The narrative doesn’t shy away from exploring Brian’s father’s history of alcoholism as well as Pooler’s codependency with her son: “I needed to let go of my need to fix what he could and should do for himself,” she writes. “I continued to enable him, which robbed him of his ability to experience self-empowerment.” The book is primarily narrated by Pooler, but the inclusion of other relatives’ perspectives (filtered through Pooler’s recollections and voice) reminds the reader that addiction affects an entire family. The experiences, behaviors, and feelings of Pooler, Brian, and their loved ones are always at the forefront.
The short chapters and interludes mark the passage of time, introduce new characters, and delve deeper into connections and contrasts in Pooler and Brian’s intertwining stories. These elements are not always in chronological order, which can be disorienting but allows the reader to experience Pooler’s emotional roller coaster. Pooler refers often to her Catholic faith but doesn’t evangelize. An appendix includes concise lessons Pooler has learned, as well as resources for parents. Through telling her own story, Pooler provides a touchstone and plenty of hope for those facing similar challenges.
Takeaway: Anyone who’s seen a loved one wrestle with addiction will appreciate this gripping account of despair, hope, and redemption.
Great for fans of Great for fans of Robin Barnett and Darren Kavinoky’s Addict in the House, Lisa Hillman’s Secret No More.
Design and typography: A
Marketing copy: A