Living in the House of Drugs

Oh no you don't! We'll have none of that in my house. Scrappy is very impressionable...and willing to try anything.

Oh no you don’t! We’ll have none of that in my house. Scrappy is very impressionable…and willing to try anything.

No, not me, Silly! Although, I do take a number of medications to keep my dizziness under control…

But I don’t live in any house of drugs! Although I do live very near a drug store…

They only sell generic drugs and their hours are kind of hinky, but they are conveniently located.

They only sell generic drugs and their hours are kind of hinky, but they are conveniently located.

Anyway, you ( and by “you,” I really mean “I or me or who ever is writing this blog post”) are totally missing the point.

I just read this awesome-pants new book by a fellow WP blogger. Actually, she’s not a “fellow” at all, she’s Christine Keleny and her book is called Living in the House of Drugs.

Here is my review of her book.

Striking cover, huh? Well, what's inside is just as compelling.

Striking cover, huh? Well, what’s inside is just as compelling.


I have read many memoirs and this one is, by far, the most…well…memorable. Willie wants the world to know his story, maybe so he can clear his conscience or maybe so he can help others avoid the mistakes he made. But Willie has a big problem. He can barely tell his story in proper English, let alone write it down.

Enter Christine Keleny, author and compassionate soul. She spends countless hours with Willie to decipher his attempts at his own notes and listens to his stories. The result is this incredible book, which is a true collaboration between a lost soul trying to find his way and an insightful, skilled writer able to present Willie’s life to us in his unique “Willie” voice. She does the work of organizing his story, narrating parts of it while translating others, asking questions I wanted answered, and sharing her reflections about her journey with this man so different from her.

Through Keleny’s gift of knowing when to let Willie do the talking and when to let her own voice shine through, I came to understand the roller coaster life of a drug addict and a convict. I found him both admirable and despicable, endearing and aggravating; in other words, Keleny made him human.

This was not an easy book to read, but it was an important book to read.

Willie’s story is one that we rarely hear told so honestly. Poverty, violence, misguided searches for love and acceptance, drugs, crime, recovery, broken support systems, falling back into destructive patterns, finding hope in the smallest of places…these are the pieces of Willie’s life you will read about.

But there is another reasonΒ to read this book. It illustrates the best in humanity–the kindness that one person can offer to another by giving the gift of time and talent to make an unlikely dream come true. Because of Keleny’s willingness to do the hard work of collaborating with a man who didn’t make it easy, that man’s dream of having his story told to the world was realized.

I truly hope the world gets to hear his story.

~ by Lorna's Voice on May 8, 2013.

17 Responses to “Living in the House of Drugs”

  1. Thanks, Gerry!

  2. I didn’t let him see that picture, don’t worry. πŸ˜‰

  3. It’s pretty raw and gritty in parts, Al. I know how sheltered a guy you are, so just be prepared for sex, drugs, and, well, I don’t recall any rock and roll. πŸ˜‰

  4. I really admire Christine for helping Willie make his dream a reality. I hope that come through in the review.

  5. Thanks, Casey. I didn’t know I was good at reviewing books. I guess it’s like anything I write–honest and from my heart onto the page (or screen). If I were famous, I could offer to do book reviews for a living… πŸ˜‰

  6. I’ve never read such a revealing book about the life of a drug addict. Christine uses his own words in his own voice through much of it, so you really feel like he is telling his story–something he could never have done without her compassion and patience.

    I like reviewing good books. If I don’t like a book, I’d rather not review it. I was taught that if you can’t say something nice, don’t say anything. I suppose I could use the route of constructive criticism, but the book is already published, so it’s kind of late for that… 😐

  7. Thanks, Gerry! πŸ™‚

  8. Just pace yourself, Vanessa. That’s what I have to do! πŸ™‚

  9. ANOTHER book to add to the ever-growing list of books I want to read. Sigh.

  10. Hey Lorna a small thank you…please enjoy..

  11. Exceptional teaser for us … you’ve summarized a life in a small review that has peaked interest. Well done … generous of you to post such a great review.

  12. Powerful review for what appears to be a powerful book.

  13. Sounds great and I love that Keleny helped get Willie’s voice to page. Beautiful. Thanks so much, Lorna.

  14. It sounds intriguing. And troubling. As a HSP, I may need to prepare myself before I read it.

  15. Holy crap! I just bought it. I’ll write a review when I’ve finished……and as you know, that can be a while.

  16. Thanks for bringing it to our attention, Lorna. Now go help Scrappy.

  17. hope so too.. πŸ˜‰

Silence can be just what the doctor ordered. You know I'm a doctor, right?

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