memoir · nonfiction

Book Review: Lovingly Abused: A True Story of Overcoming Cults, Gaslighting, and Legal Educational Neglect by Heather Grace Heath

One of the podcasts I’ve been making my way through, usually when I cross-stitch or exercise, is Leaving Eden, which tells the story of Sadie Carpenter’s life in and exit from the IFB (Independent Fundamental Baptist) cult. I fired it up a few weeks ago and listened to an episode that featured Heather Grace Heath, known on TikTok as @backsliddenharlot. She came out of IBLP (the Institute in Basic Life Principles) and ATI (Advanced Training Institute), an offshoot of the IFB that you may be familiar with due to the fact that the Duggar family also belongs to this cult, and she wrote a book, Lovingly Abused: A True Story of Overcoming Cults, Gaslighting, and Legal Educational Neglect (Kindle, 2021), that was on my TBR. I did a quick search, found a library in the state had a copy, and requested it via Interlibrary Loan. A few days later, I picked it up and started reading.

Trigger warnings for physical and sexual abuse, incest, and religious abuse.

Heather’s family didn’t join ATI until she was a little older (she wasn’t *quite* born into it), but her parents were a perfect target for this predatory group. Abuse ran rampant on both sides, and her mother’s anxiety made homeschooling seem like the perfect solution to never letting Heather out of her sight. The “education” Heather gets from Bill Gothard’s Wisdom booklets is horrifyingly inadequate, from its misinformation on just about everything, to its lack of information on things children actually need to know, to its inappropriateness in so many ways, straight to its charts on all the ways victims of rape and sexual abuse are at fault for the crimes perpetrated against them. (And remember, these are all-age booklets. You’re supposed to teach these to your six-year-old sitting right next to your fifteen-year-old.) Not only did this leave Heather with massive educational gaps, it gifted her massive anxiety, fear, and terror. 

The many kinds of abuse Heather suffers turns into trauma, which follows her as she grows, but becoming an EMT serves as an outlet for her stress, and through this, she learns more about the world outside the cult and that it’s nowhere near as terrible as she’s been taught. Slowly, slowly, she makes her way out and begins to shed the years of misinformation fed to her by ATI and Bill Gothard, and becomes someone who helps to shine a light on this dangerous group. 

Fascinating book. While the writing isn’t as polished as you would expect a traditionally published book to be, the information inside is incredibly valuable. Heather is throwing the curtains back on the severe educational neglect perpetrated by these Christian homeschool cults (and yes, she did know the Duggars and mentions them a few times). These cults and ATI in particular promotes sheltering your children from the world as a feature (making it all the much more difficult for them to leave this cult, because their lack of knowledge about the outside world is close to zero), and the lack of actual education Heather describes is nothing short of grotesque. Her book is a plea for more regulation of homeschooling so that no other child suffers the same legal educational neglect her parents foisted upon her (while thinking they were doing the right thing). High five to her for mentioning The Vashti Initiative, the nonprofit I do volunteer work for!

Phew. This book is a lot, but I’m so proud of Heather for writing it and for putting it out there in the world. It’s an absolute force that I think will be so incredibly helpful to other survivors.

Visit Heather Grace Heath’s website here.

Check out her TikTok here.

memoir · nonfiction

Book Review: Uncultured by Daniella Mestyanek Young

A recent trip to the library had me frustrated that so many of the books I wanted were checked out (solely because I’m trying to get through a reading challenge here, people! Otherwise, read on with your bad selves), so as I was examining the new books shelves, wondering if a few of the selections from my list were maybe there, I ran across a book NOT in the reading challenge, but still on my TBR: Uncultured: A Memoir by Daniella Mestyanek Young (St. Martin’s Press, 2022). This was one I was really looking forward to, so reading challenge be damned! I snatched that book up and started reading the next day.

Trigger warnings: sexual abuse and rape of minors and adults, physical abuse, military situations and death

Daniella grew up in the cult known as Children of God and known these days as The Family International. What this cult amounted to was a Christian group dedicated to child rape, with its members taught to share God’s love through sex, and that this was okay, normal, and behavior desirable to God. Daniella, whose own mother gave birth to her at 14, grew up suffering extreme physical and sexual abuse in the name of God. Her intelligence and drive for education (piecemeal at best in the cult) keep her going, and by the age of fifteen, she’s had enough. Daniella is able to leave and live in the United States with a sibling she doesn’t know well, and live life on her own terms.

