For the Right Reasons

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When I picked up For the Right Reasons, I was more excited to read it than I am most books. I’ve been watching The Bachelor and The Bachelorette for the past two seasons, and have become familiar with Sean Lowe’s live Tweets during the show. My husband said that if his book was anything like his Tweets, I’d love it. And I did!

For the Right Reasons by Sean Lowe
For the Right Reasons by Sean Lowe

Sean Lowe grew up in a Christian home. His parents nurtured his interest in football from a young age, and he earned a scholarship to college to play football. Unfortunately, in college he did as little as possible to get by both academically and athletically. He was eventually dropped from the business program because of his grades. After that, he sabotaged his potential for a football career by not investing in practice as much as he should. At the beginning of his career, he and two friends began a debt consolidation company. New regulations changed how they could conduct their business, though, and they lost all of their investors’ money. Sean did what he never thought he would: he became an insurance salesman like his father.

Sean’s sister and brother-in-law nominated him for The Bachelorette. After the long application process, Sean was surprised to be selected, but excited to see what could happen. He was more interested in winning than in falling in love, but found himself taken with Emily. When he was sent home, he was completely shocked. However, he was invited back to be on The Bachelor. He took the opportunity to express more of his sense of humor, which he didn’t feel he showed when he was with Emily. Sean remained indecisive until the very end of his season, but realized that it was Catherine he couldn’t live without.

Sean’s Convictions in an Unconventional Scenario

Sean kept to his Christian faith throughout The Bachelorette and The Bachelor. During The Bachelorette, he did devotions each morning. Eventually, he had several of the other guys join him for devotions. Although they were all competing for the same woman, they were able to have this devotional time together.

During The Bachelor, Sean was looking for a woman who shared the same faith that he had. Although he did not want to have sex until he was married, he decided to have the overnight dates with the women to have the opportunity for off camera time. He wanted to ask them serious questions so that he could make the decision with all of the information he needed.

After The Bachelor ended, all the media wanted to talk about with Sean and Catherine was the fact they were waiting until they were married to have sex. Interviews were consumed with the topic, ranging from curiosity to disbelief. Sean writes that although sexual purity is important, it is not the central belief of Christianity. It was unfortunate that the media made his beliefs all about his sexual purity and not about the whole of what they are.

Sean’s Sense of Humor

Reading this book was a lot like reading Sean’s Tweets. The main difference was that I got to see the more serious side of him as well. Most exciting was that I got to see the side of him that shares the same Christian faith and convictions that I do. To me, that made the humor even funnier.

Sean’s sense of humor was prevalent throughout the book. His journey had some serious hurdles: self-inflicted troubles in college, losing half a million dollars of investors’ money, and having his heart broken in front of millions of people. Yet even in the midst of telling these stories, his sense of humor makes it an enjoyable read.

Quick Review

For the Right Reasons was a great book. Sean Lowe’s convictions and faith shine throughout the pages. His troubles in college, business failure, and heartbreak make him easy to relate to. Sean’s story of finding love with Catherine is charming and surprising. And even amidst the charm, he doesn’t sugar-coat anything. His honesty about the realities of post-reality show life and making a real relationship work are refreshing. The sense of humor he has throughout his story make the entire book an exceptionally enjoyable read. Overall, this has been one of my favorite reads in a while.

This Life I Live

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This Life I Live is the heartbreaking and inspiring story of Rory Feek and his wife, Joey. The husband and wife duo became popular in the country music industry, performing as Joey+Rory until Joey’s death from cervical cancer.

This Life I Live by Rory Feek
This Life I Live by Rory Feek

Rory was raised by his mother, with occasional visits from an absent father. While he never really thought of himself as poor, his family moved from state to state to avoid landlords collecting missed rent. Even from a young age, Rory loved music and wanted to create it. As a young adult, he had two daughters. Shortly after the second was born, their mother left him alone to be a single father.

