71 of 73 people found the following review helpful
on February 13, 2012
Having read many books about addiction, I wondered what would make this one different and more absorbing than the rest. Right from the start, I found the difference immediately. Ms. Mann possesses a gift for creating characters and situations that kept me riveted to her book. This author paints a vivid picture of a young woman so heavily addicted to hard-core drugs that she has no love or feelings for anyone or anything else except her drug of choice. Instead of making me grow attached to the main characters in her book, I was drawn in by how their innate personalities disappeared when ruled by their addictions. With her exceptional ability for detail,Ms. Mann taught me so much more than I ever knew about a world that no human being ever wants to enter. Yet, I know this world truly exists, and I learned so much about those who enter this alternate universe. The author understands how families react in hopeless situations; i.e., trying to help, becoming confused, attempting to fix the situation with unconditional love, resigning themselves and coping by turning away from their loved one.
Ms. Mann kept me turning page after page to find out what could possibly take place next. A lot happens in this book. However, the story flows without becoming choppy or sloppy. This author has a unique style which I personally find exciting. I have closed many books before finishing them because they just do not hold my interest , but definitely not this one. I look forward to reading more books by Ms. Mann.
53 of 54 people found the following review helpful
on April 29, 2012
I decided that I had to read this book, not only because the subject matter was of personal interest to me, but because I wanted to see if the author knew what she was talking about...a friend sent it to me, and...
I started reading. I kept reading. I got sucked in, and couldn't put it down. The whole time I was reading, one part of my brain was engaged in how gruesomely entertaining Nicole's story was, and the other was how gruesomely accurate the depiction of addiction was. My first thought after finishing the very last sentence was, "Wow."
My second thought was that every single Addictions Therapist or Counselor who has not experienced an addiction of their own should be mandated to read Nicole's story. Here's the catch. This is a work of fiction, technically. "Nicole" doesn't exist. But the reality is that there are thousands and thousands of men and women like Nicole.
Some people will avoid this book because it will make them uncomfortable. That's ok. But if you want to know what addiction really is like, if you want to understand how someone smart, talented, and seeming to have it all ends up living on the streets, then you must read it. If you want to hear the story of thousands of young people in the U.S., read this book. If you want to know the faces of the hundreds of people I have worked with over the past 11+ years, read this book. If you know and love someone who has an addiction, read this book. Marni Mann has created a masterpiece.
31 of 32 people found the following review helpful
on February 28, 2012
I really didn't know what to expect when I loaded Marni Mann's "Memoirs Aren't Fairytales" into my Kindle. I knew that it was a story about drug addiction. I just didn't know that it was so much more than a study about, or examination of, drug abuse and addiction. Memoirs Aren't Fairytales transcends the normal drug addiction fare by placing you firmly within the mind of a drug addict. You are front row and center to the life and habits of a fatalistic user who has fallen prey to her drug of choice (heroin), causing her to spiral out of control into a destructive, dark hole. Beware: like addiction, this story grabs a hold of you and doesn't let go.
At times while reading this book I felt off balance, queasy and disoriented. Presumably by design, the author injects you into a seedy, rat and roach infested, drug-induced journey through hell. As the story progresses the landscape (the streets of Boston, Massachusetts) turns from vivid and colorful to dark and bleak. At times, due to some pretty heady subject matter, you are compelled to turn, or look, away. But, the main character, Nicole, doesn't allow you to do so. She just keeps pulling you deeper into the tangled web she has weaved. And, we walk in her dubious shoes throughout the story. Stepping into Nicole's troublesome shoes is like riding a train that's gone off of the rails. We are not only sorely seeking sobriety for her, but helplessly watching her life slip away as she 'Chases the Dragon.'
The story is not for the faint of heart. It is not a fairytale. How could a story about drug abuse be easy to digest? But it isn't terribly difficult to endure and swallow either. In fact, it's a thoroughly captivating tale that leaves you wanting more. You want to read this book. It calls upon you like an addictive drug to keep turning the pages. The funny thing is while turning the pages you get lost in the journey. Just like a drug can cause you to lose track of time so does this story. When I was finished with the book I was sad that it had ended. I wanted to know more about what had become of Nicole and her battle with addiction. By the way, I've heard that Marni Mann is busy writing the next installment. So, those questions will be answered.
The characters in this book are fully developed real people. If you like stories about real people placed within precarious predicaments then this book is for you. I think you'll find the characters to be sympathetic, complex and three dimensional. You will feel as if you know, or have known them in some incarnation or another. This is especially true of Nicole and her family. These are real people with real problems. I related to their tragic, difficult plight as they wrestled with their daughter and her demons. And, the author does a good job of making you pull for Nicole, the main character, to get sober while painting a wonderful and heart wrenching portrait of life on the streets.
One thing I kept wondering while reading the book was, did this really happen to the author? Is this her actual true-to-life addiction memoir? Is Nicole really Marni Mann? Did she experience what her main character went through? It's hard to believe that she didn't. The story feels so real that Nicole seems like an aka for Marni Mann. I know that the author did extensive research before writing this book and it shows.
