Willie L. Harris Jr.

Willie Harris was born in Carrollton, Georgia in 1965, the youngest child of Willie Harris Sr. and Betty J. McCoy Harris. Most of his childhood was spent in rural West Georgia, where green pastures stretched for miles and farm animals roaming free were just as commonly seen as the family dog. On the outside looking in, life for Willie and his two brothers and sister seemed relatively normal, but that wasn’t always the case.
Poverty and dysfunctional parents crippled the Harris household. His alcoholic father violently abused his mother almost  ...See more >

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"An inspiring, affecting narrative of one man’s messy life and road to well-being."

Kirkus Reviews


Pub Date:
ISBN: 978-0981857206
Page count: 232pp

Debut author Harris recounts his difficult childhood and his adult struggle with addiction in his memoir.

The youngest of four siblings, Harris lived in a middle-class household with parents who rarely showed him affection. Worse, his father was an alcoholic who abused his mother so badly that their kids feared for her life. When their mother finally escaped, taking the children with her, Harris continued to face household after household in which he was largely unloved. By the time he graduated from high school, he was more than eager to live independently. Once on his own, Harris soon found himself in debt and addicted to alcohol and marijuana and then cocaine. The most dangerous addiction, perhaps, was to his sometime lover and fellow crack addict, Dana. He tried several times to clean up for the sake of others, but his efforts only succeeded once he committed to cleaning up for himself. The author doesn’t shy away from providing dark details. He writes about his obsessiveness with Dana, and he candidly describes many of his lowest points, including stories about the dangerous ways he tried to score cocaine and the sleazy things he did to satisfy his addiction. Squeamish readers might find some moments difficult to stomach, but the harsh specifics show how bad things got and how miraculous his eventual recovery was. This miraculous nature is something Harris himself points out; he frequently comments about how a guardian angel must have protected him. Comparatively speaking, the account of his healing is rather short; a lengthier one might have offered more insight. Still, the glossing of the author’s recovery doesn’t undermine the overall message of hope.

An inspiring, affecting narrative of one man’s messy life and road to well-being.