My Life as an Idoit


Hilarious and oddly inspiring, Trainwreck is proof that a life disastrously lived can still turn out beyond anybody's wildest imaginings.

Growing up a privileged Manhattan kid, Jeff Nichols should have had it all. Instead, he got a plethora of impairments: learning disabilities, a speech impediment, dyslexia, ADD, and a mild case of Tourette's syndrome. In Trainwreck, his weird and witty memoir of utter dysfunction, Nichols gives an irreverent look at how one "idoit" made good.
  • Touchstone | 
  • 288 pages | 
  • ISBN 9781439112861 | 
  • July 2009
List Price $12.99 (price may vary by retailer)


Reading Group Guide

Trainwreck: My Life as an Idoit
Jeff Nichols

Questions and Topics For Discussion

  1. “I have overcome very little to accomplish nothing” (page 1). Do you agree or disagree with the author’s description of himself? What do you think is the author’s greatest accomplishment? What is his greatest flaw?
  2. What were the four reasons that led Jeff to Alcoholics Anonymous? Which drug does he consider the most dangerous and why?
  3. Despite all the author’s flaws, is he a likeable character? Can you relate to any of his experiences? What are his good qualities?
  4. Why do New Balance sneakers paralyze Jeff? What other phobias does he have?
  5. “I suppose fishing satisfies some hunter-gatherer instinct in me” (page 103). Discuss the author’s relationship with fishing and how it has affected his life.
  6. Why do you think the author wrote this book? Do you think he is trying to shine a light on learning disabilities and addictions?
  7. Jeff visits several mental health professionals. Do any of them help him? What do you think is at the root of the author’s problems?
  8. What is the lesson in the yellow shirt story? Which of his stories do you find the most shocking? 
  9. What is Jeff’s view of Ritalin? What is your opinion about the prescription of this drug?
  10. In the aftermath of the house fire, Jeff notes that he became &#
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About the Author

Jeff Nichols
Photo Credit: Jeff Nichols

Jeff Nichols

Jeff Nichols is a stand-up comic and charter fisherman. His writing has appeared in the New York Post and Penthouse. He lives in New York City.