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Everything I Never Wanted to Be

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3.81  ·  Rating Details ·  863 Ratings  ·  107 Reviews
Everything I Never Wanted to Be by Dina Kucera is the true story of a family's battle with alcoholism and drug addiction. In many ways, it is a cross between Mary Karr's The Liar's Club and James Frey's A Million Little Pieces. Dina's grandfather and father were alcoholics. Her grandmother was a pill addict. Dina is an alcoholic and pill addict, and all three of her daught ...more
Paperback, 218 pages
Published October 1st 2010 by Dream of Things Media
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The Diary of a Young Girl by Anne FrankThe Glass Castle by Jeannette WallsNight by Elie WieselAngela's Ashes by Frank McCourtEat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert
Best Memoir / Biography / Autobiography
299th out of 3,553 books — 4,013 voters
The Glass Castle by Jeannette WallsAngela's Ashes by Frank McCourtThe Diary of a Young Girl by Anne FrankNight by Elie WieselEat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert
Favorite memoirs/autobiographies
129th out of 1,281 books — 1,220 voters


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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
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Jenny
Dec 06, 2010 Jenny rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Everyone
Shelves: non-fiction
When this book came up for review my first thought was: Oh yes, another family dealing with addiction. Been there, done that. But as I had nothing better to do, I went along to, www.everythinginever.com and read an excerpt. I was hooked. So what makes this memoir so special? As with fiction, it’s all about voice: the fairy dust that brings words to life, gives them a heartbeat. Dina has a voice many authors would cheerfully give a limb for, and what’s truly amazing is I don’t think she has any i ...more
Jessica
Jan 07, 2011 Jessica rated it really liked it
To say that this book was a difficult read would be a complete lie. Although the content of Dina Kucera's book can sometimes be a bit rough, it is written so perfectly that I honestly couldn't put it down. She has found the perfect recipe for this memoir. A healthy dose of hope, a pinch of religion, and a heaping helping of humor. Combined, these create an unforgettable journey for the reader.

What struck me most about Everything I Never Wanted to Be was the brutal honesty that is within these pa
...more
Athira (Reading on a Rainy Day)
How often do you complain that you wish life was better? I've thought it every time I get stuck in the doldrums, but I know that it's just a minor blip. What if your whole life is one big never-ending blip? What if you wake up every day only to find that the nightmare of last night is not really over? That pretty much sums up the sentiment expressed in Dina Kucera's memoir, Everything I Never Wanted to be. When I first received this title, I was expecting a depressing read about a family's battl ...more
Kim Hornsby
Jan 22, 2014 Kim Hornsby rated it it was amazing
Shelves: chilling-memoir
I stumbled across this memoir by accident and read the entire thing in two nights. OH MY GOD! Like a car wreck, you cannot look away from the tragedy while, at the same time, your heart hurts for the family involved. Dina, John, The Girls, The Mom, The Brother in Law --it's a cast of characters that at first seems suspiciously too colorful, too quirky, but as the real story comes out, the truth is told. The author has been given more than her share of challenges and, as a comedienne, she gives ...more
TinaB
Dec 15, 2010 TinaB rated it liked it
Shelves: biography-memoir
In this open-hearted no holding back memoir, Dina Kucera shares her battles with alcoholism and drug addiction. Not only is Dina fighting her own demons but trying to battle those of her children and family as well. She has three daughters, ranging from 28 to 14 who all have severe problems. From mental disorders like ADD and OCD, to severe drug abuse on crystal meth and heroin.

Reading through Dina’s story made me stop and think about myself and how I view people with severe addictions, had this
...more
The Sunday Book Review
Dear Dina Kucern -

I have read two types of memoirs in my past. Those that are serious to a fault and those that try to make everything a joke. You have found a way to successfully wed those together in a way that is honest and real. The experiences that you and your daughters have been through, blew me away, but what made a bigger impact was your no holds barred retelling.

I never got the sense that even though you made mistakes in your life, you try to cover them up or blame others for them. You
...more
Debbie "DJ"
May 04, 2014 Debbie "DJ" rated it it was amazing
This book touched my heart in a way few books do. It is a true story, filled with laugh out loud humor, of the deadly disease of addiction. While it is hard to believe that such a topic can be told with humor without sounding trite, this book pulled it off completely. The heartache of addiction is not downplayed and the seriousness is conveyed. Yet, the author is a born comedic whose talent not only at writing but also as a comedian is astounding. I would buy a million copies of this book just ...more
Charline Ratcliff
Jul 07, 2014 Charline Ratcliff rated it it was amazing
Where to start? “Everything I Never Wanted To Be” is a brutally open and honest look into the heart of a family beset by drug and alcohol abuse. And, as if that’s not enough to cause one major stress, add caring for an elderly mother with Parkinson’s disease and a grandson with Cerebral Palsy, and working as a checker at a grocery store. Amazingly enough though this family somehow manages to retain a fierce love for one another.

“Everything I Never Wanted To Be” chronicles the life of author Dina
...more
Nenette
Apr 30, 2014 Nenette rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
It is difficult even to imagine going through what Dina had; actually she is still on her toes, praying there won't be another episode, another relapse. This is a story about a mother's love, about strength and faith that we don't know we have.

