Miller’s vast memoir about the legal and personal battles that followed his stepdaughter’s expulsion from school for drug use.
When Miller met and fell in love with his future wife, Caroline, he seemed to know what he was signing up for. He was childless; she had two children in tow. “You notice her, you like her, you love her,” he says. “The kids, unless they are genuine pains in the ass, kind of go along with the deal like bald tires on a custom sports car.” That tone—direct, if a bit rough around the edges—permeates the book. Despite his apparent steeliness, however, his life was thrown into chaos the day his stepdaughter Sarah was expelled from high school for allegedly taking LSD. Though Miller is typically frank about his own minor drug use in the past, as well as the need for Sarah to take responsibility for her actions, he could not, as a father and a school psychologist, stomach such a harsh punishment for a child—particularly one who struggled with ADHD, as Sarah did. Consequently, he and his wife entered into a protracted legal battle against the school that not only threatened their family’s stability but put in jeopardy his job as a school district employee. The engaging, real-life storyline will be of interest to stepfamilies or readers whose children have addiction issues. However, at over 600 pages, it may be too unwieldy to keep most readers’ attention. Miller leaves no detail or feeling unexamined, making for a repetitive and cumbersome reading experience. A good edit and perhaps a dampening of the sometimes over-the-top tone would go a long way toward tightening his arguments and delivering an emotional punch.
A touching but overflowing story about family, addiction and perseverance.