For years he raised his daughters while building his name in the country music world. When his daughters were teenagers, he met Joey. After she broke off her relationship with another man, they began dating and married quickly. They eventually began performing as a duo. Then around ten years into their marriage, they had their daughter Indiana. Shortly after, Joey was diagnosed with cervical cancer. With treatment, she had a short remission. But after that remission, the cancer returned and Joey passed away in February 2016.

Rory’s Inspiring Takeaways from a Tough Childhood

Rory’s childhood was not ideal. While his mother did her best, his father was absent most of the time. Even when he was around, he was a fairly incapable father.

One time, Rory’s father got him a guitar. Because of Rory’s budding interest in music and the poverty his family lived in, it was the most amazing gift he’d ever received. Even though it was a cheap guitar, he played it constantly and learned as much as he could. He was crushed, though, when his father asked for it back.

“I am him. I am him, learning to be more.”

Rory Feek

As Rory became a father himself, he took the lessons from his childhood and did his best to become a better man than his father was. Although there were times in which he failed his children in similar ways, he also found opportunities to become a better parent because he knew how he could do better.

Rory’s Inspiring Testimony of God’s Work in his Life

As a young parent, Rory knew about God. But he didn’t really know God. He went to church sometimes, but didn’t really have a relationship with God.

One day, he got on a bus and left town without telling his girls. He had gotten to the end of his rope and was overwhelmed with life. But along that ride, he had an encounter (that he explains far better than I can) in which he realized his need to get serious about his relationship with God. When the bus stopped, he bought a return ticket and headed home before his daughters realized he was gone.

“After a while I didn’t have to remind myself to make the good and right choices. I just started making them naturally. Because it felt so good.”

Rory Feek

His relationship with God became a grounding point for his ability to love his children and his wife. It was a love that gave him the strength to face the hard road of Joey’s cancer diagnosis. Even though at the point of his dedicating his life to God he had not yet met Joey, that time and that relationship would give him what he needed to love Joey the way he did.

Rory’s Inspiring Love for his Wife

Rory inspired the world with his love for his wife as she was diagnosed with cancer and faced her final days. Her strength and positivity throughout her fight also encouraged and inspired fans.

Some friends and family members asked Rory if he was struggling with not being with Joey physically during the time she was fighting cancer (which, by the way, seems like a terrible question to ask a man whose is dying). There was speculation about his ability to stay faithful because of his unfaithfulness to the women who came before Joey.

But even in her last days and at her weakest, Rory didn’t feel the need to stray because she was still his wife and he still loved her. He loved her for more than her physical body. Rory loved Joey for all that she was.

Quick Review

This Life I Live is an inspiring and overall easy read. It was emotional and down-to-earth. Although it wasn’t stylistically spectacular, it wasn’t bad. It read like a country song and seemed very authentic to Rory’s voice. He wrote powerfully about growing up in bad conditions, becoming a better man, and loving his wife through her cancer diagnosis and death. Despite the fact I have not listened to Joey+Rory’s music before, this was still an amazing read. Fans will likely find it even more enjoyable.

Rise

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Rise published under the deceptive premise that a woman fleeing an abusive relationship built a house with only the help of her four children and YouTube videos. While Cara Brookins put more work into building her house than most people do, this fascinating book is a better read about escaping an abusive relationship than it is about building your own house.

Rise by Cara Brookins
Rise by Cara Brookins

Cara Brookins found herself in two abusive marriages after her first marriage to her high school sweetheart failed. Even after ending her third marriage, her second husband Adam continued to stalk her and her children, leaving them terrified. Although diagnosed with schizophrenia, Adam refused to take his medication. His delusions caused him to terrorize Cara and her children. Eventually she got a gun for her own safety since he threatened to kill her.

After living through the terror of both of her abusive marriages, Cara wanted a better life for her children. While she could afford a small house on her income, it would not be as spacious as she would like for her and her four children. To have a house big enough for all five of them, Cara decided to get a loan and build the house herself, with the help of her children. With all four children on board, they secure a loan and begin construction.

