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on 28 December 2015
Really enjoyed this book. Good insight into heroin addiction
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on 22 December 2011
Memoirs Aren't Fairytales. I'm almost at a loss for words before I begin.

Heroin.

Addiction.

Darkness.

Hope.

I'll never think, or read these words again, without thinking about this book. If you can't tell, it touched me. Actually, that isn't fair. It did more than that. It imbedded itself on my soul.

Maybe it's because I related to this book on a personal level, but I don't believe there is a person out there that could read this book, and not feel torn up inside. You don't need to have been an addict. You don't need to have known an addict. Mann tells such a compelling and heart-wrenching story, with such realism, you'll be sucked into a world you might never have known existed.

When I started this story, I knew it was about addiction, but I didn't know what I was in for. I've had my experiences with this. I've seen what it does to people first hand. I never expected to relive it through the eyes of an addict. Memoirs Aren't Fairytales did that to me. I became Nicole. I tasted the freedom Boston had to offer. I forgot everyone else around me. And I became addicted.

The storytelling is unparalleled. The characters are powerful, unique, and real. The pacing was spot on. The emotions tasted thick on the pages. I couldn't get enough. The suspense I felt with each passing word grew. I wanted Nicole to find hope. I needed her to. I felt what her family felt as they watched her fade into darkness, and it tore my heart and soul open.

The writing was incredible. Mann's created such a powerful voice, and managed to make it come alive in a character we might otherwise think was hopeless. Even when you think there's no hope left, she's taken you so deeply into this world, you can't help but reach out for it, and hope Nicole will do the same.

When I finished this book, there was such a storm of emotions moving through me, I didn't know what was what. It took me two days to pull myself together and get my head out of the story. Two days to bury even a hint of the emotions this book left swirling inside me. Now it's been weeks, and I'm still in awe, reeling from the turmoil it left behind.

Nicole's voice is stuck in my head, and I was craving the next book before I turned the last page. Memoirs Aren't Fairytales is a must read. It'll take you on a ride like nothing else, and at the very least, leave you breathless.
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on 9 April 2015
Disclaimer: Whilst I bought this book out of my own money, Marni is published and represented by Booktrope, the same publisher which is releasing my debut novella, No Rest for the Wicked.

I admit it – I’m addicted to drug books. Irvine Welsh is one of my favourite authors, and I read a lot of memoirs as well, like Leaving Dirty Jersey by James Salant. I even devoured Candy by Luke Davies, an australian novel that was turned into a film starring Heath Ledger.

But this is the most convincing drug book I’ve read so far, and when you consider that some of them are non-fiction books written by ex-junkies, that’s quite the achievement. Mann has clearly done a lot of research here, and it’s paid off – the characters are believable but tragic, and you can’t help but hope for the best for them.

I can’t give too much away about the story line because it’s just riddled with twists and turns, but I can tell you that I now have recurring nightmares about Nicole, the protagonist, wandering through the streets of Boston.

And that ending. Boy, that ending. I can’t give away any details, but I can tell you that it’ll blow your mind. It was the perfect ending to a perfect book, and I’m glad – it was on course for a 10/10 review from the first page, and it delivered throughout.
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on 30 May 2016
Memoirs Aren’t Fairytales: A Story of Addiction (The Memoir #1)
Scars from a Memoir (The Memoirs #2) by Marni Mann
5 stars!!!!

“Am I a runaway train, or am I the track?”

This was a duet that I needed to review straightaway, I just feel that if I get my thoughts and emotions down while I am still coming to terms with what I have just read it will have more of an emotional impact. These books seriously touched me, having never been around drugs or even having an inclination to try any I have never fully understood the novelty or the pull that these chemicals have on the addicts that so easily become consumed by them. But the thing about these two books is that it not only draws attention to the addict, but also the effects that addiction has on family, friends and strangers. This is definitely no fairy tale, this is the story of a woman’s desperate decline into the pits of hell and I lived and breathed it, warts and all.

“I was chasing something. And damn it felt so effing good.”

What starts out as the recreational use of weed soon turns into other more “heavy” drugs, like coke and ultimately heroin. What initially is perceived as a “pick me up” soon becomes a dependency and so the spiral begins. But what I loved about this book is that you were inside the head of Nicole, what Marni Mann delivered was an addicts reasoning’s and thought processes and for someone like me who was totally oblivious to anything surrounding this lifestyle it gave me an insight into why people tragically descend down this route. While I don’t condone in any shape of form what Nicole did, I finally appreciated the effects that drugs have on your ability to think straight, to make rational decisions and to actually see what was presented in front of the mirror. An addict didn’t see an addict. An addict only saw their next high, that short burst of relief from the troubles they carried. A temporary blindfold on their misery all the while it only being a smokescreen for the ingrained issues they had and ultimately, only making those issues increase tenfold by adding more issues on top of issues that were already there.

“Today I was sober, but tomorrow wasn’t here yet.”

Drug addiction is like a vortex, a force so powerful that you are forever caught up in its vicious cycle, a vortex that is desperately difficult to break out of. But the first step is recognising the addiction and more often than not it takes hitting rock bottom to see it. Some people get that rock bottom, others die before they get there, but it takes incredible strength and courage to fight and the fight is never over, this is made painfully clear throughout this duet.

“But heroin was my air. It had a hold of me like we were chained together. And those shackles weren’t just around my wrists, they were tied around my brain too.”

