Mike O'Mary's Reviews > Everything I Never Wanted to Be

Everything I Never Wanted to Be by Dina Kucera
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Sep 05, 2011

it was amazing

Everything I Never Wanted to Be will remind many readers of Mary Karr’s The Liars’ Club and James Frey’s A Million Little Pieces. The story opens with the author onstage, competing on the “Funniest Mom in America” TV show. She’s performed hundreds of times, but this time she freezes because she’s flashing back to her teenage daughter’s harrowing hospital stay following a suicide attempt. From there, it’s a rollercoaster ride that includes stories of parental neglect, drug overdoses, a sex offender priest, a tragic childbirth, a teen who finds out via videotape that she was raped while she was high on crystal meth, a stay in a mental ward, a surprisingly redemptive trip to Disneyland, and more relapses and rehabs than you can keep track of. It’s a story that is brutally honest – shocking at times – yet still funny and full of hope.
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Quotes Mike Liked

Dina Kucera
“My daughter, Carly, has been in and out of drug treatment facilities since she was thirteen. Every time she goes away, I have a routine: I go through her room and search for drugs she may have left behind. We have a laugh these days because Carly says, “So you were lookingfor drugs I might have left behind? I’m a drug addict, Mother. We don’t leave drugs behind, especially if we’re going into treatment. We do all the drugs. We don’t save drugs back for later. If I have drugs, I do them. All of them. If I had my way, we would stop for more drugs on the way to rehab, and I would do them in the parking lot of the treatment center.”
Dina Kucera, Everything I Never Wanted to Be

Dina Kucera
“When I was about nine, my siblings and I fell out of our moving van at an intersection. My dad didn’t notice for about five blocks. It was back before seat belts. It was also back before parents used any sort of common sense whatsoever. It was a time when you didn’t raise your children. You just fed them and they got bigger.”
Dina Kucera, Everything I Never Wanted to Be

Dina Kucera
“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.”
Dina Kucera, Everything I Never Wanted to Be

Dina Kucera
“I thought over and over about what I was going to do when Carly overdosed and died. How would we go on? And then I knew: I wouldn’t go on. And then I realized that it was just going to be too painful to actually have to watch her die. Right in front of me. My daughter was dying. That’s when I snapped.”
Dina Kucera, Everything I Never Wanted to Be

Dina Kucera
“The decision-making part of the brain of an individual who has been using crystal meth is very interesting. When Carly and Andy were in their apartment, they ran out of drugs. They sold every single thing they had except two things: a couch and a blow torch. They had to make a decision because something had to be sold to buy more drugs. A normal person would automatically think, Sell the blow torch. But Andy and Carly sat on the couch, looking at the couch and looking at the blow torch, and the choice brought intense confusion. The couch? The blow torch? I mean, we may not need the blow torch today, but what about tomorrow? If we sell the couch, we can still sit wherever we want. But the blow torch? A blow torch is a very specific item. If you’re doing a project and you need a blow torch, you can’t substitute something else for it. You would have to have a blow torch, right? In the end, they sold the couch.”
Dina Kucera, Everything I Never Wanted to Be

Dina Kucera
“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.”
Dina Kucera, Everything I Never Wanted to Be


Comments (showing 1-2 of 2) (2 new)

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message 1: by Carol (new)

Carol Ann Covering up the demise of one's mind is no way to live. I've taken my life back by working hard at discovering truths about my abusive childhood. You gotta work hard at it for a long time. Hell, as I've said before, I've had more counseling than Sybil!

Carol Jernigan


Mike O'Mary Carol Ann: I agree. Congratulations to you on taking back your life. To be clear, Dina's book is definitely not about covering up the demise of one's mind...it's a very candid look at the realities of alcohol and drug abuse, and in the process, she shows others a way forward through a combination of hope, humor and persistence.


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