A Deceptive Premise

In the description of the book on Amazon (and every news article I’ve seen), Rise describes Cara’s journey as follows:

“Equipped only with YouTube instructional videos, a small bank loan and a mile-wide stubborn streak, Cara built her own house from the foundation up with a work crew made up of her four children.”

However, I find that to be terribly deceptive. Here is a list of some of the things that Cara and her children did not do themselves:

  • Pour the foundation
  • Build the roof
  • Build and install the kitchen cabinets
  • Install the kitchen fixtures
  • All of the electrical work

Whenever Cara ran into a problem in the construction of the house, she hired a young man who worked at the local hardware store to help. Additionally, she hired contractors for all of the electrical and the majority of the kitchen work. For a portion of the project, she had her father helping. Although he was aging and struggling with illness, his experience in building was valuable to her.

I still believe that Cara and her children did an amazing thing. They just did not do what the media and marketing for her book say they did. They still did most of the work, which is more than I’ll ever do. But they did not build the house on their own with only the help of YouTube videos. They had a lot of help along the way.

Adam’s Illness

I think this was a better book about loving and suffering at the hand of someone with mental illness. Although the premise of building your own house is interesting, I found Rise to be somewhat lacking in that area. Cara’s story of abuse, however, gave an interesting perspective on loving someone with a mental illness.

When Cara first married Adam, he was a brilliant man with no sign of mental illness. However, as he began to descend into madness, he also began to be physically and psychologically abusive.

Although Adam could not help himself in many ways, his actions were still illegal. He was still terrorizing and harming his family. Despite the fact he had at one point been a brilliant man, he could not be excused for the terror he was causing for Cara and her children.

In Rise, Cara raised valid questions about how to love and manage a person with a mental illness like Adam’s, especially when personal safety is concerned. She shares her personal struggle of whether his being abusive because of mental illness was reason enough to leave, or whether she should stay and help him.

Her story is both terrifying and important. To those who know someone suffering from severe mental illness, especially with delusions, I recommend Rise. It will ring heartbreaking and familiar.

Quick Review

Although I feel that Rise was published under a deceptive premise, it’s still an interesting read. I feel like Cara did not live up to the claims of building her own house with only YouTube tutorials and her own children to help, but she still did amazing things. Other things within the book left me skeptical to Cara’s honesty, such as the advanced language she assigned to her toddler and the vivid recollections of meditations. However, I found it to be well-written and engaging. Her story and experience is unique and worth experiencing yourself. Whether or not you agree with how she handled the situations in her life, it’s a good read.

Discussion Topic: What Would You Title Your Memoir?

My husband and I have a running joke that whenever I say something that I say fairly frequently, he’ll respond with, “That should be the title of your memoir.”

Recent Carrie Faith Taylor memoir titles include:

  • I Can’t Find my Keys
  • I’m Developing a Migraine
  • and Sploofin’ Moofin (an affectionate term for big muffins)

If I had to come up with a serious title for my memoir, I honestly have no idea what I would do. Perhaps I’d just end up calling it, I Promise this is all True.

What would your memoir be titled? Why?

American Heiress

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American Heiress is an interesting read about a turbulent time in history and the place of Patricia Hearst’s kidnapping case within that time. Jeffrey Toobin’s book will leave you questioning whether Patricia is guilty or innocent in the crimes she committed after being taken.

American Heiress by Jeffrey Toobin
American Heiress by Jeffrey Toobin

Patricia Hearst was kidnapped in 1974 by the Symbionese Liberation Army (SLA), a small group of radicals in the San Francisco area. She soon found herself involved in bank robberies and other crimes with the SLA. After most of the members died in a shootout with police, Patricia and the remaining two members remained in hiding for over a year before being arrested.

Upon her arrest, Patricia appeared to have been radicalized. Several people who witnessed her life on the run testified to her zeal for the SLA’s cause. However, after her father provided her with a lawyer, she completely changed. She cut ties with SLA members and became a model inmate. When at trial, she received an “average” sentence for her role in one bank robbery in exchange for testifying against the remaining SLA members about the bank robbery that resulted in the death of a woman. Her sentence was commuted by President Jimmy Carter, and later pardoned by President Bill Clinton. Patricia never committed another crime.

