A somewhat-repetitive remembrance, but one that powerfully captures the feeling of addiction.

SWIMMING IN ADDICTION

A drug addict-turned-therapist chronicles her journey in this debut memoir.

Holly was a crack-cocaine user for 16 years, and her dependency on the drug contributed to the destruction of two marriages and led to suicide attempts and hospitalization in a psychiatric ward. After achieving sobriety, she earned a master’s degree in psychology and turned toward helping others recover from addiction. In this work, she offers an unflinching remembrance of her life in “crack hell,” with the goal of sharing her story with a wider audience and coming to terms with her drug-ravaged early years: “There are moments when the thought crosses my mind of erasing some if not all of my past,” Holly writes. “But without this disturbing past who would I be today?” The author grew up in a Connecticut housing project. “As a family we had a lot of fun,” she recalls, though there were dark undercurrents of disharmony; her father’s Sunday drinking escalated into a ritual, and her mother, on one occasion, beat her with an extension cord, she says. She entered adulthood with a poor self-image, magnified by feelings of body shame. She started experimenting with marijuana, and later tried crack: “It felt like a ride on a rocket headed towards the stars,” she writes of the first time. “Ecstasy traveled from my head to my toes without missing space in between the two.” Holly is particularly effective at conveying the craving that made her a “full time slave to crack,” devoting most every waking moment to “chasing the dragon.” But the account of her almost-daily encounters with crack gets tedious at times, and she’s somewhat vague about the roots of her addiction, touching only fleetingly on parental neglect, genetics, and poor self-image. Ultimately, however, she shows how she recognized that “What was bad were the choices [I] made,” and that now, at least, she’s made a better choice—“not to relapse. My life has not been perfected.”

A somewhat-repetitive remembrance, but one that powerfully captures the feeling of addiction.

Pub Date: July 13, 2015

ISBN: 978-1-5151-2706-2

Page Count: 232

Publisher: CreateSpace

Review Posted Online: Aug. 10, 2017

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NUTCRACKER

This is not the Nutcracker sweet, as passed on by Tchaikovsky and Marius Petipa. No, this is the original Hoffmann tale of 1816, in which the froth of Christmas revelry occasionally parts to let the dark underside of childhood fantasies and fears peek through. The boundaries between dream and reality fade, just as Godfather Drosselmeier, the Nutcracker's creator, is seen as alternately sinister and jolly. And Italian artist Roberto Innocenti gives an errily realistic air to Marie's dreams, in richly detailed illustrations touched by a mysterious light. A beautiful version of this classic tale, which will captivate adults and children alike. (Nutcracker; $35.00; Oct. 28, 1996; 136 pp.; 0-15-100227-4)

Pub Date: Oct. 28, 1996

ISBN: 0-15-100227-4

Page Count: 136

Publisher: Harcourt

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 1996

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IN MY PLACE

From the national correspondent for PBS's MacNeil-Lehrer Newshour: a moving memoir of her youth in the Deep South and her role in desegregating the Univ. of Georgia. The eldest daughter of an army chaplain, Hunter-Gault was born in what she calls the ``first of many places that I would call `my place' ''—the small village of Due West, tucked away in a remote little corner of South Carolina. While her father served in Korea, Hunter-Gault and her mother moved first to Covington, Georgia, and then to Atlanta. In ``L.A.'' (lovely Atlanta), surrounded by her loving family and a close-knit black community, the author enjoyed a happy childhood participating in activities at church and at school, where her intellectual and leadership abilities soon were noticed by both faculty and peers. In high school, Hunter-Gault found herself studying the ``comic-strip character Brenda Starr as I might have studied a journalism textbook, had there been one.'' Determined to be a journalist, she applied to several colleges—all outside of Georgia, for ``to discourage the possibility that a black student would even think of applying to one of those white schools, the state provided money for black students'' to study out of state. Accepted at Michigan's Wayne State, the author was encouraged by local civil-rights leaders to apply, along with another classmate, to the Univ. of Georgia as well. Her application became a test of changing racial attitudes, as well as of the growing strength of the civil-rights movement in the South, and Gault became a national figure as she braved an onslaught of hostilities and harassment to become the first black woman to attend the university. A remarkably generous, fair-minded account of overcoming some of the biggest, and most intractable, obstacles ever deployed by southern racists. (Photographs—not seen.)

Pub Date: Nov. 1, 1992

ISBN: 0-374-17563-2

Page Count: 192

Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 1992

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