Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Review: Everything I Never Wanted to Be

From the book: Everything I Never Wanted to Be by Dina Kucera is the true story of a family's battle with alcoholism and drug addiction. Dina's grandparents were alcoholics, her father was an alcoholic, she is an alcoholic and pill addict, and all three of her daughters struggle with alcohol and drug addiction--including her youngest daughter, who started using heroin at age fourteen. Dina's household also includes her husband and his unemployed identical twin; a mother who has Parkinson's disease; a grandson who has cerebral palsy; and other people who drift in and out of the household depending on their employment situation or rehab status. On top of all that, Dina is trying to make it as a stand-up comic and author so she can quit her crumby job as a grocery store clerk. Through it all, Dina does her best to hold her family together, keep her faith, and maintain her sense of humor. As you might imagine, a story filled with alcoholics and drug addicts includes a number of horrific events. But in the end, Everything I Never Wanted to Be is an uplifting story that contains valuable lessons for parents and teens alike, and a strong message about the need to address the epidemic of teen drug addiction in our nation. It's a book that can change behavior and save lives--and make you laugh along the way.

I wasn’t sure what to expect from this book. How could one struggle with so much pain and suffering in her life, yet still find the good and humor in the situation? That is exactly what Kucera has accomplished with her memoir. She explores her past battles with addiction while trying to help each of her children as they battle their own personal demons. Intertwined with humor, this book propels the reader forward from one obstacle to the next through the entirety of her story. From a family trip to Disneyland, to Thanksgiving with a new-found stepson and her youngest daughter’s long battle with heroine addiction, Kucera displays strength and resolve to keep going, to put one foot in front of the other, and to keep on fighting.

The book was incredibly inspiring, portraying to readers many valuable lessons. You can make things happen; you just have to keep fighting. If someone tells you no, keep asking until you find someone to say yes. If you have to hit rock bottom, then hit it but never stop looking up. Even after doing everything in your power to make a situation better, sometimes you just have to hope and have faith. Never stop living, even when the tides don’t turn your way.

I greatly appreciated and admired the author’s honesty and frankness about her past and her current situation. She doesn’t try to sugarcoat certain instances and I enjoyed the book more because of it. Perhaps she sums up her thoughts best when she writes, “Most people don’t have a clear, clean and happy ending to the traumatic events in their life. I’ve had to learn to live within the trauma. Live a life while the events are happening.” This honest memoir is one best books I’ve read in recent months and I highly recommend reading it.

For more on the author, please visit her website. Get 30% off Dina's book at by entering coupon code "Dina" at checkout.

Disclosure: I was provided this book to review for TLC Tours by the publisher. However, all thoughts and opinions expressed here are my own.