But life on the outside after having grown up in such a closed-off, high control group, isn’t simple or easy, and after college, she finds herself in the clutches of another high control group: the US Army. Just like the cult, Daniella’s every action is controlled. Her time, her thoughts, her opinions, her activities, every part of her life is someone else’s decision. She’s able to thrive there, but the similarities between the cult and the Army become too much later on, and just like the cult, the Army is easily able to throw her under the bus without a second thought.

Whew. This is an intense read. I’d never thought of the military and cults as using similar control tactics, but this is a comparison that makes absolute sense, and as a former military wife, I’m kind of shocked at myself that I never made this connection before. It also makes sense as to how so many people from strict-ER forms of Christianity wind up in the military (I say strict-ER because the super high control groups like IFB and IBLP, for example, don’t seem to have any kind of tradition of encouraging military service among their members, something that many of the discussion groups I participate in online have noticed). At the time that she joined, Daniella thought that the Army was what she wanted; though she does incredibly well for quite some time, it ends up not being the home she’d been looking for.

Her descriptions of always feeling like an outsider, of being a third culture kid and never quite fitting in anywhere, are nearly as devastating as the descriptions of the PTSD and physical symptoms she suffers from after years of physical, sexual, and emotional torture. Her innate strength is what carries her through; she comes close to ending it several times, and my heart broke over and over again while reading this book.

There’s maybe a little more in here about Ms. Young’s time in the Army than there is about growing up in a cult, but the striking similarities between the two groups, and how her abuse and exploitation continued while serving, will keep you turning pages. Being in the military is tough; being a woman in the military and serving combat missions is even tougher, for many reasons, and seeing how her childhood parallels to the treatment she received while serving is…unsettling at best.

This is an eye-opening book, and one that will leave you shaking your head and pondering a lot of the questions Ms. Young has raised.

Visit Daniella Mestyanek Young’s website here.

Follow her on Twitter here.


Book Review: On My Swedish Island: Discovering the Secrets of Scandinavian Well-Being by Julie Catterson Lindahl

The 2023 PopSugar Reading Challenge has a prompt asking readers to choose a book that fulfills a favorite prompt from a past challenge. I’ve only ever completed one other PopSugar reading challenge, so I dug through some of the other past challenges to find a prompt from 2019, a book set in Scandinavia. This fit in perfectly with a book on my TBR, so for this, I read On My Swedish Island: Discovering the Secrets of Scandinavian Well-Being by Julie Catterson Lindahl (Tarcher, 2005). This had been on my TBR for quite some time, so I was glad to finally tackle it.

Julie Catterson Lindahl lives in what may be one of the coolest places in the world, a tiny island off the coast of Sweden. She, her husband (who is Swedish by birth), and their twins moved to their island cottage full-time in order to find a more relaxing way of life. Julie wasn’t sure how this would work out at first (though it was she who pushed for it!), but as the years have unfolded there, she’s leaned hard into Swedish life and culture and found that it suits her perfectly, and she’s here to share what she’s learned.

Incorporating nature into one’s life is important; the weather doesn’t have to be beach-perfect in order to enjoy time outside. Eating a more natural diet can help you feel more in tune with yourself. What we think of as spa treatments – sauna, massage, etc – help with relaxation. And design – smooth, clean lines, clear space, incorporating curves in some spaces, using natural materials – can help you feel calmer and more present at home and at work. These are some of the things that Swedes have figured out in order to live the good life that many of us have forgotten or ignored, but maybe we should take another look.

For me, the best parts of this book were the descriptions of the Swedish island Julie Catterson Lindahl lives on. Only one neighbor, surrounded by water (and ice in the winter!) and nature, the ability to forage in her own backyard, needing to take a boat to get to the mainland, it all sounds so fascinating! That’s not to say it’s not a lot of work; the family has to be very careful about the garbage they create, as all their trash has to be hauled to the mainland for disposal, and they have lots of plans for backup if the water or power fails. But it seems the benefits far outweigh the negatives here, and adding in some of the activities that Swedes and Scandinavians in general find relaxing and beneficial (and which they think should be available to everyone, regardless of income), such as sauna and lengthy time off work, really adds to an overall feeling of well-being that we here in the US assume only the wealthy should have.

Interesting book that gave me a lot to think about.

