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Patricia Street
The Last Stop

Adult; Memoir; (Market)

Part 1 of The Last Stop is a memoir about losing my son, David, to heroin addiction. Through David’s letters, intimate scenes of an addict's lifestyle are revealed in real, raw, and vivid detail. Our story is a window into the tragedy and impacts the opioid crisis is having on families across America. All facets of addiction are discussed, including how addiction turned David into a stranger who lied, manipulated, and denied his drug use for years, failed drug treatments, recovery, and relapse. My mistakes and experiences include denial, enabling, learning to love with detachment, and the two-fold dilemma of grieving when addiction takes a child and then death. David passed away at the age of 39 following a debilitating infection caused by his drug use. The book is written to help other parents cope with an addicted loved one and to give hope for recovery. David was a philosopher and wanted to be a published author. Part 2 of The Last Stop is a collection of David's short stories, essays, and poetry.
Street’s debut is a heartrending chronicle of her son’s addiction, which rocked their family for over a decade and eventually ended in tragedy. David, the product of what Street describes as “an average suburban family,” had a penchant for testing limits beginning in his early years, but she characterizes him as “an adorable and inquisitive child.” Red flags started to appear after David’s serious foot injury on the job at age 15, when he was administered morphine to cope with the pain of several surgeries. His substance use spiraled from that point, starting with alcohol, and eventually bloomed into a full-blown heroin addiction.

Although she powerfully outlines the course of David’s addiction so readers can grasp its devastation, Street offers more than a conventional life history. Her desire to help families recognize warning signs early is evident throughout, as she highlights the behaviors she missed alongside her exhaustive efforts to help, and she never shies away from recounting even the most shameful aspects of addiction—or the pain it causes loved ones. Heartbreaking stories include David stealing valuables from his family to sell for cash, becoming physically dangerous, and his rocky relationship with wife Circe, a fellow addict, who contributed to his multiple relapses.

Though there are moments of hope, readers take heed: Street offers a brutally honest look at the harsh reality of addiction. David transforms from a promising young adult into an emaciated addict, plagued with life-threatening physical illnesses all stemming from his constant needle use. Street shares what worked, what failed, and what she wishes she had done, in candid language that will be equal parts sobering and useful for families facing similar circumstances. She also honors David’s goal of being an author by sharing his writing (including the rough draft of a novel she discovered after his death) that illuminates his agony, as he records “the words come from the despair inside me.”

Takeaway: A mother’s devastating story, chronicling the ravages of addiction.

Great for fans of: David Carr’s The Night of the Gun, Cat Marnell’s How to Murder Your Life.

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