Thursday, August 27, 2015

Book Review: What it Looks Like

Marta Maranda doesn’t drink, smoke, use drugs, or have destructive sexual patterns. She is committed to exercise, eats healthfully, and has never had a cup of coffee in her life. But despite not having the substance or behavioral addictions widely associated with rehab, she checked herself into a five-week program, one week after her former husband checked out, to discover her part in the dysfunction in her life.

What It Looks Like tells the story of the events that led to her decision to enter rehab voluntarily and sober, her five weeks in the clinic alongside nearly 70 addicts, and the changes in her life after she left. 

Her journey takes her inward on a quest of self-exploration and healing, out into a world of war, politics, history, sports, and spirituality, and finally home as she rebuilds her life piece by piece. And this is what it looks like.
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My Review:

The book has a really interesting concept, one I was really interested in reading about. Instead I was made to wait while the author went on about her foundations in the most factual, dry manner possible. We were not taken back to pivotal moments in time. We were just told "this is my mom and this is my dad and this is what happened." 

But maybe I'm being too critical. We can't all be Hornbacher. By the time the author actually got to the clinic it was like reading a textbook. At this point I don't know if she connected with anyone, if her husband was even THERE for family week, or if she had just been writing down anything that was on a whiteboard and this is the result. Even when we finally acknowledge that the husband is, indeed, there for family week, the passage is still incredibly narcissistic. The only thing that kept me reading was the hope that the author would show some character development. At the very least I hoped one of the lessons she learned would involve some kind of flashback. If I wanted nothing but facts and theories I would have requested a book on addiction from NetGalley, not a memoir.

Finally, about 12 percent in, we got insight into Marta's life. We got some kind of idea of what she looked like and I got the flashbacks I had been hoping for. The book got so much better once she walked away from objectivity and started getting personal. Despite the author ultimately feeling better about herself, the clinic seems pretty shady. 
1. Reach out to vulnerable loved ones a few weeks before family week. 
2. Get vulnerable loved one to come to family week and tell them it's about them, not the actual patient. 
3. Lure vulnerable loved one to week two. 
4. Tell vulnerable loved one that enrolling in a full five weeks (that insurance partially covers, I'm sure) will save their lives because they're more critical than you thought. 

Overall, I'm really happy for Marta and the revelations she had while on the path to healing, and there's a lot of really good information in this book if you're looking for self help, but the writing style just wasn't for me. Rating: 3 of 5

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