God really knows how to assign trials and burdens. He knows Dina to be a strong woman. Dina disagreed; she sees herself as a funny woman, but not as someone with enough strength to deal with all that life threw her way. But all-knowing as God is, He was ri
...more
Apzmarshl
Jan 15, 2013 Apzmarshl rated it really liked it
Dina's life is a nightmare. I'm sure she wouldn't take offense that I said that considering she has had to use drugs an alcohol to soothe the massive, mind blowing pain. She is a stand up comedian, writer, former cashier and newspaper deliverer, ninth grade drop out, at one time pregnant teen.
Dina is an addict. Dina's daughters are drug addicts that suffer from multiple mental illnesses. Her mother is elderly and ill and living with Dina. Her husband is an addict. Her grandson has cerebral pals
...more
Amy Donohue
Jan 06, 2013 Amy Donohue rated it it was amazing
I've known Dina for ten years, but I don't think I've really known her. Until now. As I spent a Sunday on the couch, a badly-needed day of rest, I finally opened my downloaded copy of her book. I could hear her saying all of it, in her voice, and her snarky sense of humor. I've heard her say "fuck" a lot.
As someone who had years of drug and alcohol abuse, and growing up surrounded by alcoholics, I felt just about everything Dina talked about. The screaming, the crying, the depression, and feelin
...more
Angela
Jul 15, 2012 Angela rated it it was amazing
I loved this book it was a very true life story of a woman who was surrounded by addiction it was very surreal toto my own life. A good read for sure
Janie Hickok Siess
Dec 13, 2010 Janie Hickok Siess rated it really liked it
Synopsis:

Dina Kucera is a stand-up comic. Reading a synopsis of her memoir, Everything I Never Wanted to Be, might make you wonder what she could possibly find funny about her life or her family’s problems and, therefore, where she gets material for her act. But the message of Everything I Never Wanted to Be is, in Kucera’s own words, that “with love and hope, anything is possible. It’s not easy … but possible.”

Kucera was raised in abject poverty in Albuquerque, New Mexico. She wanted to escape
...more
Sara Strand
Jul 24, 2012 Sara Strand rated it it was amazing
She has three daughters. Her oldest two battle alcoholism and a drug addiction. The youngest, Carly, started using heroin at 14. This is their struggle.

The letter written by her daughter in the beginnings pages made me ill. As I read the book I identified characteristics that were true to me. True to my family. And it scared the absolute hell out of me.

Dina writes about her own struggle with alcohol and pill addiction but she writes with a self deprecating humor that makes you not feel sorry f
...more
Orbs n Rings
Nov 10, 2011 Orbs n Rings rated it it was amazing
Shelves: reviewed
The struggle of one woman to keep her family from falling apart while she herself was also falling apart.

If today for some reason you believe your life is falling apart, is not fair or you have been dealt a bad hand. Why is this happening to me you may say? If you may think your life is so bad, you feel you just don't know how you will get through the next day. I promise if you read "Everything I Never Wanted To Be," your outlook on life will change in an instant. Suddenly your life won't feel s
...more
Zoë
Dec 12, 2010 Zoë rated it really liked it
Everything I Never Wanted To Be by Dina Kucera is a memoir which is not done justice because to say it is a story of one family's battle with alcoholism and drug addiction, three generations of addicts, fails to capture the most powerful aspect of Everything I Never Wanted To Be which is Kucera's voice. Kucera herself was an alcoholic and pill addict for most of her three daughter's lives, and each of them has struggled with addiction in turn. Her youngest daughter Carly became a heroin addict ...more
Jael
Nov 25, 2010 Jael rated it really liked it
Family, you love them no matter what, in good times and in bad. But what happens when they push you to the breaking point? Do you let it eat at you? Or would you find a way to cope? At one point for Dina Kucera, author of Everything I Never Wanted to be, it was a return to bad habits. The stress of coming from a family of addicts, including her children, led Kucera to start popping pills after years of sobriety from alcohol. But Kucera found a way out of the abyss with a career as a writer and ...more
Madeline Sharples
Jun 28, 2012 Madeline Sharples rated it it was amazing
Dina Kucera’s memoir Everything I Never Wanted To Be grabbed me from page one and never let go until the last word. Dina’s voice is so powerful, clear, and natural that I felt she was talking directly to me in my living room – the same feeling I had while reading Keith Richards’ Life and Patty Smith’s Just Kids.

Her story of her own alcoholism, her daughters’ alcoholism and addiction made me cry, wince, laugh, shake my head in disbelief – the emotions just kept coming as I read.

