Autobiography of a self-confessed addict

2009-11-04 00:00

BOOK REVIEW

Woman, Trashed

Joanne Brodie

Penguin

IT IS sometimes difficult to review a book which acts as a confessional of sorts for its ­author. One does not want to minimise the exper­iences of the author in any way as no one can ever judge the path others walk. But airing dirty laundry can make for heavy reading.

Joanne Brodie is now an ­addictions counsellor. This auto­biography is her story of addiction and ­dysfunction told in graphic ­detail.

Coming from an apparently ­respectable home, Brodie’s self­destruction seemed incomprehensible to those around her. Her food addiction turned into an addiction first to cough mixture and then to prescription drugs and finally to ­cocaine. She tried to commit suicide on many occasions, but she was ­always saved.

Her 20s, 30s and early 40s were lived through a drugged haze. The only time she stopped using drugs was for a brief period when ­pregnant with her son. His birth and the end of her marriage led to an even more flagrant abuse of drugs, until her child was eventually taken away from her. Soon she started working as a hooker in a so-called upmarket escort agency and then branched out on her own to run her own brothel specialising in S & M.

Brodie puts down all these aberrations to her dysfunctional attitude to sex. Finally a session of Reiki ­reveals that her father sexually abused her when she was very small.

Brodie admits that her behaviour was very self-absorbed and selfish, especially after she had a child, and the reader can’t help agreeing with her at times. The fact that she recovered enough to run her own addictions centre, though, is laudable.

Brodie writes her story well. It’s a compelling read, although one can’t help feeling like a voyeur as she reveals sordid secrets about her past. Hopefully this book will help others who battle with addiction to see their way forward into recovery, no matter how far gone they are.

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