Visit Julie Catterson Lindahl’s website here.

memoir · nonfiction

Book Review: I’m Glad My Mom Died by Jennette McCurdy

I needed a celebrity memoir for the 2023 Popsugar Reading Challenge, and what do you know, on my TBR was I’m Glad My Mom Died by Jennette McCurdy (Simon & Schuster, 2021). Jennette is best known for playing Sam Puckett on the Nickelodeon show iCarly, but she’s also a talented writer. I started learning of her toxic relationship with her mother at the beginning of the pandemic, when an article she’d written made the rounds, and, having watched all of iCarly with my son and now my daughter, I was horrified. I knew I’d eventually want to read her memoir, but the wait lists at my library were miles long, so I was prepared to be patient. However, I got lucky, and the book pulled me in so strongly that I finished it in hours. Drop whatever you’re currently reading and get a copy of this book. NOW.

Jennette McCurdy was raised by a toxic narcissist mother who physically, emotionally, and sexually abused her her entire childhood. Mother Debra was a cancer survivor and often used this status to gain favors and sympathy from everyone around her. The book opens on a scene where she’s going through the nightly ritual of making her children watch her goodbye video she had recorded for them when she wasn’t expected to survive, and criticizing their behavior on the screen (never mind that they were all younger and already traumatized). Acting had been Debra’s dream, never Jennette’s, and she pushed her daughter into it and began to live vicariously through her. Jennette, already feeling responsible for managing her mother’s emotions from her preschool years, does her best to smile through the auditions and performances that she hates to keep her mother happy.

As Jennette grows, her mother teaches her to have an eating disorder in order to stay small, so she can play younger roles, since Jennette’s work is paying the family’s bills. This, combined with the stress of a career as a child AND managing her narcissist mother’s emotions, has terrible effects on Jennette’s mental health, and the constant criticism and stress of working in Hollywood only add to it all. When Debra’s cancer returns and ends her life, Jennette, left without the ability to manage any of her emotions and without the knowledge of who she is without her mother, spirals.

Every chapter of this book will reach out and grip you by the throat, then punch you in the gut, then tear your heart out and stomp it flat. The devastation that Jennette’s mother wreaked upon her life easily explains the provocative title (my daughter saw the title and was shocked; I simply explained to her that not everyone is lucky enough to have parents that treat them well, that some kids have parents who hurt them, and she understood and was sad). I absolutely blew through this masterpiece of a book, but I spent the entire time just devastated for Jennette. We watch a lot of iCarly around here, and it hurts me to know not only what she was going through when filming those scenes, but that she didn’t even want to be there in the first place. I’m so sad for everything Jennette McCurdy has suffered.

I’m also furious at Hollywood, like ragingly burn-it-all-the-fuck-down, STOP-USING-CHILDREN-IN-TELEVISION-AND-MOVIES furious. Jennette was hideously exploited, used, and abused by SO many adults in her work life, adults who were ultimately there to make money and who weren’t going to let something as silly as the mental and physical health of children get in their way. How disgusting are we that we KNOW this is a problem, it’s been a problem for a long time, and yet we continue to look the other way. If this book doesn’t make you think twice about Hollywood and children participating in it, I don’t know what will. As someone who grew up loving Nickelodeon, I’m utterly disgusted by how deeply soulless that network has turned out to be.

Jennette’s on the road to recovery. It’s not a smooth path, but, as she says, it’s important to not let the slips become slides, something I can deeply relate to. She’s a remarkable person, and I’m 100% cheering her on.

This is a deeply powerful memoir, one of the most powerful I’ve ever read. Emotional and physical devastation on every page, and yet Jennette’s writing will propel you through the pages at rocket speed. I’ve read that even people who weren’t aware of who Jennette McCurdy was before this book were as similarly affected as I was, so even if you’ve never watched a single episode of iCarly, this is one book you do NOT want to miss. I cannot state how strongly this book touched me, and how much I deeply wish that Jennette McCurdy is able to heal and cultivate the future she wants and needs.

Amazing, amazing book. If I could give it a hundred thousand stars, I would. 

Content warnings exist for physical, emotional, and sexual abuse, eating disorders, sexual exploitation, illness and death of a parent, and emotional trauma. 

Visit Jennette McCurdy’s website here.

Follow her on Twitter here.


