that made it hard, if not impossible, to put down. Finishing this 288 page book took me less than 2 days, which for me is sort of amazing.

The mood is set with a brilliant first chapter that is so evocative it almost makes me wish I was born in the heady days of the rave scene. His fears and anxieties melting away with the chemical taste of Ecstasy and the beginning of what will lead to a dazzling story of sex, drugs and dance music.

We then step into a time machine to learn about Shaun’s past in his small home town. Stories of days spent with Wild Man in the ‘Thinking Tree’ lead you to realise that, in Shaun, there has always been this thirst for success and adventure that would eventually lead to his downfall.

After moving to be with his aunt in Phoenix, Shaun leads us into his life as a trader and his discovery of the blossoming rave scene in Arizona. Here we discover the “wolves” who will inevitably call him to the slaughter. Fed by the lifestyle and fame that came with his ‘enterprise’ Shaun builds an empire on the backs of his friends and students who are infatuated by the “English Shaun” persona. In the end, as is expected, it all comes crashing down.

There are many moments where you really feel the sincerity and kindness of Shaun, especially when talking about his close circle of friends or girlfriends. Wild Man, although clearly crazy and very dangerous (don’t come after me please!) is a loveable rouge.

I am left feeling frustrated that he didn’t meet Claudia earlier in his life so that maybe he wouldn’t have gone so far down this path. She comes across as being his guardian angel, who he describes in such fond and cute terms. There is real affection there and it is a shame that life took them in opposite direction.

Overall one of the best books I have read in the true crime genre and I sincerely recommend it.

5 out of 5 stars!!

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Review: Lessons From A Drug Lord

Lessons From A Drug Lord
Lessons From A Drug Lord

First off the bat I must congratulate Mr Attwood on creating a quick, effortless read that was easy to digest and very enjoyable.

For those of us who are yet to come across Shaun’s work let me tell you, well paraphrase from his goodreads bio page, a little about him and his interesting background. Raised in a small chemical-manufacturing town in northern England, Shaun was the first from his family to go to university. As a penniless graduate, he took his business degree to Phoenix, and worked his way up to become a stock-market millionaire. But he also led a double life. An early fan of the Manchester rave scene, Shaun headed an organisation that threw raves and distributed Ecstasy. On May 16th 2002, a SWAT team knocked his door down. He sentenced to 9½ years, and served almost 6. Shaun was released in December 2007, and continues to campaign against Sheriff Joe Arpaio. He keeps Jon’s Jail Journal going by posting stories mailed to him by his prison friends. Shaun presently lives near London, and talks to student audiences across the UK and Europe about his jail experience and the consequences he faced from getting involved in drugs and crime.

I must admit I wasn’t expecting much when I first received this book in the post, after all this comes after a trilogy of his life and time in prison, that I am yet to read. But as I had won this copy in a competition run by Shaun on his twitter page I thought I should at least give it a go, and I must admit I am glad I did.

Shaun’s writing style is casual yet entertaining, he keeps you turning those pages without being sensationalist about the emotive subject covered.

I especially like the story of the relationship he formed with a charismatic mob hit man, known as ‘Two Tony’s’. Showing that although people in prison may have committed horrendous crimes they are still people and need to be helped not locked away. I found that man to be really deep and his story touching.

As a Tool fan the section where Shaun talks to his Yoga instructor who metaphorically describes the subconscious as a spiral to be explored and expanded really sat well with me.

Alternatively the only downside to the book I could find was that the advice given by the yoga teacher sounded like pop psychology mixed with spiritualism, but seemed to be passed on like it was sound psychological advice.

Overall a great book and Shaun should be really proud of both the book and how he has changed his life. I will now have to get the first three books so I can learn more about his story. That is unless he wants to send me a copy and I will review them on here for him.

Overall I will give it 5 out of 5

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