Nicole aka Cole, was a girl that had a great life ahead of her, she was a fantastic student, had a loving family and was living the teenage dream, until one night...one night that forever changed her and one night that ultimately led to her decline down the darkest routes of addiction. It is this one event that ultimately decimated her life and that of her family. Nicole was a victim, but the effects of that one night made her a victim for the next ten years. That one night made her friends and family victims in more ways than one. Her relocation to Boston was supposed to be a new start, a way to exorcise her demons, but Boston had demons of its own, only these demons had far more destructive consequences. This is the harrowing story of Nicole and I defy anyone not to be touched and totally consumed by her story.

“I could make up a story to cover the last eight years, but the scars on my arms told the truth. So did my ankles, the skin between my toes, even the veins that had burst on my breasts. I was like that board my dad used to tack papers to in his office. Eventually, the cork fell apart because it had too many holes, and my Dad got a new one. Did my battle wounds really prove I was a survivor? Or was I too damaged to be glued back together?”

Nicole’s voice rang true, Marni Mann brought Nicole to life and I was soon consumed by her distressing, disturbing and horrifying experiences at the hands of heroin. A drug so powerful and all-consuming that life became a trick to get that next trip. The degrading situations she finds herself in are just one of the side effects together with demeaning herself daily just to get what she always perceived she needed more than food, clothes on her back and a roof over her head. The lengths to which friends and family will go to, to help, and then their desperate and heart breaking realisation that tough love is the only love. I can’t explain how touching and heart breaking this story was. I cried a river, not only for Nicole, but her brother, her mum and dad and her friends.

“It’s not a mess, Cole. It’s a beautiful mess.”

Every possible emotion is evoked painfully word by word, situation by situation as Marni Mann viscerally portrays life as an addict. Even though I have no experience, I felt as if I was living in the drug havens of Boston. Every character was so real, I could see them, I could hear them and I could smell them. I was totally transported to the pits of hell and for someone as naïve as me it was a world that I never knew existed. It was eye opening, so realistic

Nicole does hit rock bottom and she is one of the ones that are lucky enough to survive the fall, but the climb back out is equally as painful. Book two concentrates on that climb, the pitfalls and the past that never leaves you alone. The consequences, both physical and mental and the after affects and devastation that addiction leaves behind. Nicole does find love, so there is an uplifting element, but a love that will always have the past in the background, a love filled with understanding and protective measures to avoid relapse. Nothing about this duet is pretty, it is raw, it is gritty it is so realistic. It just hurt so bad. I understand there is a YA version of this duet, I implore all parents to make their kids read it, it is enough to put them off for life. If one life is saved, then the research and experiences that this author penned onto paper would be worth it.

“I’ll always be a recovering heroin addict, but heroin no longer owns me.”

These two books now complete my Marni Mann collection; I can now say I have read all her books. These two books were her first and as a debut I cannot relay how impressive and how well put together this duet was. The attention to details, the realism and the no holds barred ugliness really cements this as an unforgettable story.

“My memoir is no damn fairytale. But my story isn’t over yet.”

I am still distraught, I thought this review would be cathartic, but that pain shows no sign of abating. This story moved me, it touched me on so many levels, I will never forget Nicole, and when my kids are old enough to understand they will be reading this series too. I am so emotional right now.

“Good-bye, Boston.”
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on 30 March 2013
this book was sad and it really did pull heart strings. Ireally feel for these people and Ithink by reading this book it will portray a different image of them as before hand I seen people with addictions as a lower class, now i respect them and look up to them for the life journey they've led. I think we have a lot to learn from this.
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on 5 July 2012
I brought this book believing it was an autobiography. I'm actually glad I read it thinking this as it made the book more shocking. The authors knowledge of life as an addict is totally believable, hence why I thought it an autobiography. She has clearly done her research!!
Brilliant, gritty story which totally sucks the reader in. I was addicted. The main character was well established and because of the way it's written the reader almost feels as if they know her.
The reader feels so many emotions reading the book. At times I felt like I was on a rollercoaster! I'm so excited knowing there is a second part in the pipeline. Definitely recommend this book
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on 11 March 2013
Outstanding! the research and understanding on this subject are second to none!! I hope the author continues to write on what most prefer to turn away from.
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on 27 March 2016
I Don't think I will forget this book in a long time, such powerful emotions throughout.
I thought I knew a lot about Drug Addiction.... I didn't.
This story really opens your eyes to the horrors associated with addiction.
I felt for Nicole. I was terrified for her. These Drugs had total control over every aspect of her life. Whether she realised it or not.
It was a hard book to read at times but I found I couldn't put it down. It was so well written and I would recommend it to others, I've already downloaded book two.
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on 20 September 2016
Even more shocking than Candy by Luke Davies, this book has some truly uncomfortable reading and comes across as quite authentic despite it being a work of fiction.
Someone was being shrewd when they titled the book, ensuring that anyone typing 'addiction memoir' is guaranteed to have this pop up in the search results.

My only criticism of the story is the very end (end of 23rd chapter and last chapter) which I found highly dubious considering the main character's history and motivations throughout.
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on 20 June 2016
A really thought-provoking novel which delves into the murky world of drug addiction, and highlights the point that it can happen to anyone. The author has really done her research. The second book is also a must, with a fantastic twist at the end. I highly recommend both books.
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