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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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Everything I Never Wanted to Be: A Memoir of Alcoholism and Addiction, Faith and Family, Hope and Humor + Memoirs Aren't Fairytales: A Story of Addiction (The Memoirs Series)
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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: 8.5 x 5.5 x 0.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.1 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (221 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #45,959 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews


"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

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

Very well written & easy to read.
Lauren Wampler
I highly recommend this book to anyone who is struggling with drug/alcohol addiction/abuse...whether they are suffering themselves or helping someone they love.
Thank you to you and all your family for sharing your journey with us.
Helen H. Mckinney

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

32 of 33 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.
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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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15 of 17 people found the following review helpful By lisayazzie on November 3, 2010
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I met Dina and her husband John while they were visiting their daughter Carly and she invited me to a comedy show she was doing in Tucson. Knowing very well, a comedian must have REAL talent to make me laugh, I went to the comedy club that night. I was completely blown away with Dina's amazing ability to take real life situations and make them hilarious without exaggeration! I knew these were her real experiences having sat with her daughter. Dina had no mercy on us as we gasped for air and prayed she would stop only for a moment to give the burning of our stomach muscles a rest!
Her book is no different. She has no need to spice up, exaggerate, or make up her writing. Her story is a heartfelt, witty, traumatic & intense journey that leaves you feeling like you are not alone & someone out there also struggles to keep their family in together despite the obstacles.
During a workshop with her family, me and my daughter had dinner with them. Reading Dina's book brought back memories of how she made us laugh with the stories of her family & how we were unable to finish our salads with "oversized leafs" of lettuce!
I don't know Dina's older daughters but I do know Carly and she is an amazingly intelligent woman! Dina captures this in her book and has reason to be very proud despite the wreckage she has had to endure! It was amazing to watch Carly's healing take place and to see what a real asset in others recovery process she was.
I have had many moments since reading her book where I think I have it tough, and then remember how Dina rushed to the hospital because her daughter had overdosed again. Moments where I have thought about planning a vacation, and then remembered how Disneyland turned out for them.
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