THEN THERE WAS NO MOUNTAIN: A Parallel Odyssey of a Mother and Daughter Through Addiction

Ellen Waterston, Author
Ellen Waterston, Author . Taylor $22.95 (208p) ISBN 978-1-58979-046-9
Paperback - 187 pages - 978-1-58979-247-0
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Writer Waterston bravely revisits a painful period of her life in her first book. With a "passion for the marriage and life [she] wanted to believe [she] had," Waterston "clung to a distorted view," which kept her from recognizing the damaging effects her husband's drug addiction had on the couple's three children. Once Waterston, at 39, realized she had stayed in the marriage "beyond reason," she gathered the children (ages 10, eight and five), packed the family station wagon and evacuated their Oregon ranch. What followed was a series of dying dreams and "pie crust promises, easily made and easily broken." The author writes candidly about her desire to keep her children engaged in enough activities so they wouldn't risk being lured into the "dark" life their father lived. But she couldn't stop them from succumbing to peer pressure. After facing the drug addictions of her middle and youngest children (the book's subtitle is misleading, as both Sophie and Nick have drug problems), she concocted a formula that she hoped would hold life's negative influences at bay: "four times the good is needed to counter one instance of evil in the world." Waterston sheds light on the lucrative business side of rehabilitation, the fear of her children's relapses and the availability of drugs, especially for rural children. She also looks unflinchingly at her own failures as a parent and throws pointed admonitions at parents who are afraid to set firm rules for their children. "Parenting is not a popularity contest," she cautions. The lessons Waterston shares were learned by trial and error, and her book should help others who are blindly navigating their way back to health and normalcy. (Oct.)

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