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Everything I Never Wanted to Be: A Memoir of Alcoholism and Addiction, Faith and Family, Hope and Humor Paperback – October 1, 2010


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Editorial Reviews

Review

"Raw and funny." -- Joel Stein, Time Magazine columnist, Jan. 11, 2011

"Like a maelstrom." -- Gary Klinga, ForeWord Review, Oct. 5, 2010

"So absolutely over the top that it makes readers laugh out loud and thank God it is not them." -- Robin Martin, San Francisco Book Review, March 2011

"Malcolm in the Middle meets Cops." -- Jenny Mounfield, The Compulsive Reader, Sept. 2010

"Open and honest." -- Charline Ratcliff, Rebecca's Reads, Oct. 20, 2010

From the Author

From the "Acknowledgements" section of Everything I Never Wanted to Be by Dina Kucera:
My husband, my daughters, my grandson, and my mother...thank you for all the material. Good and bad. Mike O'Mary...thank you for being the one who said yes, after seventy-four people said no. Thank you, thank you for your patience and editing and believing in me and publishing this little book. Mark Shelmerdine, thank you for being my mentor and friend. I do not believe I would have been able to continue forward without your encouragement and support. Thank you could never convey how grateful I am. Thank you my sister Lisa for making me laugh and think and "suggesting" that I smooth out the rough edges. Which often included lengthy vile rants that were heavily peppered with the F word. Thank you to the random people who have come in and out of my house with warrants, in ankle bracelets, and high, drunk, or detoxing. You looked me right in the face, grinding your teeth and falling asleep in mid-sentence, and attempted to explain the problem with trucks that don't have cup holders large enough to hold a Big Gulp, and in the next breath wondered what we can do about the kids in orphanages in the Hamptons. And last, but sort of first, thank you stand-up comics across the country for making me laugh when I really didn't have anything to laugh about. From the top to the bottom of this list, I truly love you all. I get far more than I give. Thank you. -- Dina Kucera
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 216 pages
  • Publisher: Dream of Things (October 1, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0982579438
  • ISBN-13: 978-0982579435
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.5 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.1 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (254 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #117,702 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Dina Kucera was born and raised in Albuquerque, New Mexico. After completing a project to collect and identify fifty insects, she graduated from the ninth grade and left school for good. It seemed like a good idea at the time. Her first job was a paper route, and she has worked as a maid, bartender, waitress, and grocery store checker. She recently left her job as a checker to become a writer.

She has also been a stand-up comic for twenty years, for which she receives payment ranging from a small amount of money to a very, very small amount of money. When it comes to awards and recognition, she was once nominated for a Girl Scout sugar cookie award, but she never actually received the award because her father decided to stop at a bar instead of going to the award ceremony. Dina waited on the curb outside the bar, repeatedly saying to panhandlers, "Sorry. I don't have any money. I'm seven." Dina is married with three daughters, one stepson, and one grandson. She currently lives in Phoenix, Arizona.

Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

33 of 34 people found the following review helpful By Ukie2001 on January 12, 2011
Format: Paperback
When this book came up for review my first thought was: Oh yes, another family dealing with addiction. Been there, done that. But as I had nothing better to do, I went along...and read an excerpt. I was hooked.

So what makes this memoir so special? As with fiction, it's all about voice: the fairy dust that brings words to life, gives them a heartbeat. Dina has a voice many authors would cheerfully give a limb for, and what's truly amazing is I don't think she has any idea she possesses such a gift.

Recovering alcoholic and pill popper, Dina lives in Phoenix with husband John (also a recovering addict--who has a life-threatening heart condition thrown in for good measure), an infirm mother who sees things that aren't there, and at various times one or more of her three grown daughters, all of whom have addictions and various other issues. Add to this her less than glorious job at the local supermarket and what you get is a family dynamic that falls somewhere between, Malcolm in the Middle and Cops.

`My customer counts out ninety-six cents in change. "Can I get rid of this?" Of course you can. The express lane is the perfect place to unload your enormous pile of change.'

Without a doubt, the Kucera family is a family in crisis. Sadly, the crisis--or rather, crises--aren't anything unusual by today's standards; after all, the world is filled with dysfunctional families. What is unusual is how this family's matriarch has not only come to live with crisis, but bulldoze through it when so many others would have dropped the can and bolted years ago. The reason I single Dina out is that I believe this family would cease to exist without her at its head keeping it together on a daily basis.

`My house is like living with the circus.
Read more ›
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful By smskgm on November 10, 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I began reading this yesterday. At times I could barely hold in my laughter. Addiction and alcoholism isn't funny, as the author states, unless you are an addict or alcoholic. In just over 24 hours, I finished the book. While I spent yesterday laughing at the retelling of the author's crazy, out-of-control life, I also related to her suffering. The second half of her book hit home even more. Today I cried, recovered, then cried again. I have lived her life, or at least much of it. I only have one child to deal with. I've spent so much time wondering what I did wrong that I failed to see what I did right. My son has put me through quite a bit, but I have done the same to him. We've spent many months not speaking to each other. I've kicked him out of my house, dragged him to rehab, sent him to live with his father, let him sit in jail all to no avail. I realize his addiction is his. I am here to love him and support him in recovery, should he chose that course for himself. However, I am not here to financially support him or his lifestyle. Having a relationship with him is more important than trying to make him live the life I want for him. Because of this, I listen as he talks of going to college, owning his own business, and moving somewhere else (anywhere--he hates this place). I don't preach about recovery or his addiction. He doesn't believe he has a problem even though it's so obvious to the rest of us. I pray for him throughout the day and ask God to take care of him and keep him safe. I wish I had a magic wand to wipe away his addiction, but I'll settle for God. I think he's a better bet.

Anyway, if you have a child living in addiction or have been an addict or alcoholic yourself, you will certainly relate to this book. Heck, you may even learn a thing or two. If nothing else, you will take comfort knowing you are not the only one suffering--and it's okay to laugh at times. There are millions of us out here and we'll say a prayer for you tonight, too.
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Format: Paperback
If today for some reason you believe your life is falling apart, is not fair or you have been dealt a bad hand. Why is this happening to me you may say? If you may think your life is so bad, you feel you just don't know how you will get through the next day. I promise if you read "Everything I Never Wanted To Be," your outlook on life will change in an instant. Suddenly your life won't feel so bad and it might even seem like a slice of heaven. Dina Kucera has lived through hell most of her life and no hell is more real than watching your children and family struggle through addiction or mental illness, while feeling overwhelmed and helpless as you try to care for those members and try to be everything to everyone, until you yourself are run down into the ground. There is so much in this book I couldn't even begin to explain what Kucera has gone through. What I liked most about Dina's book is that it is raw and real, she did not sugar coat anything and honestly told her story completely from her heart and did not hold anything back. Was she probably embarrassed for herself, her family, her children when thinking about how the whole world would react once they read her story? Did she have doubts about writing this memoir, probably so? But I am more than sure that the weight Dina has been caring on her shoulders has gotten a heck of a lot lighter after writing this book and it will bring her much healing. I read this book without judgement and I still place no blame on anyone after finishing it. None of us are given a book at birth that tells us how life will be, how it should be or how we should behave. If you were blessed with good parents that raised you well, then you have been truly blessed.Read more ›
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