Joy Road is a memoir by Julie Evans, a change-of-life baby who was born in 1956 and spent much of her Midwestern childhood nurturing her alcoholic mother and chronically ill father. Both parents died while she was still a teen. She takes readers on a tumultuous ride through the 1970s as she struggles to find herself, developing addictions to sex, drugs, alcohol and nicotine. In the end it's her experiences as a wildlife rehabilitator, and the wise counsel of a country pastor that rescue her and usher her into a life of service. Julie's compelling story is set in colorful locales, including Minneapolis, Phoenix, Key West, New Orleans, Seattle, San Francisco, New York City and finally, upstate New York. Peopled with a memorable cast of characters, her saga is by turns shocking, humorous and inspiring. Today Julie lives on Joy Road in Woodstock, New York with a loving husband. She's a healed healer, a writer and a motivational speaker with a thriving massage practice.
In my memoir Joy Road you’ll meet me on the day I was born in Rochester, Minnesota and follow me as I find myself. Growing up in an alcoholic family I’ve always been on a quest to find a way to live in this world and make some kind of difference in the lives of those around me. My mom and dad died when I was a teenager and I was left to figure things out on my own. I got swallowed up in the world of drugs and sex and finally found myself set free when I had to make a choice between laying out another line of cocaine or feeding a baby bird. Today I live on Joy Road in Woodstock, NY . . . a healing healer, writer and motivational speaker with a thriving massage practice.
Thank you to Netgalley and the publisher for providing this book in exchange for an honest review. This book takes the reader on quite a ride. A memoir about growing up, finding oneself, and getting life on the right track.
Julie Evans’ memoir about chemical dependency, "Joy Road: My Journey from Addiction to Recovery", is the latest entry in a still growing tradition of non-fiction literature dealing with an individual’s struggles under the yoke of addiction and how they found their way out. She brings us into the specific details of her upbringing without flinching; her willingness to make herself vulnerable for her readers is one of the book’s hallmark elements, but far from its only one. She doesn’t waste much of the reader’s time. Joy Road runs less than two hundred pages long in its digital edition and its succinct focus on the narrative of her progression from being the child of an alcoholic mother into her own travails makes for bracing reading.
The book, in some senses, is a kaleidoscopic account of American life on the fringes, circa the last half of the 20th century. Evans’ journey takes her from the early disillusionment of her first love succumbing to drug addiction, adventures with damaged and wildly eccentric post-hippies cavorting in the wilds of the Florida Keys, New Orleans, freight train riding, and flirtations with fame in the bustle of late 1970’s-early 1980’s New York City. Evans makes her dizzying journey comprehensible for readers thanks to the abiding quality sustaining her through it all – a dazzling inner self that, despite various injuries self-inflicted and otherwise, never completely shattered.
She is honest and unsparing about her addiction and personal failings. She, likewise, maintains an impressive recall of the vast array of experiences fueling the narrative despite the intervening years. Moments of exaltation and degradation exist hand in hand within the pages of Joy Road though, as the narrative marches on, we witness more of the former rather than the latter. It is a testament to her powers as a writer that Evans is able to make coherent for readers what must have often seem incoherent in experience; I attribute this, as well, to her willingness to face those years with triumphant honesty rather than hedging and underplaying the reality of her journey.
She faces the men and women of her past without rancor; even when wronged, she demonstrates a level of charity for what those individuals experienced that shaped their behavior informed by her own understanding of the forces that molded her own character and reactions to the world. She includes a few photographs throughout the text, but the book wouldn’t have suffered their absence. Evans depicts her life’s trajectory with sure and vivid prose that doesn’t cheat the reader and doesn’t arrive at pat conclusions in lieu of difficult but life-affirming truths.
Joy Road: My Journey from Addiction to Recovery differs from many other books of this ilk. There are no clinical excursions padded within the text, no predictable sermonizing about the benefits of some 12 step program; instead, Evans keeps things on a personal level and the book’s style is akin to having an extended conversation with someone unburdening themselves of a story they have long held within. She has, undoubtedly, shared the story of her life with those close to her and now she shares it with the world.
I thoroughly enjoyed reading Julie Evan’s memoir, Joy Road. A change of life baby who found herself alone after losing her parents at a young age, Julie takes the reader on a roller coaster ride that is at times terrifying, at other times heartbreaking, and still other times made me want to cheer her on. Her story left me wanting to know more about her fascinating life. Lucky for me, I was given the chance to meet this wonderful woman at my book club meeting, where she not only answered all of our questions, but read a passionate new short story that she wrote. I highly recommend reading Joy Road. I’m looking forward to reading her future publications!
