STRUNG OUT by Erin Khar


One Last Hit and Other Lies That Nearly Killed Me
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A deeply confessional memoir by a widely published advice columnist who went all the way down the rabbit hole.

In her first book, Khar, who writes the “Ask Erin” column on Ravishly, opens with a stark question from her 12-year-old son, Atticus: “Mom, did you ever do drugs?” It turned out to be a question with a voluminous answer from a woman who had kept her secrets close. The author started stealing pills in her early teens, experimented with other drugs, and ended up addicted to heroin for 15 years. Those who have read addiction memoirs before will recognize the pattern in this story: Eventually, the addict must take dope not to get high but to get “straight” enough to pretend to be a functioning human being. Then they usually suffer multiple relapses, which only add to the grief of their loved ones. Hopefully, like Khar, they can kick the habit and emerge on the other side with a semblance of a life intact. Now that she has gained some distance from her addiction, Khar is able to describe her behavior with refreshing perspective, and she is candid throughout, especially about how she continually drew people into her dangerous orbit before spontaneously pushing them away. While not as blisteringly shocking as some addiction memoirs, this contemporary take on an unfortunately too-common experience is eye-opening and relevant, especially as we continue to witness the escalation of the opioid epidemic. “I have compared my years spent in active addiction to being in a room on fire. With each passing year, with each line I crossed that I’d said I wouldn’t, those flames got bigger….And I couldn’t figure a way out of the room….The last time I detoxed—when I was pregnant with Atticus—I knew…that staying in that room would kill us both. I made a decision to walk through the flames and fortunately made it out.”

A necessarily honest and emotional account that ends in earned redemption.

Pub Date: Feb. 25th, 2020
ISBN: 978-0-7783-0973-4
Page count: 352pp
Publisher: Park Row Books
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15th, 2019