Patricia Hearst: Guilty or Not?

For about three quarters of the book, Patricia appears to be guilty of the crimes she committed alongside the SLA. Her apparent radical behavior in front of strangers and her defiance to the police upon her arrest point to someone who has been truly changed by those who kidnapped her. Further, she kept a monkey necklace that was given to her by Willie Wolfe, one of the SLA members. During her trial she would claim that their relationship was non-consensual, but her keeping of the necklace raised doubts in the minds of many. Many of her actions, though done in captivity, make her look guilty.

And yet she was kidnapped. Although the SLA did little physical harm to her, these were radicals who were interested in and willing to harm other people. There is little doubt that they could have harmed her. Furthermore, her complete turnaround so shortly after capture points to her possibly being coerced by her captors. Despite the fact there are inconsistencies in her story, the fact she has never committed any further crimes speaks volumes.

So do I think Patricia Hearst is guilty? After finishing this biography I spent hours thinking about it. Although it seems like an easy answer, I believe that the only person who knows the extent of her guilt is Patricia Hearst herself.

Quick Review

This book was well-written in a journalistic style. While I prefer the personal style of memoirs over biographies, I found this biography enjoyable. Unfortunately it had a slow start as it tried to introduce all of the characters and their histories, along with the political atmosphere of the time. However, once I was into the book I found it hard to put down. The doubt surrounding Patricia’s guilt or innocence is extraordinarily intriguing. I cannot help but continue to think about whether or not she willingly committed her crimes, even after I’ve finished the book.

Favorite Wife

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Favorite Wife is the sad and insightful story of religious abuse and polygamy in a fundamentalist Mormon sect. Although she grew up in The Church of the Firstborn, Susan began to see some of the problems that polygamy presented when she married one of the leaders of the church.

Favorite Wife by Susan Schmidt
Favorite Wife by Susan Schmidt

When she was fourteen years old, Susan had a dream that she was supposed to marry Verlan. Confused by this dream, she confided in Verlan’s grandmother. Not long after having this dream, Verlan’s brother Ervil told Susan that he believed he was meant to marry her instead. However, in their church they believe only the women receive revelation about who they are meant to marry. Because of his position as one of the leaders in the church, Susan felt vulnerable to Ervil’s “revelation.” It was not until he pushed her to get sealed to him (spiritually married) without telling her parents that she knew something was wrong with his “revelation.” Only days later, after her fifteenth birthday, she married Verlan instead. She became his fifth wife.

Susan soon learned that life as Verlan’s fifth wife was not as rosy as she thought it would be. She found herself lonely and living in poverty. Between his travel and his time with other wives, he was rarely with her. With the cost of keeping up five wives and over twenty children, all of his family lived in poverty. After Verlan’s brother Joel, the prophet of their church, was assassinated, Susan began to search for answers. According to their church, Joel was not supposed to die until the end of time. If this was false, maybe polygamy was as well. In searching the Bible, Susan found that it said unfavorable things about polygamy. She knew she had to leave Verlan. Eventually, she found a way to escape to the United States with her children.

How Control was Exerted over Susan

Throughout the reading of this book, I noticed several ways in which control was exerted over Susan in order to get her to stay in The Church of the Firstborn and in her marriage.

New Information Stifled

Whenever Susan would find a new piece of information, it would be disregarded if it was contrary to what Verlan believed. This was especially true if that belief was polygamy. When Susan confronted her husband with the teaching in the Book of Mormon that calls polygamy a “whoredom,” he called it an old revelation. He told her that the newer revelations of their church’s doctrine overrides what the Book of Mormon teaches.

Susan also found Verlan believed things contrary to what modern science and medicine believed. She found it difficult to convince him to take her or her children to the doctor because of the cost and his lack of belief in modern medicine. He also had outdated (read: false) beliefs about pregnancy that frustrated her. Although she tried to show him new information, he was not convinced.

