BOOK REVIEW ~ DRY

Dry: A Memoir by Augusten Burroughs

Being a fan of Burroughs after reading Running With Scissors, I picked up a copy of this book and was not disappointed. In it he shares how he became a copywriter in advertising, and how his drinking eventually became very out of control. Eventually his work gave him the option of going to rehab or leaving, and he chose rehab for 30 days. The book is written in his usual funny/sarcastic way, and there is much to think upon between the covers here. It gets quite gritty and real in its look into alcoholism, drug use and other hard subjects and I feel it was well written.

 

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Publisher: Picador – 293 pages
Published: April 1st, 2004
RATING: 4/5 Stars

The Author- Augusten Burroughs is the author of the autobiographical works “Running with Scissors,” “Dry,” “Magical Thinking,” “Possible Side Effects” and “A Wolf at the Table,” all of which were New York Times bestsellers. “Running with Scissors” remained on the New York Times bestseller list for over two consecutive years and was made into a Golden Globe-nominated film starring Annette Bening. His only novel, “Sellevision,” is currently in development as a series for NBC. “Dry,” Augusten’s memoir of his alcoholism and recovery, is being developed by Showtime. In addition, Burroughs is currently creating an original prime-time series for CBS. Augusten’s latest book is called “You Better Not Cry: Stories for Christmas.”

Twice named to Entertainment Weekly’s list of the funniest people in America, Augusten has also been the subject of a Vanity Fair cover story and a Jeopardy! answer. His books have made guest appearances in two James Patterson novels, one Linkin Park music video, numerous television shows and a porn movie.

Augusten has been a photographer since childhood and many of his images can be seen on his website, http://www.augusten.com. He lives in New York City.

Heavier Than Heaven

Heavier Than Heaven: A Biography of Kurt Cobain

Originally published in 2001 and with a well-written update added to bring it up to date, this is a well-researched book by an author who was around for many of the events at the time. Charles Cross spent 4 years researching, and interviewing 400 people for this book. So you can tell it’s pretty thorough. He tells us how Cobain’s time being famous, from his first album coming out to his death was less than 1000 days. That’s pretty heart-rending to think about. It does a good job of filling out the picture from his beginnings in Aberdeen through growing up and finding success. A lot of focus on his songwriting and touring, practices and time spent making albums. Meeting and marrying Courtney Love and becoming a father. And of course, you know how the story ends, yet it still grabs you. This is a really good book for Nirvana fans. My thanks for the advance electronic copy that was provided by NetGalley, author Charles R Cross, and the publisher for my fair review.

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Publisher: Hachette Books – 381 pages
Published: April 2nd, 2019
RATED: 4/5 Stars

The Author- CHARLES R. CROSS was editor of The Rocket, the Northwest’s highly regarded music and entertainment magazine and the first publication to do a cover story on Nirvana. He is also the author of Room Full of Mirrors: A Biography of Jimi Hendrix; Led Zeppelin: Heaven and Hell; Backstreets: Springsteen, the Man and his Music; Nevermind: The Classic Album; and Here We Are Now: The Lasting Impact of Kurt Cobain. His writing has appeared in Rolling Stone, Esquire, and Spy, among many other publications. He lives in Seattle.

Drug Warrior

Drug Warrior: Inside the Hunt for El Chapo and the Rise of America’s Opioid Crisis

DEA agent Riley has been busting drug dealers since he started working his way up in the ranks to the number two position. His targets have grown along with his talent and ambition. For a long time now, he has been after the worst of the dealers flooding our country with all kinds of drugs, El Chapo. He became the #1 after Pablo Escobar was taken down. This was a good paced read following his different assignments as he moved through the DEA, always with one goal in mind, to get El Chapo. A great read for anyone interested in true crime or law enforcement.

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A very good history on the huge influx of drugs coming into the US, simply shocking the numbers! I knew it was bad, but this was just stunning. Marijuana by the train car load. Tons of it. And that’s the just the mild stuff. It’s mind-boggling. The heroin, cocaine, methamphetamine, and fentanyl are another story. Riley had an amazing 32-year career with the DEA and his book is quite a read. My thanks for the advance electronic copy that was provided by NetGalley, author Jack Riley, and the publisher for my fair review.