Book Review: The Other Dr. Gilmer: Two Men, a Murder, and an Unlikely Fight for Justice by Benjamin Gilmer

Another 2023 Popsugar Reading Challenge book checked off! A month or so ago, my friend Alexis posted on Facebook about The Other Dr. Gilmer: Two Men, a Murder, and an Unlikely Fight for Justice by Benjamin Gilmer (Ballantine Books, 2022). Alexis is one of the most intelligent people I know, and when it comes to nonfiction, she and I share similar tastes, so I checked out the Goodreads page for the book and immediately added it to my TBR. It fits the Popsugar category for a book recommended by a friend, so I was thrilled to dive into it, and it didn’t disappoint whatsoever.

Upon interviewing and later accepting a job at a rural North Carolina medical practice, Dr. Benjamin Gilmer was surprised to learn that the doctor who created the vacancy he would be filling was also named Dr. Gilmer (Vince Gilmer, to be exact), and that he was no longer in that position because he was imprisoned for murdering his father. At first, Benjamin was fairly terrified of this other Dr. Gilmer, who seemingly snapped, murdering his elderly father with Alzheimer’s and schizophrenia, cutting off his fingers and discarding them in a pond outside the clinic, then returning to work and working alongside his co-workers as though nothing had happened. Who was this man? Would he ever get out and come after Benjamin for taking over his life?

But the more Benjamin Gilmer learns about this other Dr. Gilmer, the more intrigued he is. Something’s off. Something’s wrong. Dr. Gilmer had blamed his behavior on SSRI discontinuation syndrome when he represented himself in court, but the defense accused him of faking his symptoms. Benjamin Gilmer knows it’s got to be more than that, and with the help of colleagues, the mystery unfolds piece by piece until it becomes clear: prison isn’t where this other Dr. Gilmer needs to be. He desperately needs medical attention, and getting access to it will be a years-long struggle for not only him, but for Benjamin and an entire team of people across the country.

Holy COW, this book is a wild ride, and whatever you’re expecting, it’s likely something different. The book takes a turn about halfway through, and I just kind of sat back and went, “Whoooooaaaaaaaaa.” Benjamin Gilmer goes from panic mode to dedicated seeker of justice, and…it’s inspiring as much as the forces working against Vince Gilmer are infuriating. This is one of those books that will have you seeing red and determined to do whatever you can to burn our entire ‘justice’ system down and rebuild it from scratch. This is something that has needed to happen for decades – likely centuries, honestly – and The Other Dr. Gilmer is another large piece of evidence that what we call justice in this country is anything but just.

The Other Dr. Gilmer is an incredible read (and it’s becoming a movie!). It’s my first five-star read of 2023, and it’s one that will stick with me.

memoir · nonfiction

Book Review: You’re Never Weird on the Internet (Almost) by Felicia Day

I’ve only seen Felicia Day in a few things (Supernatural being the show I know her the best from), but I enjoy her quirky acting style. I have another book of hers on my TBR, but since it’s at a different local library, I hadn’t gotten to it yet – but when someone mentioned she’d written a memoir that included parts about how she was homeschooled and how it affected her life, I knew I had to read it (as someone currently homeschooling/pandemic-schooling my own little weirdo). You’re Never Weird on the Internet (Almost) by Felicia Day (Gallery Books, 2015) went onto my TBR and came home with me my next library trip (usually, books sit there a little longer than that, but everything else was checked out that day! My town is big on reading, which is awesome). 

Actress, writer, and director Felicia Day is known for being super into geeky things like online gaming and is super popular online, but growing up, she was a friendless homeschooled kid (for hippie reasons, not God reasons, as she puts it). Her mom seems to have had a more hands-off approach in terms of curriculum and learning, but she did expect Felicia and her brother to read widely and constantly, an approach that obviously worked well for at least her daughter’s learning style. Felicia went to college early, double majoring in both math and violin performance, ending up with a 4.0, but what she really wanted to do was act. However, along the way, she discovered the internet, the joys of online gaming, and how anonymous camaraderie from behind a screen can change your life.

After college, it was off to Los Angeles, where it took years to build up a career. Sometimes, her online gaming addiction got in the way, big time, and Felicia began to use what she knew in order to develop her own web series, catapulting her into stardom and into the role of Queen of the Internet. It’s not all fun and games – celebrity stalkers are definitely a thing, and Gamergate reared its filthy head and sucked her in as well – but this is a great story of hard work, being true to yourself, and building what you love. 