Her Questions Dismissed

When Susan began to have questions about what she was reading in the Bible and the Book of Mormon, Verlan dismissed them. Several times when she had questions about the inconsistencies between the Bible and the teachings of their church, he dismissed her questions. He would say, “You just don’t understand.”

These words were meant to dismiss and silence her. Yet they only worked to further frustrate her and convince her of the need to get answers.

Her Opinions Belittled

Susan was often accused of being argumentative for having an opinion on things that impacted her life. Verlan would get frustrated by any emotion she showed in discussion and ask her why she was being so difficult. When he spent a large portion of “her night” with another woman, he belittled her feelings about the situation. When he began moving his wives to the jungle, he did not consider that she would not want to go. Verlan frequently used accusatory language about her being difficult as a way to end the conversation and force her to concede.

When he wasn’t accusing her of being difficult, he was laughing at her anger and calling her “cute.” He would tell her that her anger was cute in an attempt the diffuse the situation. Verlan managed to get around resolving the actual issues by doing so. Whether he called her “difficult” or “cute,” he treated her feelings as secondary to his.

Quick Review

Favorite Wife was interesting and heartbreaking. Susan’s strength through an abusive situation is inspiring. I’ll admit that I’ve had a fascination with books about those who survive through living in cult-like situations, and this one has been one of the most interesting. One of the things I liked the most about this book over other memoirs was Susan’s ability to write about her actions and feelings in the moment. While there was not sexual abuse like I’ve read about in other books about polygamous cults, there was still abuse of power. Ervil is the kind of evil that will make your skin crawl. And although at one point Verlan is painted the hero, his more subtle abuses of power will begin to wear on you as well. Most inspiring is Susan’s survival and motivation to give her children a better life than that which the cult provides.

Why I Keep a List of the Books I’ve Read

I have always loved reading. When I was in middle school, I used to read several books a week. Books were always my escape, and I have always loved the idea of reading as many books as I possibly can.

One of my best memories from school was in eighth grade when we had the Accelerated Reader tests for books. When we read books that were in this program, we would take a short test and get points. Our teacher required 25 points each quarter. Being the over-achiever and book-lover that I was, I decided to read as many books from this program as I could. I got well over a hundred points one quarter, and inspired a little bit of competition between my classmates.

My Great-Uncle Logan

When I was in my senior year of college, my grandma and I went to a family get-together. Since it was close to where her brother Logan lived, she thought it would be nice for me to meet him. I had heard things about my Great-Uncle Logan, but I had never met him. I knew he preferred to speak Pennsylvania Dutch over English and that he didn’t come to the family gatherings. He was the oldest child (like me). But other than that, he was a mystery.

We arrived at his little apartment, and Logan did not appear to be very happy to see us. However, he showed me around his apartment. When he showed me his books, I was amazed. He had giant bookshelves filled with books, and he had read them all. He pulled out some paper that contained a list of all of the books he had read since 1973. Proudly, he shared that he was getting close to 3000 books.

My Own “Logan’s List”

My “Logan’s List”

I started my own list of books in May of 2014, right after I graduated with my Bachelor’s Degree. I have continued to add books to the list, and transferred it into a journal about a year ago so that the list would be safe. As of 2017, I have just added my 109th book to the list. While it is far from the 3000 titles Logan had on his list, I believe it will eventually grow to that length.

Last year, my Great-Uncle Logan died. I only met him that one time, but I was sad to hear about his passing because of all that he had inspired in my life. I like to think that in a small way, his legacy is living on because I am keeping a list of the books I read, inspired by him. I’m often amazed by how much that one encounter has shaped and inspired me.

 

How Starting a Blog Made Me a Healthier Person

The entire time I was reading How to Murder Your Life by Cat Marnell, I was struck by the impact that creativity had on her health journey. It especially resonated with me because her creative outlet was writing and I have loved writing for as long as I can remember.

Although I have never done drugs, Cat’s story reminded me about how creating this blog and taking the time to intentionally write have turned me into a healthier person. I know that drawing parallel’s between Cat’s drug addiction and my mental illness may be strange, but the only intended parallel is that doing something creative helped both of us in our very different situations.

