This is a very personal, honest, no holds barred, memoir depicting the author’s journey with gambling addiction. Catherine Townsend-Lyon is very honest about all her failings. Though she admits writing the book had a cathartic effect it must have been very hard to recall and put into public view all that occurred on her journey. She has to be admired and respected for having taken this step.
Admittedly the author has endured much but at the same time readers need to be reminded she is anything but alone in this. Many have suffered in their lives; some in similar ways, others very differently. Each person is unique and individual and though there may be similarities in their journeys there will be essential differences.
One motivation for writing this book was to help others who suffer with the same addiction nevertheless, readers should bear in mind this is very much the author’s own tale. No doubt many have and do experience similar circumstances but this is not intended to be a handbook for them. However, having said that, it should help many to appreciate they are not alone; that others have and are going through similar difficulties; that there is hope; that there is escape if they are prepared to truly work toward it.
Throughout, ‘triggers’ are described and talked about but the reader must bear in mind these are personal to the author. For others the ‘triggers’ may be very different. Catherine Townsend-Lyon frequently explains how, through her dysfunctional family, she consistently felt valueless. In addition, and very sadly, she also briefly describes how she was abused by someone outside the family; how she was unable to tell anyone about it; how this also acted as a ‘trigger’ and how the combined resulting mind-set and emotions have continued to plague her throughout life.
Before mentioning these it is only fair to acknowledge the author has made clear she is not a writer but has simply decided to share her own story. It is very much told in her own words and expressions which has the benefit of really making this a personal work. Nevertheless:
- The book feels too long; much of what has been shared could be condensed. For many time is an issue and it would be a shame if readers gave up because of the length.
- Until approximately the sixty percent mark the reader is not really drawn into the story. Of course this may be personal but, up to this point, it is really just a presentation of information and facts. The reader will be able to sympathise but that is all. However, subsequently, there are areas where the reader will empathise with the author; will feel her emotions, concerns, sorrow and disappointment.
- Most addiction recovery programmes have a twelve step process. The author frequently refers to these but never really explains what is involved. Of course, it is appreciated this is not intended to be a formal guide but it would be nice for the reader to have a little more understating of what these steps involve; many readers will not be suffering from the addiction but will have selected the book out of genuine and general interest.
This is an interesting book that gives good insight into how an addiction can take hold and how it impacts upon the individual’s life and the lives of those round them.
Four stars (*4). Despite the reservations mentioned above: The author has willingly shared everything, exposing all her faults and failures honestly. She has taken the reader on the difficult journey of her life without drawing back from the realities, prepared to endure the opinions and attitudes that may result.
The book is available in paperback and e-book formats.