Publisher: Hachette Books – 272 pages
Publication: Feb 19th, 2019

RATING: 5/5 Stars

The Authors– John “Jack” Riley spent his DEA career combating Mexican and Colombian cartels and drug-related gang violence. At the time of his retirement, Riley was the highest ranking career Special Agent at the DEA, serving as the organization’s second in command, overseeing global drug enforcement efforts. 

Mitch Weiss is a Pulitzer Prize-winning investigative journalist currently working for the Associated Press. Over the last 25 years, he has investigated government corruption, white-collar crime, police misconduct, and clerical sexual abuse. His books include Tiger Force and The Heart of Hell: The Untold Story of Courage and Sacrifice in the Shadow of Iwo Jima.

How to Be Loved

How to be Loved: A Memoir of Lifesaving Friendship

A rather uniquely written memoir about a woman who has a difficult time letting people get close. She finds herself an addicted alcoholic from trying to chill out and fit in, then later has to go to groups to get free of it. But it’s at the groups that she makes her first real friends of her life, Allison is the main one, and she’s much older. As time goes by, and they talk a bit and she gets to know Allison, she feels herself opening just a bit to the idea of letting her in. They get along so well, and they are so good for each other, it’s not long before she feels herself opening more.

Then Allison shares with Eva that she’s ill with cancer, that it’s come back again and it’s likely terminal this time; she just wanted her to know since they have become close. They rely on each other. Eva for Allison’s mature advice, helping her stay sober and teaching her about friendship. Allison for Eva’s help when she was having bad days from chemo or radiation treatments and needed Eva’s assistance. This is a good book about friendship and learning how to ask for help and accept it. Sometimes that’s the hardest part of all, just admitting you need someone’s help. I was glad I read it. My thanks for the advance electronic copy that was provided by NetGalley, author Eva Hagberg Fisher, and the publisher for my fair review.

Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt – 240 pages
Publication: Feb 5th, 2019

Rated: 4/5 Stars

The Author– Eva Hagberg Fisher’s writing has appeared in the New York Times, T: The New York Times Style Magazine, Tin House, Wallpaper*, Wired, Guernica, and Dwell, among other places. She lives in California and New York City.

If You Love Me: A Mother’s Journey through Her Daughter’s Opioid Addiction

This is an on point and important read about a woman’s story of having a daughter with a serious addiction problem. The mother got totally submerged in her daughter’s addiction to the point that it was taking over her life and overwhelming her. It was affecting her relationship with her other children and the man she was dating and making her an anxious mess and she needed to get help to stop it from ruining her life.

She shares how she handled it, and how she became an advocate helping other parents and addicts in trouble in her area by starting an online group for others in the same position that allowed them all to share, and posting links for assistance. She learned eventually to better handle her daughter’s relapses, which were many, up to 40 or more, and to be able to take back her life to an extent so that she actually could have one again, and start living again. A very timely book, with a message of hope during the still dark times of so many people overdosing while answers are searched for. My thanks to #Netgalley, author Maureen Cavanagh, and the publisher for the advance electronic copy provided for my fair review.

Henry Holt & Co.
Pub: Sep. 4th, 2018

RATING: 4/5 Stars

Lush: A Memoir

A different way of dealing with addiction by Kerry Cohen. She shares her issues with love, sex, smoking, and alcohol addictions and how they affected her life. What she did after two marriages and divorces to make lasting changes to keep problems from being such a negative impact on her career and personal life.

Mentions (MM) or Moderation Management, a different option that I’d never heard of before the book and found rather interesting, being an adult child and grandchild of alcoholics and having many others among the relatives. I’ve grown up knowing and learning about different types of ‘cures’, things in that category that the drinker and those around them use to seek relief, like AA, Alanon, rehab, therapy, Antabuse medications, cold turkey, etc.

It was interesting to learn about this different method that the author used, and hear about her particular path, especially as she herself counsels others and has been in counseling too. I’m kind of curious now to check out some of her other books she’s written, like “Loose Girl: A Memoir of Promiscuity”, and “Seeing Ezra: A Mother’s Story of Autism…”. For those with an interest in addiction, alcoholism and recovery. An advance digital copy was provided by NetGalley and author Kerry Cohen for my fair review.

