No, not like this…
…but kinda like this:
…but definitely like this:
When I picked “Alive & Kicking” as the title for this post – it wasn’t so much The Breakfast Club that I was going for – although I kinda did just have a good time Google’ing pictures from the movie and trying to decide if Molly Ringwald was hotter than Ally Sheedy.
I really picked the phrase because to me, having been lucky enough to have already read Scars From A Memoir, that’s what the book, released today by author Marni Mann, is about. It’s about being alive and kicking. Goodness gracious me (yes, I’m suddenly your grandmother) all of the things that happen to poor Nicole in Memoirs Aren’t Fairytales. You’d think that girl wouldn’t have made it out of that book alive – but turns out she did. A good portion of the sequel deals with her putting the jig-saw puzzle that has become her psyche back together from some seriously tragic, begging Dr. Phil for some help before you end up on Nancy Grace, adventures.
Nicole had some awful things happen to her – but she also did a lot of awful things – and yet, I like her. Why is this and how could I (or you) find a heroin-addict turned recovering heroin-addict a sympathetic and likable character? Because at her most tragic, at her most vulnerable, at her most ‘oh yeah, society just needs to write her off and collect the insurance money’ worst – Nicole never loses her heart. She at times loses her spirit, her ambition, and her will – but she never loses that sense of commitment to herself that she’s a fighter, that she can be better, that even though she’s done wrong in the world and to others that there’s hope somewhere down there buried under years of addiction and abuse. She loses focus, and greater sense of purpose in phases of her story – but there remains a compassionate streak within her which is impossible to easily co-exist if you try and paint her with the labels most commonly attributed to addicts.
She retains a caring and nurturing nature towards others even when, and especially when, so many have done her wrong. This desire to persevere and to make things better not only for herself, but for others, can find no place to grow roots in a truly narcissistic individual. There’s no room for it within you if you’ve sold your soul and truly filled the chasm left behind full of bitterness, remorse, and anger.
Even in the full grip of the high, and the shaking-sickness which clings to Nicole like a demon-twin, she never fully allows all that is her to be fully washed away.
Ultimately, the person Nicole has hurt the most is herself – this is also the person she has the most trouble offering that compassion, forgiveness, and heart to. It’s a story of a quest to achieve bliss in the most classical settings and tones of those types of myths. Our hero has to vanquish a very unique dragon this time – and the princess in the tower is scarred, has been singed nearly beyond recognition by the fire, and is by no means pure.
That doesn’t mean she’s not worthy of redemption, nor does it mean that if she’s able to strip the horror from herself that the heart within isn’t still beating strong.
Alive & kicking.
I highly recommend these books – and if we’re talking ‘how many stars’ put as many gold ones on them as you got…
A New Englander at heart, Marni Mann, now a Floridian is inspired by the sandy beaches and hot pink sunsets of Sarasota. A writer of literary fiction, she taps a mainstream appeal and shakes worldwide taboos, taking her readers on a dark, harrowing, and gritty journey. When she’s not nose deep in her laptop, she’s scouring for chocolate, traveling, reading, or walking her four-legged children. Scars from a Memoir is her second book, a sequel to the highly regarded Memoirs Aren’t Fairytales: A Story of Addiction. You can follow Ms. Mann on her author website at marnismann.com.
Billy Purgatory is Jesse James Freeman’s first novel. He’s also studied psychology and film and scripted comics. When he’s not writing books, Jesse James trains falcons to kill Leprechaun Robots, and will continue to do so until the world is relatively safe.
Jesse James recently contributed 4 essays to the book Write for the Fight: A Collection of Seasonal Essays, co-authored by Tess Hardwick (Riversong) and Tracey Hansen. All author proceeds will be donated to charities engaged in the fight against breast cancer.
Jesse James is currently working on Billy Purgatory and the Curse of the Satanic Five, MythCop, Vehemently Jones, Blood-Love, R. Cane, and Witches vs Robots.