Randall Grange has been tricked into admitting herself into a treatment center and she doesn’t know why. She’s not a party hound like the others in her therapy group—but then again, she knows she can’t live without pills or booze. Raised by an abusive father, a detached mother, and a loving aunt and uncle, Randall both loves and hates her life. She’s awkward and a misfit. Her parents introduced her to alcohol and tranquilizers at a young age, ensuring that her teenage years would be full of bad choices, and by the time she’s twenty-three years old, she’s a full-blown drug addict, well acquainted with the miraculous power chemicals have to cure just about any problem she could possibly have—and she’s in more trouble than she’s ever known was possible.
Before I get into the book review, I did want to take a second and let anyone know who reads these that thanks to my participation in the BookSparks’ Fall Reading Challenge (#FRC2015), I was chosen as the grand prize winner and I will be receiving an Apple MacBook Pro 13 as my grand prize! I can’t wait and I’m so excited and thankful to BookSparks for the privilege of being part of this challenge and for winning the grand prize!
So okay, I’m still trying to wrap up some of my reviews from BookSparks’ Fall Reading Challenge 2015. Today’s review is on the BookSparks “class” called Rehabilitation Studies in the Fiction Department. Having 23 years of sobriety in January, 2016, the title of this book certainly piqued my curiosity for sure!
My road to recovery did not resemble the walk of the main character of this book, a young girl named Randall Grange. How to Grow an Addict starts out with the main character entering rehab and being asked by her counselor what ‘three things’ led her to become an addict. As the title suggests, the book then begins to share the story of Randall’s growing up and basically shares with readers exactly what caused Randall to be an addict, and ultimately, we go back to get a glimpse of the beginnings of her recovery as well.
The author succeeds at sharing the voice of a child with much more honesty than expected. Randall is young, naive and doesn’t understand adult situations like alcoholism and family struggles in general. She is desperate to be noticed and to be loved by her father and tries so hard to please him. At the same time, she feels feelings of hatred for him for his actions. She blames herself for the death of an uncle by marriage, only to discover many years later that he had a heart attack and his death was of no cause of hers. With no one explaining life to her, how could Randall think anything other than what her childish mind could imagine.
While her father is an alcoholic, Randall’s mother is also emotionally unavailable and is very fond of various pills to help her sleep and/or forget the pain of her own life. Randall learns early on that those pills will help her erase the pictures in her mind and she helps herself to her mother’s pills with no consequences, thus entering into the beginning stages of her drug addiction. Randall’s brother can do no wrong in everyone’s eyes, except for the fact that no one sees him becoming exactly like his father, with a very mean spirit.
We learn of Randall’s bad choices and her dependency on men for love, and we read on as we watch her grow into a young woman who uses her body in exchange for pills. It was very realistic and painful and I could identify with portions of the story pertaining to the lack of self worth while I not in recovery too.
I really felt that author did a great job with the characters and that they were very well written. They could actually be real people I that I have known or could know. It’s not one of those “happily ever after” books, but it mixes great humor and honesty while sharing a very powerful portrayal of a dysfunctional family and one woman’s harrowing journey through childhood and into rehab.
I’m not sure if it’s because I’m farther and farther away from my last drink/drug, or if I’m just a prude, but I did feel that the language and sexual content when Randall’s addiction were in full force were a little too much for my liking. Overall, the book had a great story and a quick read, but I do think the book would have been just as good without being so explicit. That’s just my opinion.
I received a complimentary paperback copy of this book from the publishers and BookSparks in exchange for this post, which is my honest review and unbiased opinion.