Addiction memoirs set in New York City are not uncommon and they are certainly not a new phenomenon. The city that created the term “Bowery bum” isn't lean on addicts, addiction, or drugs, although you are much less likely to get offered heroin walking across 42 street now than you were 20 years ago.But among New York City addiction memoirs, Felicia Sullivan's The Sky Isn't Visible From Here is a real stand-out for a few reasons. First, Sullivan doesn't shy away from vivid descriptions not just what she did and what was done to her (the salient points in most addiction memoir, as far as I can tell) but also what she feeling at the time. This makes for a more dramatic, in some ways, addiction memoir. Sullivan wasn't sleepwalking through any of this, and so the reader doesn't get to either.
Second, while many addiction memoirs play the either slash or game with their own behavior and their behavior of their family of origin, Sullivan doesn't do this. Instead she weaves the story of her own mother's addictions (to cocaine, to the men in her life who continually abuse her and her daughter) with her own journey through an Ivy League college to a prestigious MBA program to creating a whole alternative identity for herself.
Finally, Sullivan doesn't just deliver high drama situations. She talks about taking to her mother to the emergency room after she's overdosed on cocaine, but she also talks about equally heartbreaking aspects of her childhood that are more relatable: breakups with best friends, moving, and the never ending quest to find somewhere she fits in.