This was a quick, fun read. It’s eight years old this year, and there were a few things that hadn’t aged super well – a few things like fat jokes that made me wince – but overall, it was a decent read. I didn’t necessarily learn anything that will help me be a better homeschool parent – I think my daughter isn’t quite as motivated and/or dedicated or curious as Felicia was (she’d be content to draw all day or play Barbies, or play games on her kindle and never do another math problem in her life if I didn’t make her do other things), but it was definitely interesting to read about how having the time to develop her own interests directly led to Felicia’s career. I can only hope my own daughter eventually knows herself that well.

Visit Felicia Day’s website here.

Follow her on Twitter here.

memoir · nonfiction

Book Review: Eva and Eve: A Search for My Mother’s Lost Childhood and What a War Left Behind by Julie Metz

The Holocaust is such a complicated subject, and it’s no wonder that so many children of survivors go on to write their own memoirs, because that kind of trauma is something that’s passed on, that reaches forward through the generations. I’ve read quite a few of these memoirs so far, and I’m sure I’ll read more, but my feeling of responsibility to read them all is how Eva and Eve: A Search for My Mother’s Lost Childhood and What a War Left Behind by Julie Metz (Atria Books, 2021) ended up on my TBR. 

Julie Metz’s mother, Eve, rarely talked about her childhood experiences in Vienna during World War II, and Julie never felt as though she could ask. When her mother died, discoveries among her possessions led Julie to begin searching for the past her mother kept buried away, and this search would take her across countries and continents.

From Vienna to Italy, emailing, calling, and video chatting with people across the US, Europe, and Israel, Ms. Metz began piecing together the story of her mother’s life: daughter of a successful businessman whose survival came thanks to the necessity of the products his factory created and coincidentally, due to his love of hiking; sister to two brothers sent away to England early on, before things got too complicated in Vienna. She tracks the changes that came to Vienna and to her mother’s family and friends, the struggles they had in day-to-day life, the difficulties surviving (and despite those difficulties, how they were shielded from the worst of the suffering), and their escape to America via a trip through Italy, and the ship that brought them across the ocean.

Ms. Metz’s search is one of obvious dedication, and I’m sure it was emotional to visit all the places her mother lived and that were stolen from her and her family. I did feel like from time to time, the book dragged a little, but the overarching goal of the author and the tense journey of her family members out of war-torn Europe kept me turning pages. It’s a story that illustrates that even survival leaves scars and pain that echo through the generations. 

Visit Julie Metz’s website here.


Book Review: Life on the Line: Young Doctors Come of Age in a Pandemic by Emma Goldberg

Yet another pandemic book out there. I feel like I’ll be reading these the rest of my life, trying to make any kind of sense of this baffling time. Life on the Line: Young Doctors Come of Age in a Pandemic by Emma Goldberg (Harper, 2021) went on my TBR the moment I learned about it, and although it was a bit different than I expected, I’m glad I read it.

Back in March 2020, when the world shut down, this meant that colleges, including medical schools, also closed their doors. Some medical schools made deals with their students and local hospitals to graduate their students early so the students/new doctors could go help the exhausted, overworked doctors dealing with the fallout of the early days of the pandemic. Emma Goldberg’s book follows six of these newly graduated doctors on the front lines of the pandemic in New York.

It was an easy decision for these students to say yes to; helping others was why they became doctors, so despite their families’ and partners’ fears, they began working with COVID patients. Many of their patients died. Others struggled through and made it home. One in particular left behind a profoundly disabled adult child, with no one else to care for him, leaving the hospital scrambling to find a place for him for months. But the students persevered through it all, growing as people and as physicians.

This book is set during the early days of the pandemic, when the country was still very much, “We’re all in this together! Let’s stand outside and cheer on the healthcare workers!”, giving this book more of a feeling of optimism than I think any of us still taking this seriously really feel, and to be honest, this aspect of the book just kind of made me sad. I’m STILL seeing Facebook posts about how the hospitals and doctors are killing people with COVID on purpose, that they get extra money from the government to do so (EYEROLL), and I kept wondering how these not-quite-so-new-now doctors are dealing with that mess, and those kinds of patients. 

The writing here is fast-paced, and it keeps the book moving. Emma Goldberg covers her subjects, these new doctors thrown into the thick of it, with respect and clarity, and I appreciated the peek into their chaotic world and the brave choices they made.

Visit Emma Goldberg’s website here.

