Christiane Felscherinow was born on 20 May 1962. She grew up in a destroyed and absent family: her mother abandoned her to go to work while her father, following a failed business project, slowly and painfully plunged into alcoholism and violence towards her and her sister. When she was six, she moved to Gropiusstadt, a grey suburb of West Berlin. His parents' divorce happened when he was eleven. To escape the toxic family climate, Christiane begins to attend "The House", a center for teenagers where she experiments with hard drugs for the first time, driven by her desire to integrate. She is not yet thirteen but has already experimented with a long list of hard drugs: hashish, Valium, Mandrax, Captagon, LSD, Ephedrine...
She took heroin for the first time when she was thirteen, initiated by the man who would later become her first love. David Bowie's "Heroes" resounds in the concert hall where she takes her first hit. This is how her new life begins. She goes to school during the day, then becomes a prostitute at the Berlin Zoologischer Garten, known as "the Zoo". The book tells how she hid her experiences from her mother: the back seat passes, how she got her heroin, the symptoms of withdrawal, sometimes death. She finally confesses to her mother, who sends her to her maternal grandmother's house to be weaned.
The book was initially rejected by eight German publishers before being published by a then confidential publishing house. It was a bombshell. For the first time, Germany is becoming aware of the major public health problem that is developing before its eyes: its youth is becoming intoxicated. For the first time, the face of the drug addict is no longer that of the glassy-eyed vagrant, but that of a young girl like any other, with a mischievous look and a sharp mind. Christiane fascinates: she is the icon of a generation fascinated by the counter-culture for some, or Germany's most famous martyr.
The book was adapted the following year in Germany, with the exceptional participation of David Bowie. It was a box-office success. Germany adopts an extremely repressive drug policy. Zero tolerance is introduced. Nevertheless, the young figures at the Berlin railway station continued to exist until the 90's.