Month: February 2012

Review of Mr Nice (The Book)

This is slightly out of my comfort zone writing wise, as it’s a book not a film, which I’m used to, but may aswell expand my horizons right?

This is my review of the 1998 autobiography detailing Howard Marks life.

Mr Nice is just as compelling to read as any piece of fictional piece of writing. Howard Marks, AKA Mr Nice, stuns the reader with his sophisticated use of language and has the reader in awe turning each page as he takes us into his rather intimate and fast paced life.

Marks was a notorious cannabis drug smuggler during the 1970s through until the mid-1980s and entitled his book Mr Nice, after one of his aliases that he used during the height of his operations. This compliments him, because that is precisely what Howard Marks is, a down to earth, sophisticated, charming man, who invites us all into his life, as though we were friends that haven’t seen each other in years.

Through his emotive language use and use of terrific narration, Marks’ keeps the reader hanging on his every word. He takes us through his life, from a young boy, to his Oxford University days, to his time as an international drug smuggler branching out as far as Thailand. At the height of his operations he smuggled around 10% of the worlds hashish. His most noticeable trait is his extremely gentle and humble being; even the biggest anti-drugs campaigner would love his charismatic character. Not only does his invite the reader into his wonderful and hectic lifestyle, he also gives us an insight into this character that is underneath Mr Nice.

Howard Marks does not spare the details either, explaining the first time he had shared an intimate experience with a prostitute under the name of Lulu, to rush of him surviving his first drug deal and what it felt like to see his daughters after being locked away in Terre Haute penitentiary.

It is not spared from us the smarts of this extraordinary young mind from when he was young; he could conjure up an unknown ‘fever’ to which he could skip classes to his avail. His smart and witty character is noticed in the nature of his scams that fooled authorities for over 20 years.

Alongside this smart and avid drug smuggler, a picture of this honest and integral being is discovered. Not only is Howard Marks a gentle and sophisticated man, the nature of his beliefs can be seen through his writing. Generally for all smokers of cannabis would say it should be legalised, but Marks reels off information, broadcasting his smarts again, as to why it should be legalised. His beliefs carried on after the book was published in 1998, as he campaigned for the legalisation for a short while, which led to the LCA (Legalise Cannabis Alliance) being formed.

This family man image also arises from Marks telling of his wonderful tale, he explains how he hates the government, not for putting him in jail, but for putting his family through a terrible ordeal just to incarcerate him. But also this passionate man towards his wife and how he feels the pain that his wife is feeling whilst they were serving time together.

Howard Mark’s Mr Nice is a definite must read. Its extensive use of vocabulary to describe his life makes it impossible to put down. Over the 500 pages we begin to love this character, with a spectrum of emotions that are aptly described and noticed by Marks. All in all, we all secretly wish he was a friend from down the pub to tell stories.

I would strongly recommend this to anyone, it’s a brilliant book for anyone to enjoy, and it has the essence of a book you cannot put down.

Rating: 4.5/5