And although we co
...more
Birgit
Oct 22, 2011 Birgit rated it really liked it
This book by Dina Kucera is a painfully honest and touching memoir about alcoholism and drug addiction, and a mother who desperately tries to keep her kids alive. Sounds dark, and it is.
Reflecting on her own life which has been painted with alcoholism, the biggest focus is on Dina's daughters who also slipped into addictions, some very early on. And as much as any parent would hope that there love will heal, this just isn't enough to make your child whole and healthy again. You can literally fe
...more
Kim
Feb 26, 2013 Kim rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2013, memoir
This should have been a book that was difficult to read, however the author has a way of infusing raw humor into her struggles that makes you feel like no matter what you're going through if you learn to laugh it won't be as bad as it could. There were times throughout the book where all I wanted to do was shake he daughter, Carly, until some semblance of a working brain appeared in her head, and then times when I wanted to cuddle her into happiness. I applaud her husband, John for sticking by ...more
Jennifer
Nov 01, 2010 Jennifer rated it it was amazing
From my book review blog Rundpinne..."Beautiful, raw, and brutally honest, Everything I Never Wanted To Be by Dina Kucera is an absolute must read memoir. Kucera is quite blunt when sharing the facts of her life, yet while the book could easily be a dark and depressing read, Kucera makes certain to add in her wit and charm to keep the reader from becoming depressed as the struggles of the author are described."...The full review may be read here.
Amara Cudney
Feb 12, 2014 Amara Cudney rated it really liked it
If you've ever been like me and felt that your own story was too bizarre for public consumption, then you need to find yourself in the middle of Ms. Kucera's memoir where you'll fit right in. She details an extraordinary, complicated life filed with addiction and it's consequences. What really worked for me is that the author focuses on the solution and shows that there is a way to survive growing up in a world where you are powerless over your circumstances. This book touched me and I recommend ...more
Jen Lukkes
Dec 31, 2012 Jen Lukkes rated it really liked it
This isn't your typical read about addiction. The author, her husband, and her three daughters are all alcoholics and/or drug addicts. The three daughters have an array of mental health issues which makes for an even more interesting read. Now, combine these aspects with the knowledge that the author is also a comedienne. I laughed and I cried and I kept picking up this book to read more every chance I got.
Erin
Jun 25, 2012 Erin rated it really liked it
I really enjoyed the dark humor this author brought to this book about her family and the disease of addiction. It is refreshing to hear some humor and being able to laugh at things after the fact.At the time you never think you will make it through the situation but in the end you can look at it and learn and maybe laugh too.** Non-addicts or anyone who has never known an addict may not find humor in some of this, May not be your kind of book.
Mercy
This book was totally not what I expected. I have to say I went into it not knowing it was a work of non-fiction. I read it on my Kindle and when I got to the end and read the author's biography I was baffeld that a family could go through so much and come up still with a sense of humor and gratefulness. An inspiring, funny and baffling read.
Adrianna
Jan 06, 2013 Adrianna rated it it was amazing
It's honest, raw, and hysterical. I cared about the characters, breezed through the book, laughed out loud along the way, and read passages aloud when someone was in earshot. It's not a story with a perfect family and a perfect ending but instead it offered a dose of reality, strength of the human spirit, and hope.
Theresa
*trigger warning: substance, physical, sexual abuse, & suicide*

A tough read in a good sense. Kucera wrote in such incredible way dealing with dark tones in a lighthearted way.

My only complaint really is it wasn't really chronological in some parts in the telling events and occasionally got lost if it when events happened
Jennifer
Jan 20, 2013 Jennifer rated it really liked it
This is a story about a lady who leads a difficult life, but makes the best of it...or at least survives it. It makes you feel like people can get through just about anything, and its not your imagination...life is rough.
Bridget
Nov 24, 2010 Bridget rated it it was amazing
Everything I Never Wanted to Be is an emotionally charged, heartfelt work of art that will change your life forever. Dina deserves a round of applause for her courage and willingness to share her story and help others. I would highly, highly recommend this book to any reader.
Lisa
Sep 12, 2016 Lisa rated it really liked it
This one would rate more like a 3.75 for me. Kucera is brutally honest about her life and doesn't ask for sympathy from the reader. The book jumps back and forth in time which can make it hard to follow and Kurcera's language may be off-putting to some readers.
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Dina Kucera was born and raised in Albuquerque, New Mexico. After completing a project to collect and identify fifty insects, she graduated from the ninth grade and left school for good. It seemed like a good idea at the time. Her first job was a paper route, and she has worked as a maid, bartender, waitress, and grocery store checker. She recently left her job as a checker to become a writer.

She
...more
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“I felt empty and sad for years, and for a long, long time, alcohol worked. I’d drink, and all the sadness would go away. Not only did the sadness go away, but I was fantastic. I was beautiful, funny, I had a great figure, and I could do math. But at some point, the booze stopped working. That’s when drinking started sucking. Every time I drank, I could feel pieces of me leaving. I continued to drink until there was nothing left. Just emptiness.” 76 likes
“There are millions of people out there who live this way, and their hearts are breaking just like mine. It’s okay to say, “My kid is a drug addict or alcoholic, and I still love them and I’m still proud of them.” Hold your head up and have a cappuccino. Take a trip. Hang your Christmas lights and hide colored eggs. Cry, laugh, then take a nap. And when we all get to the end of the road, I’m going to write a story that’s so happy it’s going to make your liver explode. It’s going to be a great day.” 53 likes
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