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Formats
Paperback Details
  • 12/2021
  • 978-1087994413 B09J34F4RJ
  • 346 pages
  • $19.99
Nadia Davis
Author, Service Provider
Home Is Within You
Nadia Davis, author

Adult; Memoir; (Market)

In this deeply personal memoir, Nadia Davis addresses her three sons with brutal honesty, hope, and strength, revealing both her childhood and adult traumas that led to issues with addiction and dysfunctional relationships, as well as to discuss transformational healing, spirituality, intensive trauma therapy, chronic pain management, healthy co-parenting and intimacy, preventing learned toxic masculinity, and more. As a young high-profile lawyer, school board member in Southern California, county supervisor in the Bay Area, recipient of state and national public service awards, and former wife of California's attorney general and treasurer, Nadia Davis has been a public figure in California for over two decades. Her experience with addiction in the trenches of a highly publicized abusive relationship led Davis through the challenges of public shaming, injustice, arrests, mandated treatment, and a total lack of privacy for personal issues. Home Is Within You details her courageous journey towards wholeness and health as a woman, mother, and former spouse/co-parent in a powerful homage to finding one’s truth and worth. It is also a defense of privacy and motherhood, as well as a call to action against shaming of women and ineffective, often damaging policies towards families struggling with mental health and addiction, with suggestions for more compassionate methods of treatment and restorative justice enabling those struggling to ultimately find their personal truth and strength within.

Semi Finalist

Plot/Idea: 10 out of 10
Originality: 10 out of 10
Prose: 10 out of 10
Character/Execution: 10 out of 10
Overall: 10.00 out of 10

Assessment:

Plot/Idea: Home is Within You is author and attorney Nadia Davis's love letter to her three sons about her family history and her struggles with abusive partners, alcohol and drug addiction, and mental illness. The book is a brilliantly executed memoir from start to finish.

Prose: Davis's prose is a perfect combination of direct, confident, unashamed, and sometimes snarky. She has a true eye for gorgeous descriptions and poetic interludes that always enhance the narrative in a meaningful way.

Originality: The author's plain and open honesty about enduring a chaotic life is refreshing and cathartic. Home is Within You also completes the difficult feat of being an immigrant narrative that works against the false forward mobility narrative of the American Dream by highlighting her family's difficulties and flaws.

Character Development/Execution: Davis's memoir proceeds linearly through the story of her parents, childhood, and adult life, but time in the narrative is excellently complicated by intrusions of letters to her sons and commentary about mental illness/addiction--a perfect way to illustrate how past trauma intrudes into daily life on the page.

Blurb: A hybrid memoir that combines poetry, prose, and letters to her sons, Nadia Davis's Home Is Within You is a tour de force work of striking power about learning how to live, thrive, and survive the consequences of childhood trauma, abusive relationships, alcoholism, drug addiction, and severe mental illness. 

Date Submitted: December 01, 2021

Reviews
In this singular memoir, Davis—a public figure, attorney, and mother with a history of public service—has written heartfelt letters to her children revealing what she has faced throughout her life, touching on addiction, abusive relationships, and broader ideas about hope, justice, poverty, and courage. “It is not easy to have courage to be vulnerable,” she notes in one, though she exhibits that courage throughout the collection, juxtaposing this intimate disclosure of her actual self against all that has been said about her in media coverage. The amount of interpersonal work Davis has done is evident, and this memoir is a tribute to how much effort she has put into her health—and to setting up a hopeful future for her family.

Opening with lessons drawn her father’s impoverished upbringing and closing with the touching story of telling her son, as he applies for college, that “Sometimes we don’t realize the challenges we’ve walked through until they are over,” Home Is Within You is alive with Davis’s honesty and vulnerability, threading both her pain and the hard work of recovery and healing into its pages. Her frank accounts of grief, loss, and assault are upsetting, but the memoir’s hopeful trajectory sees Davis—“that little bright-eyed brown girl who simply wanted to save the world but sometimes hid in the closet”—building a thriving career, giving back to the community, and finding the strength to face trauma head on.

Her account of her journey will help readers build understanding, empathy, and hope, though due to the intensity of some of the accounts and the length of the book the most pleasurable reading experience likely involves taking in a couple of letters at a time. Even when recounting instances when the press or people she counted upon have been unfair to her, Davis’s grace and humanity are striking. She is kind to those in her life and, after much work and learning, to herself.

Takeaway: In these tender, urgent letters to her sons, Nadia Davis reveals her life, vulnerability, and journey toward healing.

Great for fans of: Stacey Patton’s That Mean Old Yesterday, Kimberly Rae Miller’s Coming Clean.

