Tag Archives: addictions

Reading as self-examination

I enjoy and am challenged by books written from the perspective of an unreliable narrator. The most recent one I read was The Good House by Ann Leary. Hildy Good is a descendant of one of the witches hung in Salem. She lives in the area north of Boston.


The Good House by Ann Leary

The challenge for me came from deciding how much of her story was true and how much was skewed by her drinking. Her self-awareness and denial entertained me, but kept me wondering how far off she was in describing her behavior. Her children sent her to a rehab center, so she had to be less in control than she thought. But was her denial any different from what I might do? Do I want to face my behaviors truthfully? Deal with them rather than justify them?

Reading is for entertainment, education, and self-examination. The Good House covered all those purposes. What book has done that for you recently? Do you tend to stick with one purpose more than the others?

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Into the Free

I love a book that grabs me by that vacant place where my tonsils used to be and doesn’t let go. Into the Free is such a book. Julie Cantrell created a loveable character in Millie Reynolds. Loveable because she’s tough, honest, and still vulnerable. Millie longs for a stable family where the adults fill their roles, and she doesn’t have to.


Into the Free conveys Depression-era Mississippi innocence along with the harshness of survival in a time of unemployment and poverty. Life is hard, Millie’s family life is harder, and still she marches on. While not duplicating Harper Lee’s Scout, Millie has enough of a Scout echo to strum heartstrings that adore Alabama’s favorite heroine. Millie’s music is an original song that captures her struggles and joys. It still plays in my head.

A five-star book for me is one that I’ll read again and that I find myself pondering scenes from as if they happened to someone I know. Into the Free is a definite five-star.

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