Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Triumphs and Tragedies
by Bill Hayes

Publisher: Final Word Press
Pages: 384
Format: eARC
Buy the Book: Amazon

Goodreads:  Hermosa Beach, California, in the mid-1960s. Sun, surf, swanky sand castles along the Strand, and a soundtrack of “Fun, Fun, Fun.” But the hang-loose life of the locals would soon be drowned out and painted black. The social storm brewing could turn even the most perfect wave into a brutal riptide.

Karl McMillen, Jr. deserved a piece of the Pacific paradise. He’d plumbed his way up from screwfittings and 
sweat into mega-business ownership and multimillions. He’d earned the azure-awesome view that he woke to every magical morning. And he’d earned the ideal family at his side. A dynamic wife and two bright, talented sons with sky’s-the-limit potential.

But that storm…

He never saw it coming. It hit hard and it hit fast. The grinding gales of addiction ripped everything he had apart.  How do you go from planning exotic family vacations and evaluating real estate investments to planning prison visits and evaluating rehab centers and criminal defense pleas? How do you watch your surfer champion sons transform into drug lords? Inmates? How do you watch your entire family die; one by one?

And yet never stop fighting.

What does it take to look in the mirror and search for the meaning of enabler? To face that you’re sacrificing your own livelihood for Scotch? To ride a sheer, pounding wave of triumphs and tragedies, and then pull out and paddle back for more?

It takes a rare and special person—Karl McMillen.

Kritters Thoughts:  A true story about a family's battle with addictive issues to drugs, alcohol and maybe even working.  There were many moments in this book that I wished it were a piece of fiction, because I wanted this family to take a different avenue or approach to their son's and their own issues. 

My biggest issue with the story was the continuous amount of second chances that Karl and Thelma provided to their sons.  Even at the end, Karl was still giving chances when he was stating in letters to his children that he would stop providing for them.  Karl was an enabler and I am not sure he ever truly admitted it and that was hard to read and understand.  Along with that, I felt that maybe Karl and Thelma didn't provide enough attention to their sons as they were young and this could have prevented the path that the boys took.  They had all the "things" they needed, but Karl and Thelma didn't give of their time to their family.  Finally, I was not a fan that Karl and Thelma were not battling their own demons with truth and honesty.  They had issues of their own and should have taken care of themselves, just as much as they were worrying about their boys. 

The one interesting thing that I took from the book was the time that I read this book, right after a well known Glee actor, Corey Monteith died from a mix of heroin and alcohol.  After reading about Karl's son's life long battles with addiction and how recovery is hard, it made me think about Corey and how even though he had a few stints in rehab, he never found complete recovery.

As this is a true story, it is hard to really rate the characters and the story, but I just couldn't handle this family and their crazy story.

Rating: not such a good read


Ebook 2013 Challenge: 54 out of 50

Disclosure of Material Connection:  I received one copy of this book free of charge from JKS Communications.  I was not required to write a positive review in exchange for receipt of the book; rather, the opinions expressed in this review are my own.

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