TAKE THE LONG WAY HOME by Susan Gordon Lydon


Memoirs of a Survivor
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 No doubt Lydon's title alludes to Home Fires, Donald Katz's 1992 study of her nuclear family as an American microcosm. And no doubt too that, as the title says, Lydon took a very long way home, through the grimiest tunnel of drug addiction--and that her terrible, wonderful story, though partly sketched by Katz, comes fully alive only in her own retelling. Lydon's been clean for seven years now, after more than two decades of slavery to the needle and the pipe, and the extensive practice she's had during her recovery in telling hard truths about herself (a 12-Steps basic) pays off here--as does her experience as a professional writer: ``The past few months had been my roughest ever: I'd been raped, robbed, jilted, degraded, demoralized and hit what I thought was really the bottom, turning tricks with freaks from Mousey's.'' A deeper bottom was yet to come, though--quite a comedown for a nice Jewish girl from Long Island who went to Vassar on scholarship, helped edit the first issue of Rolling Stone, and got a book deal with Random House--until junk took it all away, and her little girl too, turning her into a heroin-addicted zombie- whore staggering through Manhattan's Lower East Side in search of highs. Lydon's well-detailed account of her decay is painful and shocking--but it's her recovery in the firm hands of an all-woman group in Boston that really hits hard, as, no longer bandaged by drugs, her emotions scrape and chafe until she accepts the brutal facts: of likely childhood incest, of dependence on men, of her abandonment of her daughter, of chipping away at her essence day after day for another hit of ersatz heaven. Lydon lays bare her sins, her struggle, her soul here. It's a profoundly moving act of courage, of interest to all concerned with the best--and the worst--of the human spirit.

Pub Date: Oct. 1st, 1993
ISBN: 0-06-250550-5
Page count: 320pp
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15th, 1993