Reviews | Andrea Brunais

Reviews for Hillbilly Drug Baby: The Story

“I was drawn to this book because I read Hillbilly Ellegy earlier in the year so wanted to learn more about being raised a “hillbilly”.

This book is a “chronicle of an Appalacian mountain-bred teen who waltzed in to the life of two quixotic, altruistic, naive outsiders with grown children of their own”.

The authors writing style is brilliant and even in the Preface she made me want to know how the young man’s story ended and her years of experience as a journalist came through in her ability to lay out facts while weighing them with emotion. I loved the way that she began each chapter with an excerpt from Jesse-Ray’s poems then ended it with a brief piece exploring the issues raised in the chapter. Both of these things were important for different reasons: Jesse-Ray’s a the start of the chapters because showed what he was feeling about his life and the writing skill he has while the piece at the end of the chapter has exploring the things discussed in the chapter provided the reader with context and facts to inform the situation the author and her husband still trying to make sense of.

The book portrayed with startling clarity how hard it is dealing with addiction both for the person and those around them, especially when there’s the added complications of them having been born addicted to drugs and been brought up in an absolutely hideous conditions in their formative years as well as ending up in care. Throughout the book I ossalted between anger/upset at the childhood this young man had had and the effects that it/his drug addiction were having on both him and this amazing couple that were trying to help him with his issues. In fact several times as the book progressed and it became obvious that he really didn’t want to help himself out the mess he was in even with all the support he was getting, even though I was sympathetic towards him due to his atrocious upbringing and addiction problems I would have actually happily have shook him by his shirt and said “Will you just wake up, smell the roses and start helping yourself to get the future you want”.

The star rating I give this book is a resounding 5 stars because without doubt I will read again and would not hesitate to recommend it to other people or buy ii as a gift for someone I think would appreciate it.”

Catherine West, Books & Reading