In the past, I'd generally stick to pure fiction in my reading material. I love to get lost in other people's imaginations, and I like that there are no constraints. But ever since I picked a memoir I'd read a review about (A Girl Named Zippy) I've been on a non-fiction kick.
Last night I finished a book called The Lost Years by Kristina Wandzilak and Constance Curry. It chronicles years of alcohol and drug abuse by a girl (Kristina) who was once an athletic, bright, and popular high school student who had the world at her feet. After Kristina's first drink of alcohol in high school, her life spirals down into an alcohol and narcotic addiction that tears her family apart and leaves Kristina herself broken and nearly dead.
Contance, Kristina's mother, whose marriage is troubled and whose husband is also an alcoholic, is at a loss as to how to help her daughter until she begins to take charge of her own life. As she grows and finds a strength she never knew she had, she realizes the only way to help Kristina is not to help her at all.
I cried several times while reading this book. It is emotionally wrenching and powerful, each scene recounted first by daughter and then by mother, in their own unique perspectives. How they lived through this ordeal, which is no doubt being played out thousands of times every day in this country, is inspirational. I recommend it if only for reaffirmation of the resiliance of the human spirit.