My Bipolar Disorder

When I was first diagnosed with bipolar disorder, the diagnosing psychiatrist thought my condition was mild enough that I could go with or without medication. I tried a medication for about two months, but without insurance it was too expensive for me to maintain without asking my family for money (and confessing to them that I was diagnosed at a time I wasn’t ready to do that). I stopped taking the medication, and for about a year and a half did not have any major problems.

In 2014, I had a pretty bad concussion. One of the doctors I saw thought that it was possible that the concussion was making both my migraine condition and my bipolar disorder worse (although I didn’t really need a doctor to tell me that). In the years that followed, I started to actually feel like I had bipolar disorder.

Choosing to Medicate

In August of 2016, I was at one of the lowest points in my life. I had just finished my classes for my first Master’s Degree a few months before. Since January or so, my bipolar disorder had been fairly turbulent. Despite all of that, I still did not feel like I needed medication yet. I was still getting things done, even if I was not getting things done well.

However, in August I hit a low. There were problems with my family. When I completely overreacted to something because I was manic, I began to realize that I was not managing my symptoms as well as I had in the past. The situations I was dealing with that were causing me stress would have been more manageable if my mind were sound. As I watched my sister get good treatment for her bipolar disorder and become stable, I began to really desire that. I could act stable, but inside I wasn’t actually stable.

After swallowing my pride (and trust me there was a lot of it), I went to my doctor. I sat in the office and cried, telling her that I didn’t feel right. She immediately put me on a dose of medication that changed my life. Within a couple of weeks I found that I was able to focus on things for more than a couple of minutes. Best of all, the racing thoughts and crippling depression were gone. I was finally beginning to be stable.

Choosing to Write

So you might be asking yourself what this has to do with writing. It was around the same time that I chose to go to the doctor and start taking medication that I also realized that I needed a creative outlet. My jobs were feeling especially unfulfilling (even if that feeling was only temporary) and I wanted to have something that I could build and create that was my own.

I had been reading a book or two a week at that point, and thought that a book review blog would be really fun. Because I was especially enjoying biographies and memoirs, I thought it would be great to keep the focus on those books.

Growing as a Writer

When I first started this blog, I didn’t know anything about blogging. I knew how to write, and knew how to use Blogger. I got a free site there and began to write posts weekly (on a pretty ugly site). While I worked at my cleaning job, I began to listen to podcasts about blogging and writing. They gave me a focus and an energy I hadn’t had for a long time.

Since August, I’ve learned a lot about writing and blogging. I bought a domain and moved my blog to WordPress. I’ve started adding more content and asking friends to write guest posts for the blog. And as the blog has grown, so have I.

While the medication has been a big part of getting healthier, medication does not give me self-confidence. Medication does not force me to have self-discipline. Blogging has forced me to build time into my schedule for creating and editing my content.

While there are still Mondays when I don’t post (sorry!), those days are fewer and fewer. I have gotten better at sticking to my schedule, and have gained so much confidence through my writing. That confidence has carried over into other parts of my life. I feel like blogging has brought me to a very healthy place and turned me into a better person.

 

How to Murder Your Life

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How to Murder Your Life by Cat Marnell was funny, dark and irreverent. It was the perfect guilty pleasure read that had enough good hidden inside it to justify the cringe-worthy content.

How to Murder Your Life by Cat Marnell
How to Murder Your Life by Cat Marnell

Cat grew up the middle child of two psychiatrists. Her father’s temper and the problems between her parents made home life turbulent. In her teenage years, she went to boarding school. It was there that she was first introduced to Ritalin and its ability to take her from failing grades to the top grades in the school. Unfortunately, Cat failed to take her Ritalin as prescribed and her lifelong addiction to prescription medication began. In her senior year of high school, she became pregnant, dropped out of school, and had an abortion.

