When approaching the reading of this classic of European society, one is never old enough, nor prepared, nor ready to accept so much degradation, squalor, suffering and discomfort described in this book that recounts the real story of the teenager Christiane, a German girl who grew up in Berlin in the late 1970’s, living a life that is unfortunately similar to that of many people of her age.
“Zoo Station: The Story of Christiane F. “ was first published in Germany in 1978 (original title “Wir Kinder vom Bahnhof Zoo”), written by the young Christiane Vera Felscherinow, also known by the pseudonym Christiane F., with journalists Kai Hermann and Horst Rieck.
The story is more than just a biography concerning a portion of Christiane’s life… it’s a journey into the society of that time. A journey between broken dreams, between oppressive realities, between real friends who because of drugs end up becoming similar to strangers and even rivals.
A journey into loneliness.
A journey into abandonment by society.
Her descent into heroin and prostitution, her growing dependency on the lethal drug and the desperate measures she fell to in order to obtain it, as she and other teenagers from West Berlin experienced it, in a decade that saw drugs becoming readily more accessible to young people in the city, with heroin a massive problem.
The misery of the addict’s life and the parallel societies that existed in the shadow of the Berlin Wall are depicted with an intensity that was unprecedented at the time.
With over three million copies sold, it remains to this day one of the most successful German non-fiction books of the post-war period.
In the gravity of the scenes described and the real stories brought to light, only reading without judgment allows one to immerse oneself in such a gory reality. As readers, we can only treasure this raw testimony, acknowledging the continuous dichotomy between the desire for redemption and resignation, the desire to live “big” and the desire to die, in order to arrive soon at the fateful “final hole” that would end all suffering and misery.
Immerse yourself in reading this touching story and enjoy watching the booktrailer realized by Alessia Simonetti, JUMP team.