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Hooked: When Addiction Hits Home

Hooked: When Addiction Hits Home

by Chloe Shantz-Hilkes, Decode (With), Robert Munsch (Introduction)

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Jenny dealt with the stress by forgiving her mom—over and over and over again. This collection of ten true stories is based on interviews with people who, in their youth, lived with an addicted parent or sibling. The subjects speak honestly about what it was like to grow up with a family member addicted to alcohol, drugs, food, pills, or gambling. While


Jenny dealt with the stress by forgiving her mom—over and over and over again. This collection of ten true stories is based on interviews with people who, in their youth, lived with an addicted parent or sibling. The subjects speak honestly about what it was like to grow up with a family member addicted to alcohol, drugs, food, pills, or gambling. While describing how they managed to cope, interviewees explore the full range of situations and emotions they experienced—from denial, anger, and confusion to acceptance and forgiveness. Their maturity, sensitivity, and even their sense of humor will give teens going through similar situations the important realization that there are many ways to break free from the chains of others’ addictions.

Editorial Reviews

Kirkus Reviews
A collection of personal accounts from young people whose family members have struggled with a variety of addictions. Each chapter of this slim volume is a short, accessible personal narrative written from the point of view of someone who lived with addiction as a child. The stories are diverse, not only in the kinds of addictions represented (alcohol, gambling, various drugs), but also in the feelings and identities of the writers. The events and emotions in each chapter are straightforwardly told, with demarcated sections, such as "My mom, the middlewoman" and "How I coped." Short contextualizing interpolations ("Many addicts try to blame others--most often family members--for their behavior") are interspersed with the narratives in an easily distinguishable typeface. Peculiarly, the chapters are written in first person, but there are no biographies or other indications as to who the writers are outside the stories they tell. Aside from a brief foreword, an introductory personal account by children's author Robert Munsch, and a few pages of questions and answers with a professor of social work, little attempt is made at tying together the collection. The accounts are varied and honest enough that readers with addiction in their own families will likely find plenty to relate to, but a bit more context would have been helpful. (list of resources) (Nonfiction. 12-18)
Canadian Materials - Joanna Peters
Living with an addicted family member has to be difficult, and for those young adults facing the challenge, this is a book which will truly hit home.
Reading Today Online - Barbara A. Ward
In this honest and insightful book, ten different individuals share their personal stories of living with a parent or sibling with an addiction.
Resource Links - Michael Rogowski
Comprised of ten short reflections, it puts a real face on what addictions do to those around them. It is a powerful and moving read.
Waterloo Region Record - Brenda Hoerle
Ten teens share how they've been affected by family members with food, drug, work, alcohol or gambling addictions. It's a candid, raw read, but those in similar situations will see they are not alone, that help is available and they are not to blame. Guelph children's author Robert Munsch wrote the book's introduction, describing how he fell into the grip of multiple addictions and how he and his family were affected.
Great Unread
The honesty of these stories is a testament to the strength of these children, and the information resources provided make this book a worthwhile read for any teenager living with family members with addiction.
Canadian Children's Book News - Arwen Rudolph is the Rural Branch Supervisor
Hooked deals with teens who have a family member with an addiction. Each of the first ten chapters consists of a real teen's story told in the first person about what it was like to live with an addict and how they coped. Most of the stories involve parents, but one is about a sibling... The last two chapters are comprised of a Common Questions section where a professor of social work answers questions teens have about addiction, and an Advice and Help section which lists resources teens can access in both Canada and the United States if they need help. The first person accounts in this book are very powerful.... Any teen going through a similar situation when reading this will be comforted to find that they are not alone... This is a solid resource for teens dealing with addiction. Recommended.
Children's Literature - Paula McMillen
This is a series of personal recollections from people who grew up with family members suffering from various addictions either behavioral (e.g., gambling, workaholism) or chemical (e.g., cocaine, alcohol). Each individual discusses how the addiction affected their family life generally—financially, socially, emotionally—as well as how it affected them personally. They also summarize the long-term consequences; for some, the person served as an example of how not to run their lives, but for others the experience has left them with damaged self-esteem and significantly impaired ability to form intimate relationships. A significant factor was the reaction of other family members, whether or not they acknowledged the problem, whether they protected or buffered the child from the behaviors of the addicted individual. All of these stories are told from the perspective of adults looking back; they typically include descriptions of the adult relationships these individuals have with the addicted family member. An expert in addictions offers answers to commonly asked questions at the end of the book. A list of both emergency and long-term help resources are provided for both American and Canadian youth who might be seeking assistance. This would be an accessible and useful book to offer someone who might be dealing with addiction issues in the family, and it should be followed up with referrals to appropriate local resources. Reviewer: Paula McMillen, Ph.D.
School Library Journal
Gr 7 Up—This informative title offers 10 compelling personal accounts of the impact of addiction on a family. The writers describe being in their teens trying to deal with the problems and hardships caused by their loved ones' addictions (alcohol, cocaine, gambling, prescription drugs, or work). As they look back, they offer advice, talk about their worries, and, most importantly, tell what they did to cope during the bad times. Each story, about 10 to 12 pages long, opens with a short introduction to the person and the situation. Only a first name is used. Any other personal information, such as age or family members, is revealed through the writers' own words. They all tell of their experiences and share their hopes and fears. Sidebars offer supplementary information such as defining "functioning alcoholic" and explaining behavior common to addicts or how drugs affect brain chemistry. Every story is unique, and not every ending is neat and tidy. Some family members could not control or even acknowledge their addictions. The book has a section of common questions and another that provides resources for help and advice in the U.S. and Canada. As teenagers, these individuals give voice to their own regrets, anger, depression, and the flood of emotions as they witness what addiction does to their parents or siblings. Readers will empathize with their troubles and may find help in dealing with their own situations.—June Shimonishi, Torrance Public Library, CA

Product Details

Annick Press, Limited
Publication date:
Sales rank:
Product dimensions:
5.10(w) x 7.20(h) x 0.50(d)
Age Range:
12 - 17 Years


Meet the Author

Chloe Shantz-Hilkes is a writer and a producer of radio interviews and soundscapes for the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation. She lives in Toronto.

Decode is a global strategic consultancy firm that helps clients "decode" what young people think, feel, want, need, believe in, and aspire to.

Robert Munsch is the author of The Paper Bag Princess and is keenly concerned with addiction issues.

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