MacGibbon shows readers just how rough the road to redemption is in her gritty memoir of addiction.
The narrative begins with Marti, an aspiring stand-up comedian with a promising career, strung out on drugs and steeped in a culture of sex and music. A new transplant to California from Texas, Marti feels like she’s on top of the world; instead, she’s about to hit rock bottom. She’s running from the pain of losing custody of her daughter, and in her haphazard pursuit of success she clings to “the dope fiends, the winos, the crystal meth chefs. My kind of people. People I could trust.” Soon after moving to a new town, she has a terrifying nightmare that sends her spiraling into a ruinous relationship. When her dark dream turns into a real-life news story, Marti and her boyfriend run further from the fear and realities that, once confronted, will ultimately make or break the couple. Any reader who has ever faced chilling regrets will sympathize with Marti as she recounts, one by one, the red flags of her past. The book’s title, however, may give the impression of a self-help focus that doesn’t actually run through the narrative. While parts of Marti’s life may be tough to read about—she doesn’t spare readers the harsh language, violence and sexuality of real life—her levity and transparency make the journey bearable and worthwhile. Her raw, honest, casual, funny voice permeates every page. The road to recovery begins with her daughter’s forgiveness and continues in a new, healthy marriage. Facing a number of tough crowds as her stand-up career restarts also helps Marti learn to maintain her composure. In the end, readers will likely feel the restorative power that’s symbolized in the memoir’s striking closing image of a rare albino redwood, a symbol of healing.
A dark yet inspiring look at conquering addiction and regaining hope.