Follow her on Twitter here.

nonfiction · true crime

Book Review: Lost Girls: An Unsolved American Mystery by Robert Kolker

A friend recommended Lost Girls: An Unsolved American Mystery by Robert Kolker (Harper, 2013). I thought it sounded interesting, so onto my TBR it went. It wasn’t until I had my library copy in my hands that I went, “Wait…haven’t I read this author before?” And I had. I read his Hidden Valley Road last year and enjoyed it. Love it when this happens!

Imagine my surprise when I opened the book to find that one of its subjects came from the area I lived in in Connecticut for five years. Southeastern Connecticut is kind of an out-of-the-way place; there’s not much there, so you never hear much about it. But I was familiar with so many of the places in this book, so that definitely spoke to me.

Robert Kolker covers the stories of some of the victims of a suspected serial killer on Long Island, one who has never been identified or found. All the victims were escorts, leading to a lackadaisical attitude among law enforcement for finding their killers. Ten bodies were eventually discovered (including a toddler who, at least at the writing of this book, was never identified); law enforcement never seemed in much of a hurry to figure out who did this.

If anything, Lost Girls truly helped me understand the attitude among law enforcement toward sex workers. They aren’t people; if they get hurt, it’s their own fault; no one needs to waste time or resources on figuring out who killed them, since if anyone really cared about these women, they wouldn’t have been sex workers in the first place.

Except that’s not at all how any of this works. The families of these women are devastated. To this day, they’re still out in front of the press, pushing for answers, desperate for justice. These women were loved, cared for. They were HUMAN BEINGS who didn’t deserve their grisly fate – NO ONE DOES – and the fact that ten people were murdered and discarded and there’s still no answer and no push for answers, is unacceptable. What I truly learned from this book is how little society cares for sex workers, and that’s just depressing. That’s something that will stick with me, and I’ll challenge anyone I hear trying to push this attitude that women like these don’t matter.

Devastating story, one that I hope will have answers someday soon.

Visit Robert Kolker’s website here.

Follow him on Twitter here.

memoir · nonfiction

Book Review: Killing Season: A Paramedic’s Dispatches from the Front Lines of the Opioid Epidemic by Peter Canning

No matter how much we think we understand something, we can always deepen our understanding, right? Addiction is a subject that I’m always trying to increase my understanding of, and thankfully, there are others, especially professionals, who feel the same. It’s for this reason I put Killing Season: A Paramedic’s Dispatches from the Front Line of the Opioid Epidemic by Peter Canning (Johns Hopkins University Press, 2021) on my TBR. It’s an utterly remarkable read.

Peter Canning has worked as paramedic for the majority of his adult life (he’s also worked in politics), and when he first started, he had the attitude toward addiction that was pervasive at the time: addicts are the way they are due to personal weakness or some other character flaw. But as his career progressed and he worked with more and more people caught in the clutches of opioid and heroin addiction, he came to the striking realization that this is a condition that could happen to almost anyone.

Mr. Canning did something remarkable, something more medical professionals need to do: he talked with the people he served. He asked them questions. He listened. The most profound question he asked was, “How did you start using?” or something similar. And to his surprise, almost every patient responded with something like, “It was after I got in that car accident,” or “When I hurt my shoulder at work,” or “I had surgery on my ankle.” Almost every single patient got hooked after an illness or injury where they were prescribed opioids. If you’ve ever been in that situation, you could’ve been one of the people Mr. Canning stops from overdosing on the streets of Hartford, Connecticut. Opioids are that easy to become addicted to.

The tides have turned a bit in terms of how we look at and treat addicts, but not enough, and Peter Canning is working hard to turn them a bit more, to try to push society to understand that substance use disorder isn’t a moral failure; it’s a medical condition whose sufferers deserve to be treated with respect and dignity, and harm reduction measures are so important in order to maintain the health and safety of those caught up in the clutches of these substances. Corpses can’t go to rehab; people need to be taken care of until they’re ready to make that step.

This is an utterly remarkable book that will change the way you look at addiction and the people suffering from it. It’ll break your heart, and it’ll challenge everything you ever thought you knew. Opioids have their place (as someone who suffers from chronic pain, I understand this – and I also understand how dangerous they can be), but we need better options, better understanding, better education, more science – on pain control, on rehabilitation measures, on everything surrounding addiction medicine. We as a society deserve this, and people suffering from substance use disorder deserve the dignity of being seen and treated as the human beings they are. I’m so very, very glad I read this book.

Visit Peter Canning’s website here.

Follow him on Twitter here.