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on March 11, 2013
It's probably harsh, but having dealt with addicts in my own life, the reaction of the family was extremely disappointing. Instead of trying to find help (or even educating themselves) the family gives the daughter an ultimatum -- stop using or live somewhere else -- which doesn't work. Shock!

I know that it's hard to know what to do and everyone wants to help their children, but this family just seemed in shambles... they kept letting their daughter back in the family home (with other children) on vague promises. Not that the daughter didn't WANT to be clean, but heroin is not like quitting cigarettes. You can't just say "no" and hold out for a few days and then everything is okay. Lewry seemed to never learn that lesson, even while taking her daughter to various hotels and vacation spots to detox and 'clean up' -- which never solves the problem. And yet the parents never seemed to learn. This cycle is repeated multiple times and Lewry admits to giving her daughter valium and other prescription drugs to help her kick heroin (again, it doesn't work like that).

It seems like this family was just hoping Amber would go away (totally understandable if you've had an addict in your home) and looked the other way while she was dealing drugs with her boyfriend and didn't want to face reality, even when Amber is arrested. Instead of allowing her to be punished (and possibly get clean) they bail her out yet again and bring her home - to lie, cheat, and steal from her family AGAIN. Like I said, I understand how hard it is to help an addict, but this family never seemed to do any of the "basics" like asking for medical help or going to AA/NA/Al Anon, etc.

All in all, this book is a helpful WHAT NOT TO DO if you find out your child is using drugs. DON'T be passive. DON'T accept promises. If you want to help, you have to ACT. And it is also totally valid to just say goodbye and let them go -- but you can't be wishy washy. Otherwise, you'll get a story like Amber's where a small time drug habit turned into a full blown addiction and a variety of substances, which cost her years of her life, her health, and also friends (who were dying all around her).
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on February 10, 2013
I'm very close to someone who has struggled with heroin addiction for 10 years, so I speak from experience. I don't understand all the fabulous reviews of this book. Characters are undeveloped and dialogue over-simplified. When Amber, the addict, gets released from jail for the first time, a detective brings her home and tells her mother,"We're going to drop Amber off to pick up her car, if that's okay with you. I'm sure she'll come straight home." Wha...??? She comes home high, of course. Mom proceeds to tell her she can't live at home if she's using, it has to stop, etc. Then, around 40% into the book, Amber tells her mom, "I can't manage a whole day on my own without something." Without missing a beat, Mom replies, "Okay, I'll give you money for heroin," and then, "This is the one and only time." It comes across like a mother giving in to a five-year-old begging for a lollipop.

This is not a portrayal of the harsh reality of heroin addiction. The worry, fear, and anguish that the mother of a junkie experiences is gut-wrenching. Here, it feels like Amber's mom is swatting at flies. I quit reading at the 58% mark, bored with Amber's day-to-day life of acquiring and using, and her mom's endless, pointless conversations that amounted to: "What to do, what to do?"

My rating of two stars is because the writing itself isn't terrible (though there are editorial errors), but I don't recommend it if you want to know what it's really like to be, live with, or love a heroin addict.
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on September 5, 2012
Christine Lewry's debut, Thin Wire, is a private, emotional roller-coaster story from hell. A story ever parent fears and a story no one wants to happen to them, their children, family members or friends.

Thin Wire is written from two points of view: that of Christine's and Amber's. Their lives are exposed for the world to view: a life full of raw emotions and feelings.

As a young single mother, Christine, did what others had done and are still doing today: working outside the home to take care of a child.

As time goes by and the child, Amber, began to act out, her actions were taken as a "naughty child," not a child screaming for help.

Once Christine married and had other children, Amber started to feel left out. Because of Amber's attitude and behavior, Christine was content to let her go her own way. Perhaps even thinking that she could do nothing about the situation and if Amber really needed her, she would let Christine know. All the while neither realizing what was missing from the mother/daughter relationship: communication.

The fight for Amber to overcome her addiction to heroin was a powerful battle. Powerful in fact that Christine would do almost anything to help her daughter get clean and to gain back her health. Powerful in the fact that the drug had its hooks into Amber so strong she could not get free by herself.

