Candy and Addiction

I read “Candy: A Novel of Love and Addiction” (1998) by Luke Davies which is a powerful novel. It is about an unnamed narrator who falls in love with a girl named Candy and soon enough the pair become inseparable. As they fall deeper into love, Candy gravitates to the narrator’s bohemian lifestyle…and his love of heroin. Their innocent initial meeting, their seemingly poetic love like a gentle wave suddenly crashes down into a devastating tidal wave as their relationship alternates between oblivion, self-destruction and despair. The novel details their years of their heroin lifestyle, which includes scams, theft, prostitution and drug dealing until they finally hit rock bottom, stop using heroin and go their separate ways. The book is deeply moving and tells a great story of love and pain.

I also watched the film adaptation “Candy” (2006) which was directed by debut filmmaker Neil Armfield and stars Heath Ledger (unnamed narrator/Dan a poet), Abbie Cornish (Candy an art student) and Geoffrey Rush (their drug dealer).  Some details are changed in the film but I feel adds to the plot.

The film is organized into three acts titled Heaven, Earth and Hell. This reminded me of the sort of sequence “We Found Love” follows, the sort of sequence a lot of lovers must go through. Heaven, “When I first met Candy, those were like the days of “juice” when everything was bountiful”-Dan. This actdepicts the lover’s blissful stage; madly in love whilst sex and drugs are experienced ecstatically. They borrow money off Candy’s parents, sell things and steal all the while still madly and hopelessly in love.

Earth, shows Candy and Dan married and facing the realities of their addiction. By this time the couple begin arguing and their love becomes tainted. Candy has become a prostitute, Dan fetches the drugs, steals a credit card and the owners banks contents. Candy then becomes pregnant. The duo, try desperately to become clean, all for their unborn child’s sake. Unfortunately, despite their best efforts having next to no food and still taking some pills now and then, the baby is delivered still born. After this life changing experience, the pair try to stop taking drugs once more and go through agonizing withdrawal symptoms. There are clips of Dan screaming, Candy punching herself, one shivering, one dripping with sweat…a very intense experience and yet they still love each other.

Hell shows the couples’ final moments of their hopeless relationship and recovery. In a desperate attempt to start a normal life, Dan and Candy move to the country. But soon Candy falls into her old lifestyle and starts sleeping with their neighbour, also a drug addict and they share drugs. Candy has a mental breakdown becoming extremely distant and volatile towards Dan. She recovers in a clinic whilst Dan gets clean on his own and holds down a job as a dishwasher. One day Candy returns to Dan, despite still being in love with her, he realizes that their relationship was based around heroine and so ends it.

I love the film and the book. Obviously my relationship isn’t as extreme as the narrator and Candy’s relationship is, but I still feel I can capture similar emotions and moments with my boyfriend.

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