Keys Open Doors

Revelations from a Drug Dealer’s Past

Non-Fiction - Memoir
232 Pages
Reviewed on 11/01/2023
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    Book Review

Reviewed by Keith Mbuya for Readers' Favorite

The mere mention of the words “drug dealer” often leaves most people with an image of a scary villain. Despite this general and extreme way of perceiving them, it is interesting that people still want to know a thing or two about the personal lives of drug dealers and their businesses. Curtis L. Harrod, a former drug dealer, recounts the story of his life from a poor kid in Landover, Maryland, to becoming a notorious drug dealer within the DMV, in Anthony S. Waldren and Curtis L. Harrod’s Keys Open Doors: Revelations From a Drug Dealer’s Past. Grab a copy and join Curtis on his eventful, unique, troubling, yet life-changing journey riddled with moments of epiphany, great trepidation, temptations, growth, and discovery, among much more.

Anthony S. Waldren and Curtis L. Harrod’s Keys Open Doors: Revelations of a Drug Dealer’s Past is a must-read for lovers of true crime. The evocative anecdotes opened a gateway for me into the world of people living in poor neighborhoods, giving me a front-row seat to the arena of chaos and violence that accompanies the drug trafficking business. The scenes are richly nuanced, capturing the nostalgic mood of the era. The reading experience felt like I was watching an intriguing crime documentary. Through Curtis’ struggle with navigating the myriad of emotions he experienced running his business, I was reminded that drug dealers too are humans. They make choices which, like the title of this book, are keys that open doors, except their choices open doors where darkness lurks, and life and death hang in the balance.

Stephanie Chapman

Anthony S. Waldren and Curtis L. Harrod’s Keys Open Doors is a memoir chronicling Curtis’ journey from a drug dealer to the father of three daughters. He begins his story from his memories in the Cheltenham Youth Detention Center, where he was awaiting trial for selling crack cocaine. Instead of reforming, he adapted to the life of a convict. After his release, he reflects on being monitored by a parole officer and trying to stay out of trouble. However, after losing his grandfather, he succumbs to the path of being a crack cocaine dealer. Curtis thinks he is on top of the world when he meets Dee until he discovers she is sleeping with other dealers for drugs. Despite ending the relationship, Dee’s rumors eventually compromise his reputation. At the end of every chapter, he lists key points, reflecting on what he learned from each experience.

Anthony S. Waldren and Curtis L. Harrod relate the harrowing experiences of life as a drug dealer. Easy money and flashy possessions add to the allure. The key points reinforce that a price must be paid for everything. I felt stunned by how much money he made from his deals while remaining in government housing for people in poverty. Quotes made by Anthony, Charles Dickens, and several other notable people provided clear transitions from one story to the next in each chapter. I could envision every event, as the writing style was like sharing stories between friends. The ripple effect of every choice we make affects others, and I recognized the fragility of life. Curtis’s faith in God and love for his family impacted him in multiple ways. I think Keys Open Doors would be an excellent tool for counseling young people about the dangers of following the lifestyle of being a drug dealer.