Even though the battle against heroin was raging around them, life had to go on with everyday happenings: other family members needs and wants and work.

To feel normal is nearly impossible when one is dealing with dishonesty, distrust, and theft on a daily basis. Yet these are what families deal with everyday, in the name of unconditional love, when they have a loved who is an addict, whether it be drugs or alcohol or both.

The addict, who does the lying, cheating, stealing, etc., also deals with the issues that they know these things are wrong, yet, they can't break free of the hooks that are searing inside their skin even though they are trying hard of break free.

Thin Wire exposes the reader to both sides (the addict and those who are helping them overcome addiction) and because of this, anyone and everyone will benefit from this book.

This book would make an excellent tool for drug and alcohol counselors and for drug and alcohol educational classes. And a copy of this book should be in every school, every library, and every drug and alcohol rehabilitation center in the world.Thin Wire
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on July 31, 2012
I just finished reading Thin Wire by Christine Lewry.

I couldn't put this book down until I had read it all. I was completely fascinated by the story of Christine and her daughter, Amber. Christine, a cancer survivor, goes to great lengths to keep Amber, a heroin addict, off the drugs.

The story was a real page turner. It was beautifully written and very detailed.

I had no idea that heroin addiction could be such a struggle. It was shocking to read.

I love to read personal stories and Thin Wire was one of the best memoirs I've ever read. It was an absolutely amazing story.
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on March 20, 2013
I appreciated this Mother and daughter take on the daughter's addiction with heroin. I had an older brother who passed due to his addiction (not heroin) and certain parts of their story hit home. I wish the best for them both.
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on March 26, 2015
I read this book because I work with addicts on a daily basis but have never been an addict myself. I was hoping to gain some insight from the addict's point of view. I don't know if it's a cultural difference (since it is placed in England) or what, but I was continually frustrated by how these people dealt with (or rather did not deal with) Amber's addiction. You can't just take a pill and think the problem is addressed. I can't believe Amber and her mother kept referring to Amber as clean when she was smoking weed, drinking, and using crack. Seriously? It's not until the epilogue you learn Amber eventually did get into therapy. Her mother was incredibly enabling and naive as well. It seemed like the book glossed over the pain and destruction an addict brings to the people who love them. I managed to finish the book, but just barely.
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on July 25, 2013
This book helped to understand the emotions of a mother her feelings of hope as well as despair of what her daughter was going thru and believing that her daughter would be okay, even though she kept relapsing. This book also would allow a reader to understand what her daughters feelings where and what she felt on a daily basis. This horrible disease addiction controls a person and this book helps one to understand more of what addiction really does to an addict.
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on January 25, 2013
I have so much respect for Christine for writing this book and for never giving up on her daughter. Her strength to endure the years of her daughters drug abuse is just phenomenal. Everyone should read this. It tells you some of the real life struggles of an addict to endure and overcome their addiction. It lets you know just how much control drugs have over a persons mind and the every moment struggle to overcome using drugs.
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on February 11, 2014
This book was so frustrating for me. I was pulled in, wanting to see how the story ended, even though the writing is just so-so. Although the mom is listed as the author, it seemed like more of the book was written by the daughter; it was interesting to read from the addict's perspective. However, the mom just enabled her daughter from beginning to end and never really seemed to realize she was doing this. (I had to laugh when I saw her tips at the end and one of them was to not give the addict money, which she did over and over, to the point of buying her a condo, a car, etc.)

The daughter keeps saying she's 'clean' even as she smokes pot daily, gets drunk, smokes crack, etc. One of the last scenes in the book has the mom and daughter drinking together. I'm sorry, but replacing heroin with a smorgasbord of other drugs is not getting clean, by a long shot.

This did not seem to be a story with a happy ending, but rather a story of addiction that continues today, just to a variety of drugs instead of only heroin, along with a mother that never did realize she was making the problem worse. This girl really needed to be in a serious rehab program.
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on January 21, 2013
Definitely worth reading, especially if you have a family member dealing with the same struggle. This book offers hope to struggling addicts and their loved ones.
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