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Matt Samet's "DEATH GRIP" reviewed....
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By Zappatista
Mar 26, 2013
Book me, officer.

Bruce Lee famously delivered a "one inch punch" with enough power to blast volunteers back from his closed fist, swept off their feet by the force of Bruce's impossible power and refined technique. A similar experience awaits the unsuspecting reader of Matt Samet's "DEATH GRIP", a confesional tale unlike any other climbing-oriented writing that I can think of.

For comparison, I point to Mark Twight's Kiss or Kill, in which layers of socialization, tolerance, self-esteem, and interest in living long enough to grow old are peeled back to expose the frayed edges of a soul sharpened through the process of pushing past all limits. Twight's writing defined the event horizon of intensity in climbing writing for many years until now; while Samet's tale is much less focused on the details of particular climbs, the grinding brutality of the years that Samet lived in the grips of benzodiazepam addiction and detox makes Twight seem like a sunny morning paging through pictures of cute cats.

Death Grip is unique in its virtuosic choice of words, which sent me scrambling for an unabridged dictionary more than once, its subject matter, which has not been even hinted at within the sphere of climbing literature, and for its unflinching honesty. Matt Samet has bared his soul in an approachable and at times terrifying manner-you sense at numerous points in the narrative that yourself and your friends and family could easily have been swept into the riptide of Big Pharma toxicity and head control that very nearly destroyed the author.

Without doubt, this book is a monumental acheivement personally for the author, as well as an important read for anyone who's life has been shadowed by depression and the myriad traps set by our mental health "system" has set for the unsuspecting patient for whom a brief slip from the well-lit path of normalcy can become a nighmare slide into a lurching ocean of terror and isolation.

Read this one, share it with a friend. Death Grip deserves reckoning as one of the most significant non-climbing narratives by a climber, and has potential to spread awareness about issues that are very likely to become more common as benzodiazepam prescription rates continue to climb.

Hold on to your nipples
Hold on to your nipples


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By skinny legs and all
From Elizabethtown, Pennsylvania
Mar 26, 2013
Right Pile, Big Cottonwood Canyon, summer 2008.

Thanks for posting this! Matt has always been one of my favorite authors. His and my early climbing days share many similarities as far as coping skills and goals are corncerned. I remember an article in Climbing where he described having a panic attack while soloing on a Flatiron climb he had done many times. I suffer from terrible panic attacks as well. I had not heard of this book and will relish reading it.


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By David Rivers
Mar 30, 2013
East Beach bouldering

Bump. Matt is an excellent writer, and the book is a page turner.


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By Zappatista
Apr 1, 2013
Book me, officer.

Bump for the hell of it, ooh ooh ooh for the smell of it. Don't go chasin' waterfalls!


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By JoshuaJones
From Albuquerque
Apr 15, 2013
Rapping from the top.

Excellent book. I currently have panic attacks and anxiety and am thankful that Matt put his experiences in writing so that others going through similar situations can see that there is a light at the end of the tunnel. Excellent book!


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By NYClimber
From New York
Apr 15, 2013
Awesome slab climb right out of the water! Rogers Rock, Lake George, NY. Summer 2013.

I just ordered a brand new copy from Amazon at a discounted price by one of their sellers.

As a RN I am interested in his story. I read the review in a recent climbing magazine some months ago and it sounded really good.

I will post a review after I read it and share my thoughts on it as well.


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