Production grades
Cover: A-
Design and typography: A
Illustrations: N/A
Editing: B+
Marketing copy: A

Book Life Reviews

11/30 HOME IS WITHIN YOU In this singular memoir, Davis—a public figure, attorney, and mother with a history of public service—has written heartfelt letters to her children revealing what she has faced throughout her life, touching on addiction, abusive relationships, and broader ideas about hope, justice, poverty, and courage. “It is not easy to have courage to be vulnerable,” she notes in one, though she exhibits that courage throughout the collection, juxtaposing this intimate disclosure of her actual self against all that has been said about her in media coverage. The amount of interpersonal work Davis has done is evident, and this memoir is a tribute to how much effort she has put into her health—and to setting up a hopeful future for her family. 

Opening with lessons drawn her father’s impoverished upbringing and closing with the touching story of telling her son, as he applies for college, that “Sometimes we don’t realize the challenges we’ve walked through until they are over,” Home Is Within You is alive with Davis’s honesty and vulnerability, threading both her pain and the hard work of recovery and healing into its pages. Her frank accounts of grief, loss, and assault are upsetting, but the memoir’s hopeful trajectory sees Davis—“that little bright-eyed brown girl who simply wanted to save the world but sometimes hid in the closet”—building a thriving career, giving back to the community, and finding the strength to face trauma head on. 

Her account of her journey will help readers build understanding, empathy, and hope, though due to the intensity of some of the accounts and the length of the book the most pleasurable reading experience likely involves taking in a couple of letters at a time. Even when recounting instances when the press or people she counted upon have been unfair to her, Davis’s grace and humanity are striking. She is kind to those in her life and, after much work and learning, to herself.

Takeaway: In these tender, urgent letters to her sons, Nadia Davis reveals her life, vulnerability, and journey toward healing.

Great for fans of: Stacey Patton’s That Mean old Yesterday, Kimberly Rae Miller’s Coming Clean.

Production grades
Cover: A-
Design and typography: A
Illustrations: N/A
Editing: B+
Marketing copy: A

Print Date: 01/03/2022

Clarion

Centering motherhood, Home Is Within You is a delicate memoir about whole-person healing and its wider impact.

Nadia Davis’s memoir Home Is Within You is about the wide impact of personal healing.

Davis, a California lawyer, spent much of her life engaged in public works. She was active in her community, and the wife of a state official. But here, her story centers on the experiences of learning to work outside of the public eye, and to pursue personal health and growth. The book is straightforward in detailing challenges like an abusive relationship, a traumatic car accident, public scrutiny, and addiction and mental health difficulties. It also covers her family lineage. For Davis: healing had to come from within.

This methodical work is marked by intimate scenes. Involving conversations and rich details enliven it, as do Davis’s evocative summaries of large spans of time. It departs from pure personal narration to introduce poems, letters, and journal entries of varying texture and depth.

One of the key themes of the book is discovering and living out one’s personal identity. Davis’s own identities included that of a lawyer, a person in recovery, and a spiritual helper, though her strongest was that of a mother. As she came into herself, she learned to root her sense of who she was, and what her purpose was, in motherhood—a place of relationship and nurture. This came to infuse every area of her life, including self-care. Indeed, the chapter titles are addressed to her sons, ranging from abstract to practical: “Dear Son, when I visited the angels, you were there” and “Dear Son, always wear your seat belt.”

The text is also powerful in addressing how Davis’s public and private lives melded—though often, the two were in conflict. It muses toward a call for a healthier balance between the two, aspiring for a world in which, rather than shaming people for their struggles, communities can learn to help individuals find healing and health, all within supportive relationships. As a model, Davis thinks back on her family memories, which mix love and laughter with periods of “depressed self-medicating drink[ing].” Some struggles, she finds, are rooted within our family pasts; still, Davis manages to craft her personal identity distinct from these challenges, ensuring that responsibility lies with herself.

Centering motherhood, Home Is Within You is a delicate memoir about whole-person healing and its wider impact.

Reviewed by Melissa Wuske 
December 9, 2021

Disclosure: This article is not an endorsement, but a review. The publisher of this book provided free copies of the book and paid a small fee to have their book reviewed by a professional reviewer. Foreword Reviews and Clarion Reviews make no guarantee that the publisher will receive a positive review. Foreword Magazine, Inc. is disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255.

Kirkus

“A memoir of healing from trauma and addiction from a well-known West Coast political figure....With admirable candor, she shares a story of resilience, delving into childhood and adult traumas, including a nearly fatal car accident and difficulties involving a stalker, and tells how she worked to overcome intense feelings of “shame, fear, and resentment.” Davis is an open and unwavering narrator who presents readers with explicit descriptions of sexual assault, eating disorders, suicidal ideation, and substance abuse. The work touches on issues of privacy, motherhood, injustice, and mental health, including important criticisms of how addiction is criminalized and misunderstood.... A remembrance with a powerful message about strength and recovery...”

Formats
Paperback Details
  • 12/2021
  • 978-1087994413 B09J34F4RJ
  • 346 pages
  • $19.99

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