Cat slowly worked her way back through the depression in the aftermath of her abortion, finding a passion for fashion journalism. As she attended college, she worked as an intern at several different fashion magazines. Even as she began to build a career, though, her addiction only escalated. She added to her prescription medication harder drugs. She spiraled out of control, landing in rehab multiple times. It was only through creativity that she eventually regained some amount of control over her life.

The Inner Life of an Addict

Perhaps I was overly naive to think that prescription medication addicts stole their pills from relatives or bought their pills on the black market. Cat writes extensively about the process of shopping for doctors who would write prescriptions for her, and how easy it was for her to walk in and get exactly what she wanted from different doctors. While there were occasions where she got pills in other ways, she primarily got her medication legitimately. That’s terrifying.

The first time she went to rehab, she did not get better because she did not want to give up drugs. Cat wanted to have a better grasp on her life, but she did not want to give up all of her addictive behaviors. She just didn’t want to feel as addicted as she did.

It wasn’t until she really wanted to get better that she was able to improve her life as much as she did. In the end, she still uses Adderall. She has given up other drugs and even drinking. Although I wanted to get to the end of the book and read about her giving up all of her addictions and addictive behaviors, part of me realizes that with her underlying ADHD she probably needs some amount of medication as treatment. With her history of abusing medication, though, she realizes that she is in a delicate place where she can easily end up back in the the throes of addiction.

The Power of Words

At one point, Cat checked herself into a mental hospital as a way of avoiding rehab. When the psychiatrist realized she was not depressed, she wanted to get Cat to go to rehab. When Cat refused, the psychiatrist called her parents and had them visit. Infuriated, Cat refused to be a part of the conversation with them. After years of bottling up her anger and frustration toward her father, she told him off (with some profanity I won’t use here).

The part that resonated with me was that she didn’t feel the satisfaction she thought she would. Instead, she immediately felt regret. The words she thought would make her feel so good and powerful did just the opposite.

Our words are powerful. I can think of several times I’ve said something that I’ve immediately regretted. Words have the ability to stick with you for years, and you may not even know if your words are the ones someone has carried with them for so long. Even if you’re angry or have been angry for years, it’s worth it to be careful what you say.

The Power of Creativity

At one point, Cat’s grandma tried to help her by having her meet with a life coach a couple times a week. The life coach had Cat take several personality tests. When she looked over the results, she found that Cat was extremely creative. She believed that if that creativity could be properly channeled, Cat may be able to more easily keep herself from depression and addiction.

It was not until Cat came to write this book that she was able to get healthier and fight back against her addiction. She is now able to work from home doing freelance writing. The creativity that writing allows her has given her a lot of fulfillment. It is a part of her personality that she needed to satisfy in order to feel complete.

I love the idea of getting to the core of who we are and what we were really made to do. I wholeheartedly believe that when we fight against our personality in our vocation, it leads to depression and can lead to addiction. And perhaps pursuing our passion cannot always be a career. The things we are passionate about do not always pay the bills, but we can make time for them (even if it’s a few minutes a day). When we find that thing that makes us tick, that passion will shine through all parts of our lives.

Quick Review

There is a lot not to like in this book. Cat Marnell’s excessive use of profanity can be off-putting, since hardly a page passes without some curse word. In addition she uses anti-Semitic racial slurs as well as other offensive language to describe the people in her life. Despite these things, there are enough redeeming qualities in the book that I enjoyed it immensely. Overall, I found her to be funny. Her writing style was excellent. And her ability to capture the inner life of an addict gave me real insight into an addiction I had not given much thought to. I highly recommend this book to anyone who is looking for an interesting read about prescription addiction.

Discussion Topic: What is the Best Memoir You’ve Ever Read?

What is the best memoir you’ve ever read? Why did you love it so much?

Personally, I loved Find Me Unafraid by Kennedy Odede and Jessica Posner. I found it heartbreaking and inspiring. It was a memoir that not only kept me interested, but changed the way I thought about charity work in poorer communities. A close second would be the haunting memoir by Amanda Knox, Waiting to be Heard. It rattled me and made me feel so saddened for those who face injustice like she did.

Let me know your favorites in the comments. I’d love to know!