The title is fitting for this tragic tale. Memoirs Aren't Fairytales. They're about the harsh reality that drugs can claim your soul. That addiction is very real, very destructive and very dangerous. If you had any doubts about it they while be vanquished after reading this story. This book, written brilliantly by debut author Marni Mann, is a compelling examination of drug use in our society. If you want to get lost within a mesmerizing story while learning a thing or two about addiction then Memoirs Aren't Fairytales is for you. Published by Booktrope Editions, you can find it available at Amazon, Barnes & Noble and iTunes among other venues. Or you can go to [...]
11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
on April 18, 2012
I don't ever leave these reviews. I read this book in one day. I literally could not put it down. Nicole is one of the best drawn characters I have ever read. Marni Mann tells this story flawlessly. After I finished the book I still thought about it days later. It left its mark on me and I know it will leave its mark on you too. A MUST read. If you are going to read one book this year, make it this one.
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
on January 6, 2012
This book was a no holds barred description of a girl and her spiral downward thanks to an ever growing drug addiction. It was vividly detailed and Mann doesn't pull any punches in telling the reality of what happens to addicts and how they go from thinking they are better than the junkies and how they end up doing things they never thought they would in order to get their fix. I like that while things were on their way to improving, Mann doesn't leave us with a happy "everything will be rosy and grand" kind of ending, because anyone who knows anything about addiction would have taken that as fairytale.
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on May 11, 2012
........this is the life of a heroin addict. This book portrays it like it really is. Dirty, desperate and willing to do anything to score a hit this young woman, barely out of her teens, gets drawn into the life of drugs. Her life is a swift downward spiral as she seeks any way she can to score.Her family tries to help her but the lure of that hit is just too strong, she steals from her brother and puts his own life in danger as a result.
This book really shows the ugly side of an addict. Living in the same clothes for days on end, not showering, allowing her body to be used by men, eating food out of dumpsters, living in vermin infested lodging. Her body falls apart and despite the best efforts of family and a kind friend, she cannot resist the lure of chasing the dragon.
I remember a movie many years ago called Christiane F I think it was, which was in the same vein, if you pardon the pun. I thought that movie was bad, but reading this book vividly brought to life what a drug user will go through. Almost losing her own life still doesn't stop her until the death of someone very close to her happens as a result of her drug use.
I could feel her pain, feel the agony she went through as she yearned for her next hit, the side effects of withdrawal seemed real, it's as though the author has lived through this herself.
It's a ebook that I couldn't put down, I didn't want to put down despite feeling sick to my stomach at reading some of things Nicole endured.
It's not a book for those who want a happy ever after even though the ending is a positive one, it's only a small positive. We don't know [yet] if Nicole does overcome her addiction, if she can live a life without heroin. It's a book for those who like to live emotions through word, feel pain and revulsion and hopefully this is a book that can be read and be remembered in case such a temptation falls your way in life. Just one 'taste' could lead you down the same path as Nicole.
I can't recommend this book highly enough. I think all teens should read it, especially those tempted by drugs, and parents of drug addicts.
Well written, hopefully there will be a sequel so we can find out how Nicole came through in the end.
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on February 22, 2013
Memoirs Aren't Fairytales: A Story of Addiction (The Memoir Series) is one of the most gut-wrenching pieces I've read regarding the consequences of addiction. This author certainly doesn't sugar-coat the filth, the despair and the guilt that travels hand-in-hand with drug addiction.
Wrong choices were made by Nicole at an early age, but she and fellow users all believed they were stronger than the "dragon," heroin that soon consumes their lives. Pot smoking isn't enough to escape bad memories and empty feelings, so they quickly find the allure of heroin, preferring the "nod" to the here and now. From petty stealing to prostitution to prison, no steps are left out in this telling of personal loss. "Anything for a taste of the dragon" wraps up the downward spiral for the main characters.
What is more chilling than the graphic descriptions of drug use is the gapping lack of self-feeling. The deterioration of the body is evident - rotting teeth, weight loss, etc., but it's the detachment of the mind that is the worst of heroin's effects. Friends overdose and die, loved ones are shot to death, babies are miscarried, acquaintences are beat up - all without registering on the drug's inner mental meter.
This should be mandatory reading for anyone experimenting with drugs, but also for those dealing with addicts. This dark piece of work will stay with you long after the last page is read.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on March 14, 2013
Jeez I was a wreck while reading this book. I just couldn't stop tearing up and occasionally yelling, telling Nicole to stop being so dumb! Mean, I know.
Memoirs Aren't Fairytales: A Story of Addiction is an absolute emotional tear jerking rollercoaster. I cried my eyes out at certain parts of this story, I couldn't help it Marni Mann went to some dark places when she wrote this book and there were several times where I actually had to put it down because it got so intense, which was hard to do because I was dying to know what happened next.
