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Swenson, SandraThe Joey Song: A Mother’s Story of Her Son’s AddictionCentral Recovery. Sept. 2014. 200p., ISBN 9781937612719. pap. $15.95;  ebk. ISBN 9781937612726.PSYCH

lj logoSwenson relates an honest, courageous story of her many years of struggle with her defiant, delusional, and addicted son. Instead of yet another personal memoir from a recovering addict, Swenson displays a valuable focus on how the toxic corrosion of addiction affects relationships with family and friends. She also shares how writing her story helped to release some of the pain, ventilate her anxieties, and allowed her to better manage the never-ending worries about her son’s problems and his shaky future, even as he failed to realize that only he had the power to change his life. Swenson candidly admits that her son’s addiction remains active and explains how she learned to refocus her efforts on other parents of loved ones suffering from substance abuse who might need help finding a path to recovery. This heart­breaking tale of a hurting family is the flip side of the usual heartwarming recovery story shared in most addicts’ memoirs. Coming to grips with the reality that it hurts more to hang on than to let go is a water­shed moment in the lives of most parents struggling with an addicted child. ­VERDICTSwenson’s cathartic account reveals her complex feelings about her troubled son that will connect with readers going through similar experiences in their families.—Dale Farris, Groves, TX

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