It was a thrill to read this memoir and an honor to welcome Julie Evans as a guest to my book club. She is open and unstinting, as she recounts the events of her teens and twenties. Joy Road depicts Julie’s brazen pursuit of striking lovers, new friends, erratic schemes and risky substances. Although this girl was reeling from multiple tragedies, I found myself wanting/waiting for Julie to assert remorse and shame for making reckless decisions that could have led to her complete demise. In our book discussion, I had an “aha,” moment that led me to further investigate my feelings around shame and the way I beat myself up for mistakes made in my past. Julie, I realize, not without envy, has made amends with her past and holds her young-girl-self gently in loving-forgiveness. It is precisely this non-judgment, this accepting of self, which allows Julie to accept others exactly where they are. It was a treat for our book club to hear Julie read a passionate story about her current work in the field of healing and massage. Surviving tribulations of those early years, Julie is stronger, wiser, and more compassionate.
I tried to like this book. I won it in a Goodreads giveaway, read the reviews and was rather excited to divulge. To me, this book seemed like a myriad of jobs, drugs and alcohol. There did not seem to be any rhyme or reason for the plot, or honestly, the book in general.
I question whether Julie Evans even knew what she was talking about, when you mess up a large majority of the book with spelling errors, grammatical mistakes and incomplete thoughts, I question whether she's even qualified to be writing.
I personally would not recommend this book due to the fact of it being difficult to get in to, connect with the characters and the difficulty of following it. I believe the author was coming from a good place with the intention of writing this book, but like I said earlier, it just was not for me.
Joy Road is an absolutely amazing memoir by Julie Evans. It's a beautiful story of how Julie took care of her ailing parents and then to have to deal with her own struggles with various substances. This story takes us along her journey and her road to recovery. Through her journey, you can see how she comes to find herself and get her life back in order. I think this is a great book for anyone who has struggled or knows someone who's struggled with addiction.
"I received an advanced copy of this book and am voluntarily leaving a review."
Joy Road, by Julie Evans, is an incredible memoir written with personal clarity, stunning detail, courage, and wit.
She embraces the full force of human instinct and emotion, skillfully turns a phrase, and brings us on an experiential journey that is tender and bold, physical and spiritual, heartbreaking and tragic, yet full of hope and joy.
A total page turner. It brought me into the world of drug addiction in a way that I had not understood before. There were many lines with word pictures that I could feel. For example, this one: "The hours passed like minutes, the sun pulling me deep into myself as I moved a notch closer to the center of the earth."
As I read through the book I couldn't help but care deeply about what happened to the author, admiring her bravery in telling difficult truths.
This was a DNF for me. I received this book from a Goodreads giveaway. I tried to read it, but there was absolutely nothing that caught my attention. I then tried to skim the paragraphs until I got to a place of interest, but it didn't happen. I'm sure it's a fabulous graceful marvelous story, it just didn't do it for me.
I loved this memoir. It's a wild and vivid journey from a curtailed childhood to teenage orphanhood to young addiction to adult sanity. The author's adventures are funny and tragic and redemptive, vivid and full of an electric intelligence. The healing is as moving and soothing as the addictions were turbulent. I highly recommend it.
Joy Road is a memoir by Julie Evans. This is a touching story of how Julie goes from taking care of her ailing parents to dealing with her own struggles with various chemical addictions. Joy Road is the story of her personal road to recovery. Thank you Woodstock Arts and NetGalley for the ARC.
I did not care for this book. I just could not get into it. The author drifted from job to Job, place to place with no sense of purpose nor direction. Soon her life become mired in drugs and alcohol. This book was a huge miss for me. Thanks to NetGalley for the early read.
The artist didn't hold back when going into the heartbreak and mistakes in her life. Her writing is raw and honest about her addiction and what led to her recovery. This is an inspirational story that will provide hope for anyone that is or has struggled with addiction.
Julie takes us on a journey with her through her travels across the country as well as her travels through her own healing journey through grief, trauma, and recovery. A wonderful book, full of heart and honesty.
Joy Road by author Julie Evans is such a harsh, beautiful story! It’s heartbreaking and sad but hopeful at times as well as perfectly written! Such a touching autobiography and one I hope to keep on my shelves besides others of this genre. Great work! Thank you Netgalley and the publisher for an arc copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. Absolutely recommend this one!