By Nadia Davis
Publication Date: April 25, 2023
Raised in a mixed ethnicity household and the youngest of seven children, Nadia Davis followed in her father’s footsteps of becoming a lawyer, dreaming of righting the wrongs of the world. But her childhood was filled with abuse from people she should have been able to trust, and that set her on a path of shame and guilt. More physical and sexual abuse followed, leading to PTSD. A near-fatal accident set her up for a lifetime of chronic pain, which led to substance abuse. Just when her legal and political star was rising, her addiction and continuing trust of the wrong people resulted in a very public scandal and arrest. This memoir tracks her long journey through hell, and her climb out the other side to a life filled with love and eternal truth.
It’s very difficult to review a memoir, especially one as honest and raw as this one because I can’t get away from the feeling that I’m judging the author, which is the last thing I want to do. So to the best of my ability, I’ll leave out my own opinions that don’t focus on the writing.
The book is structured with letters to her son and her father followed by parts of her story, interspersed with song lyrics written by her brother and later, excerpts from spiritual teachers. While I loved the letters for being so open and heart-felt, they slowed the pacing and seemed to hint at things that the reader wasn’t aware of yet, but wanted to get to to understand the full scope of the author’s recovery. Since I’m not familiar with her brother’s musical career, the song lyrics didn’t add very much for me but they obviously mean a great deal to the author. I got the most out of her letters to her father, since my own father has also passed and I think that’s the key to rating any memoir – I think most reviewers will rate a memoir higher or lower depending on how much of the story they can relate to.
The subject matter is raw and, depending on the reader’s history and experiences, can be difficult to read. Frankly, I’m astonished the author managed to continue to function given everything she’d gone through and internalized, and I applaud her for both continuing to press on and when she couldn’t anymore, for standing tall and telling her story herself. She’s much more forgiving to some people in her past and present than I would have been, but I suppose that’s just one lesson to be taken from this. I did resonate with her final go at recovery, having spent several years in a fellowship myself, although I could only sympathize with her other trauma and pain since I have no first-hand experience with them. However, several of her comments made me think about what people close to me live with in a new light.
I do wish more specific emphasis had been placed on her recovery, both in therapy and in the program, and possibly some advice for people who don’t have all day to devote to their self-care. The author made an incredibly good point, many times, that women get lost in the system who need help but, because they aren’t willing to give up their kids (or perhaps financially can’t walk away from life), they don’t get the help they need. But her (final, successful attempt) at healing herself only covered a small portion near the end of the book. I did see a note on Goodreads that she’s working on another book that goes into more detail about her recovery and spiritual growth so if anyone else felt the same, there may be more to come.
Final rating: 4/5 stars ⭐⭐⭐⭐
Thank you to NetGalley and Girl Friday Productions for providing the ARC ebook. I’ve left my review honestly and voluntarily.
Until next time, thank you for visiting.