Sourcebooks
Pub date: July 17, 2018

RATING: 4/5 stars

Spoken in Darkness: Small-Town Murder and a Friendship Beyond Death

So far this book has been kind of a mixed bag to me. I’m about halfway in and I keep waiting for the book to focus more on the victim, Lee rather than the author and her thoughts and feelings. It has yet to touch on how the crime happened or even hint at a serial killer. She could have fallen down a well or committed suicide for all the book has given away. Ok, the books getting better, getting into Lee’s later life and story more now, and the book feels much improved, even though the author is still quite involved, and now dragging her relationship with her mom into it. It’s making more sense to the storyline now at least, as a vehicle to tell the story with, and I can understand better now.

I tend to do the same thing in a way, I usually tie stories into my own life, if an event happens in my home state or especially home county or town, or if I knew someone peripherally. But I’m not sure I’d keep bringing that into a book all of the time if I were an author. Although it’s different writing a book than it is just writing a review of one, of course. So down to the final chapters and I’m hoping to get a positive feeling at the end of how the author works this all out, despite how I know the book does end. Or at least that Lee’s life does prematurely by a trick, I should say. This book is different, for sure…and I suppose it has to be read to be sorted out for oneself. The various killings are covered including Lee’s, but suffice it to say I found the ending pretty unsatisfying, just as real life turns out for so many.

Hatchette Books                          Published May 14, 1993

Here They Are: Jayne Mansfield

This is another tell-all by the friend /press secretary who also wrote: “The Tragic Secret Life of Jayne Mansfield” that I recently reviewed too. This book is much the same, with just a few updates and the pictures seemed better, being a paperback vs. the other one a kindle version. If my memory serves, it also seemed to have different pictures. A good biography of Mansfield, as he was a big part of her life for 10 years as she went through 2 marriages and divorces, along with many lovers on the side, including himself. He saw a lot of the nitty gritty of her real life behind the scenes, what audiences weren’t privy to.

I’ve been trying to find out if the author is still living, the last I found on his was from 2015 when he was 92 and still around. Here is a link to my review of the other book I read by him mentioned previously:  https://bookblog200.wordpress.com/2018/04/09/the-tragic-secret-life-of-jayne-mansfield/

SPI Books                                              Published July 1, 1992

The Tragic Secret Life of Jayne Mansfield

Originally published as a hardcover in 1974 by Raymond Strait. I read this as a kindle edition. This book turned out to be a decent read about Jayne Mansfield, one of the last of the studio contract stars. It’s written by a man who was an employee off and on for 10 years but was also her friend and confidant. He saw all of the drama with her multiple husbands and lovers, and he had his own strange intimate relationship with her from time to time. Strait saw the highs of her career and was along for the duration, trying at times to give her helpful advice. I learned a lot about the star that I was unaware of beyond the sex bomb thing and just how she died. She became more of a real person after reading this book and learning about her life, her childhood and her relationship with her mom. Then, of course, her multiple marriages and children.

She was intelligent and hardworking and started out going for her dream, but seems to have lost her way and that dream after some years in the business. Her personal life and stability seemed to go downhill after her 2nd divorce and she never really was able to find lasting happiness with one man, though she was always searching. Ultimately a truly sad story, ending in tragedy, as most know. The book fills in a lot of the details that many may not know. Interesting for those who like Hollywood biographies, non-fiction.

Publication:  Feb 26, 2016

Son of a Predator

Author David Davis wrote his book for some very personal reasons after going through a painful realization regarding his family. It’s almost incredible to read about what he went through and came back from and the situation he ultimately came to understand as the one that exists for him. The book delves into areas of addiction, psychology, the #metoo movement, prostitution, therapy, emotionally abusive relationships, and much more, and will appeal to a broad range of interests. I found it a stirring and timely read and recommend it highly.

An advance digital copy was provided by NetGalley and author David Davis for my honest review.

Published by Phoenix Organization
March 30, 2018