Friday, August 26, 2016

Review: My Confection by Lisa Kotin

Addiction is such an ugly word. It's a terrible state of being too. But when we acknowledge someone as an addict, unless we are being flip about something completely harmless, we typically mean that their addiction is to something as troubling as alcohol or drugs. Rarely do we think of someone as being addicted to sugar, at least in the strictest definition of the term. But some people are in fact addicted to it and it can be incredibly detrimental to their life, their health, and their well-being. In fact, looking at my own life, I sometimes think I sit balanced precariously on the knife's edge beside sugar addiction myself.

Lisa Kotin doesn't sit on the knife's edge. She is a self-admitted sugar addict and this is her memoir. This is not about how to kick a sugar addiction. This is all about how Lisa has lived with it all of her life and how she continues to live with it. The reader follows Lisa as she details her addiction, as she recounts her family life, the secrets and sneaking and irrational reasoning her addiction drove her to. She tells of the various programs she failed to complete in her attempts to curb the addiction and the programs that failed her. She is no holds barred and unfiltered in telling about the physical effects of sugar addiction on her body. She is open about the hold it had over her life, the binging, the need, and the suffering that was the result. There is nothing sanitized here but there are moments of humor that help to leaven the memoir a bit.

The writing is confessional and sometimes rough. Kotin weaves in the story of her road to becoming an actor and performer as well as her fraught and sometimes dysfunctional love life, and although any addiction impacts all areas of life, these parts exist somewhat uneasily together in this memoir.  Generally life isn't so easy and one dimensional that everything can be traced back to one cause.  But it is clear that the desire to lay her hands on sugary foods or the mental energy needed to prevent herself from doing so drives much of what she does and thinks. As for many addicts, Kotin takes one step forward and three steps back. This isn't a road map to kick a sugar addiction, this is the story of a decades long, ongoing battle and the end of the memoir reflects that, giving no easy answers and not claiming victory. It's an unusual addiction memoir, one that gave me, with my bag of fun size candy bars tucked away, pause for sure.

Thanks to LibraryThing Early Reviewers and the publisher for sending me a copy of the book to review.

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