In his affecting memoir, Fuller (A World Without Islam, 2010) recounts the struggles his family endured as they watched his adopted son, Luke, succumb to drug addiction.
Fuller and his family adopted Luke from Korea when the boy was 1 year old. While Luke struggled to find his place in America and with his adopted family, Fuller attempted to protect Luke and help him through an adolescence plagued by drug problems and legal troubles. Fuller writes about what it’s like to raise a troubled teen: bailing Luke out of difficult situations again and again while struggling with the age-old battle of letting his son suffer the consequences of his actions versus keeping him from getting into more serious trouble. Fuller thoughtfully takes an honest look at his own role in Luke’s predicament: “I’m sliding down the same path as Luke….We’re both equally addicted it seems, both increasingly shutting out the rest of the world around us in different ways.” This similarity between father and son forms the thematic core of the book and brings a new, engaging dimension to the familiar story of addiction. Fuller’s frank self-awareness sets this book apart from similar memoirs; he never succumbs to moralizing or easy answers. He also addresses how his son’s troubles affected his own relationship with his wife and biological daughters, as well as how Luke and the Fuller family struggled with being outsiders when the author’s CIA job took them back and forth across the country and around the world. Readers will likely come away with a nuanced understanding of adolescent drug addiction and the toll it takes on families, communities and individuals.
An honest, straightforward memoir of adoption, addiction and loss.