13 April 2010

Nice Recovery

By Susan Juby
Published by Penguin Group (Canada)
First published March 2010

"Nice Recovery" is Susan Juby's memoir of her addictions. Beginning at age fourteen, Juby embarks on a young-adult journey into alcoholism, shoplifting, fist-fighting, drugs, and smoking (as opposed to her previous life of reading, dressage, and being a typical pre-teen misfit). She tells her story with what appears to me to be a lot of truth and without a lot of holding back; when she was bad, she was bad. I enjoy her writing style and knew I would like her when I read these lines in the preface:

"If telling these stories about addiction and recovery helps one person, it will have been worth it. Just please don't sic the accuracy police on me. I've done the best I can with the tattered remnants of my abused memory. I remember enough."

Juby writes of very bad times indeed - drunken blackouts, being beaten, waking up in strange places, being kicked out of college. But she tempers the seriousness of her life with a finely-placed sense of humour, letting us laugh without losing sight of how crap her life actually was.

Where she did lose me, though, was at Part III. This is where Juby stops sharing her life (the memoir) and starts writing an entirely different book on how treatment centres work and how AA and NA meetings are run. All good information, I'm sure, but I didn't want to read it - I wanted to read more of Juby's life and recovery.

All in all, however, a well-written, revealing memoir.

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