Tag Archives: alcohol abuse

Book Review: Stepping Stones – Easy to Read, Hard to Forget

Stepping Stones

A Memoir of Addiction, Loss and Transformation

By Marilea C. Rabasa

Marilea is a daughter, mother, teacher, former ambassador’s wife, bulimic and alcoholic. She also suffers from depression. The road to her recovery is complex and heartbreaking at times, but uplifting and encouraging. Family history of alcoholism, addiction and mental illness plays a part of her journey as well as the journey she and her children follow.

This memoir does not whitewash the pain and suffering of Marilea and her family, nor does it make excuses. She allows the reader into her world that is a contradiction at times. She is elegant and intelligent at functions as an ambassador’s wife, but after the party is over, she will binge and purge in seclusion. Like her mother before her, the problems with alcohol are hidden from her family – or so she thinks.

Her lifelong struggle is not easy, addiction often wins. Sheer determination and the will to survive gives her the courage to follow the program she finally embraces. Just like you and me, each day she must make choices that affect her as well as those around her. Marilea bares her soul about her previous and current choices without pulling any punches. Her honesty is refreshing.

Written in short chapters (some only a page or paragraph long), Marilea writes about the good, bad and the ugly. Her fast-paced memoir is easy to read, but hard to forget. From her childhood to her retirement she shares her joy and pain, love and losses with candor and true stories of her life.

I recommend Stepping Stones to all readers. Every person knows someone who has an addiction or suffers from mental illness. Marilea’s journey to the place she is today is heartwarming and encouraging. I loved this book.

DISCLOSURE OF MATERIAL CONNECTION: I have a material connection because I received a review copy from publicist Maryglenn McCombs in exchange for a fair and honest review. Copyright © 2020 Laura Hartman

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Book Review: The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie

Absolute True Diary...

The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian

by Sherman Alexie

230 pages

Arnold Spirit Junior was supposed to die at during surgery when he was six months old. Born on a Spokane Indian Reservation, he was too much cerebral spinal fluid on his brain that had to be drained off right away. His head is large and he needs thick glasses. He talks slow and is bullied by most of the kids and some of the adults on the Reservation. Yet, he is the wisest kid I have ever read about.

Life is tough for him, yet he keeps on going. His family is close. When you don’t have anything including steady meals you learn to depend upon your immediate and extended family.

After an altercation at the Indian school, Junior’s teacher advises him to get out. He feels Junior will never survive if he stays on the Res. With alcoholic parents and no future to speak of except a life of poverty, Junior decides he wants to go to a white school off of the Reservation.

Even though the kids live within twenty miles of the Res, it is a different world with different rules. Junior is in a foreign place trying to learn the rules and language without harming himself or anyone else.

This book is amazing. The characters are so well developed I felt like I could have a conversation with them. The tragic events this fourteen-year-old boy experienced are more intense than most adults will experience. But don’t get the impression that this is a sad, depressing book. It is a book about hope, over-coming challenges and taking risks. The lessons Junior learns are life lessons all of us should appreciate and heed.

This novel deals with human and often controversial issues in an honest and straightforward way without the sugar-coated illusions in other books. There are sexual situations (yeah, he is a 14 year-old – what did you expect?), alcohol abuse (unfortunately this is a problem on Indian Reservations), salty language (see the earlier note about how old these kids are), and the problem with fitting in/bullying are all throughout the book. This is the reason it was placed on the list of banned books.

Unless your teen has been living in seclusion or away from all other kids and social media, I don’t really think there is anything in Alexie’s book that they haven’t seen or heard. It is such an amazing read with subtle ways to cope with bullying and making your life work when it seems like nothing is going your way I would honestly have allowed my sons to read it. I would have bought it for them. If you are concerned – read it first or at the same time and discuss it.

And if you live in country that gives you the freedom of deciding what you want to read – I am happy for you. I take that freedom seriously so nothing makes me want to read a book more than placing it on a banned list. There are just so many I don’t know if I’ll ever have time to read them all, but am extremely happy that I read this one.

If you read it, or have read it – let me know your thoughts.

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