It's hard to imagine what people with an addiction go through and what life is like for them, but Mann cracks open that barrier and gives us a peak into their mind frame by following Nicole and Eric's descent into hard core drug use. At first I didn't understand why Nicole was hurting so much, why she felt the need to get loss in the abyss of drugs, prostitution, and thievery. But the deeper into the story you get, hints start popping up.
Things she thinks or says until finally you see her breaking point in a flashback. You see what happened that caused this fall from all American college girl to what she became throughout this book. When Nicole and Eric first move to Boston you think maybe things will be okay, but it isn't long before they start spiraling out of control.
Nicole seems to be a different person when she's on drugs and the people they, encounter on their journey, well, they aren't pretty. I felt terrible for Nicole's family once they finally figured out what was going on. I don't want to spoil anything major for those of you who haven't read this book yet, but I will say there is more than one death in it.
It takes a really good writer to be able to tell a story like this and not go overboard or sugarcoat things and I think Mann did an excellent job of walking the line between the two. It's hard for me to picture anyone going to the depths that Nicole did just for a score, but I know stuff like this happens all the time and it's incredibly sad.
Memoirs Aren't Fairytales: A Story of Addiction was an amazing book and I'm looking forward to reading the second book in the series. Hopefully letting us know that Nicole is working through her issues...or not, I guess we'll see!
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on February 20, 2012
Up-and-coming indie author Marni Mann has crafted a gritty, compelling tale in MEMOIRS AREN'T FAIRYTALES, the fictional account of a young girl's descent into heroin addiction. It's a graphic and haunting story, as much a confession as a cautionary tale, and one that defies any genre label I can think of, aside from "literary fiction" - and in the most exalted, award-worthy sense of the term.
Nicole Brown begins as a college drop-out who flees hometown life in Bangor with her best friend Eric, for a big city experience in Boston. As her hand-to-mouth struggle of a new life unfurls, Nicole finds herself moving from seemingly simple weed and pills to the complexity of cocaine, before falling headlong into a full-blown heroin habit. None of this is recreational, however; Nicole suffered a brutal attack back home, the details of which she can't remember, and seeks chemical refuge from the residual pain...sometimes with tragic results. Along the way she encounters a cast of unsavory characters who mostly serve to drag her further down the rabbit hole. The maternal Claire appears amid the madness and offers a genuinely caring counterpoint to it all, but by then Nicole is in too deep for easy redemption. Readers having any familiarity with addiction will easily recognize the profile; readers new to the details of such a thing would be wise to take note. The author has done some painstaking research to create a realistic story, and uses it all to stirring effect.
As difficult as it was to recognize while I read, this is Marni Mann's debut novel. She is truly a talent to be reckoned with. Her spare, clean style gives Nicole a direct voice, frank and unsentimental in her heartbreaking, no-holds-barred telling of all that happens as her addiction progresses. The details are sometimes overwhelming; with such rich, unflinching descriptions, the reader experiences the descent as an insider, eavesdropping in the mind of a junkie every step of the way. It is entirely a credit to Mann's beautiful skill as a writer and confidence as a storyteller that, despite the difficult subject matter, the reader is compelled with every word to push on. A must read.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on December 20, 2011
Memoirs Aren't Fairytales. I'm almost at a loss for words before I begin.
I'll never think, or read these words again, without thinking about this book. If you can't tell, it touched me. Actually, that isn't fair. It did more than that. It imbedded itself on my soul.
Maybe it's because I related to this book on a personal level, but I don't believe there is a person out there that could read this book, and not feel torn up inside. You don't need to have been an addict. You don't need to have known an addict. Mann tells such a compelling and heart-wrenching story, with such realism, you'll be sucked into a world you might never have known existed.
When I started this story, I knew it was about addiction, but I didn't know what I was in for. I've had my experiences with this. I've seen what it does to people first hand. I never expected to relive it through the eyes of an addict. Memoirs Aren't Fairytales did that to me. I became Nicole. I tasted the freedom Boston had to offer. I forgot everyone else around me. And I became addicted.
The storytelling is unparalleled. The characters are powerful, unique, and real. The pacing was spot on. The emotions tasted thick on the pages. I couldn't get enough. The suspense I felt with each passing word grew. I wanted Nicole to find hope. I needed her to. I felt what her family felt as they watched her fade into darkness, and it tore my heart and soul open.
The writing was incredible. Mann's created such a powerful voice, and managed to make it come alive in a character we might otherwise think was hopeless. Even when you think there's no hope left, she's taken you so deeply into this world, you can't help but reach out for it, and hope Nicole will do the same.
When I finished this book, there was such a storm of emotions moving through me, I didn't know what was what. It took me two days to pull myself together and get my head out of the story. Two days to bury even a hint of the emotions this book left swirling inside me. Now it's been weeks, and I'm still in awe, reeling from the turmoil it left behind.
Nicole's voice is stuck in my head, and I was craving the next book before I turned the last page. Memoirs Aren't Fairytales is a must read. It'll take you on a ride like nothing else, and at the very least, leave you breathless.