Winner of the 2016 Eric Hoffer Award in Memoir, the First Horizon Award, and Grand Prize Finalist. Winner of the 2015 USA Best Book Awards in the category of Health: Addiction & Recovery
Synopses & Reviews
D'Anne Burwell's smart, athletic son--raised in a loving and prosperous home--begins abusing OxyContin as a teenager, and within a year drops out of college, walks out of rehab, and lands homeless on the streets of Boulder. Struggling with fear, guilt, and a desperate need to protect her son, D'Anne grapples with her husband's anger and her daughter's depression as the family disease of addiction impacts them all. She discovers the terrifying links between prescription-drug abuse and skyrocketing heroin use. And she comes to understand that to save her child she must step back and allow him to fight for his own soul. Saving Jake gives voice to the devastation shared by the families of addicts, and provides vital hope. Above all, it is a powerful personal story of love and redemption.
"Burwell highlights the extraordinary power of opioid addiction over human behavior... This quietly powerful book will stay with you for a long time." Keith Humphreys, Washington Monthly
"Burwell's story of her family's harrowing journey comes at a fortuitous time, [when] the skyrocketing abuse of prescription drugs and heroin is forcing everyone from health care leaders to presidential candidates to reassess our decades-long war on drugs." Martha Ross, San Jose Mercury News
"Without cleverness or false pride, Burwell, a suburban mother of a struggling son, writes the brutal truth about addiction, once a topic on the national backburner but now in the news as it went from blighted urban areas to plush suburbs. She explains how her bright, athletic son, Jake, experimented with weed and alcohol, then graduated to OxyContin and leaving college abruptly. When Burwell sees how thin her 19-year-old boy has become as he spirals out of control in the grip of the drug, she realizes their parenting has failed. She knows the terror and shame that every besieged family feels when Jake admits to her and his counselor: “Drugs instead of food, thought I could control it. I hate my life.” Addiction, Burwell notes, takes a toll on the addict and his family, with her husband’s economic consultant salary supporting a series of rehab facilities, each ending with the son slipping back to his old life. His mother’s writing is sincere and heartfelt, detailing how their son’s addiction almost unraveled their marriage and financial future, while he remains adamant he can defeat his problem alone. Setbacks and relapses cannot dampen our cheering for this mother and family in this potent personal tale of devotion and commitment and an impassioned plea for a national dialogue on a pressing health crisis." Publisher's Weekly - BookLife
About the Author
D'Anne Burwell holds a Master's degree in education and advocates for families of addicts through radio commentaries, parent mentoring, and speaking engagements. She lives with her husband in Silicon Valley.