Jason Hillenburg's Reviews > Joy Road: My Journey from Addiction to Recovery

Joy Road by Julie  Evans
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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.

AUTHOR WEBSITE: http://www.wordsbyjulieevans.com/

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.

AMAZON: https://www.amazon.com/Joy-Road-Journ...

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.
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Reading Progress

Finished Reading
September 25, 2019 – Shelved

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message 1: by Julie (new)

Julie Evans Thank you for your thoughtful review of my memoir, Joy Road. It fills me up and gives me courage. Writing is a most daring adventure. Your words are stepping stones into the next chapter of my journey. I wish you joy. Julie Evans

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