--San Francisco Book Review/Portland Book Review
"Ever conscious that the past makes us who we are, Marti MacGibbon, a recovering alcoholic and addict, not only leaves open the door to her past—she goes in, turns the lights on, makes herself a cup of coffee, and gets comfortable on the couch. Her memoir of recovery is an unflinching examination of her choices and what they cost her—as well as how she was pulled out of her personal hell into a saner way of life. MacGibbon, as a certified addiction treatment professional, clearly understands the value of honesty. The bald truth can make us laugh, or it can be a punch in the gut. MacGibbon’s voice in Never Give in to Fear is wholly her own. Her narration is funny— she can laugh at her old self, even as she shows the reader the terror and loss she felt in the past. When she goes to buy drugs from a madwoman dealer near Guerneville, MacGibbon says, “My skin crawled at the thought of visiting this madhouse, but I knew the lunatic woman kept a stash of pain pills around her place. She was the ideal person to seek out as a de facto pharmacist. Besides, Firebird’s leg couldn’t wait while I shopped around the River for opiates in the wee hours of a stormy night.” Though the situation is dire, MacGibbon is self-aware, and is able to show the humor of the moment without losing the tense pacing of her story. The memoir whips along, hardly taking a breath.
Never Give in to Fear earns its place among other recent sobriety memoirs. Comparable to Mary Karr’s Lit, and Drinking: A Love Story by Caroline Knapp, Never Give in to Fear is an excellent story, both inspiring and entertaining. MacGibbon has a natural gift for storytelling—no surprise, considering her background as a standup comic and motivational speaker. What makes Never Give in to Fear shine is MacGibbon’s ease with her story. She doesn’t apologize for who she is, and she doesn’t try to win over the reader. It’s just the facts, ma’am, and by the time the first chapter is over she’s already on a roll. Honest to a fault, in ruthless pursuit of the story, MacGibbon’s memoir is captivating from the very first sentence. MacGibbon has written—and lived—her way through a forbidding place. It’s wonderful to not only read her story, but to know that she has flourished in her years of recovery. A memoir that offers hope, even in the worst of times, Never Give in to Fear is a terrific read. It’s the perfect book for a reader in recovery, though MacGibbon’s real-life adventures will be equally appealing to anyone who needs a little more adrenaline in their reading list.
--Claire Foster Clarion Review: Five Stars (out of Five)
“It’s amazing that Marti MacGibbon survived her harrowing life and had the guts to recount it… not too preachy, the author’s candor and sense of humor keep the pages turning.”
—Suzanne Daly, the bohemian.com
"Marti MacGibbon’s memoir is a very compelling account of her descent into despair and drug addiction. It is an insightful look at how an addict is sucked into the cycle of dependency and how it is difficult to overcome the hold that drugs can make on a person’s life. The story also relates how she ultimately triumphs over the addiction by channeling her own tenacity and with the love and support of family and friends. It was an inspiring read."
--MaryAnn Koopmann, NetGalley
"I just finished this book and found it to be quite the page-turner! I wasn’t expecting it to be as gripping as it actually was—sometimes a memoir can drag and get heavy-handed with reflection but this one kept me reading well into the night. Marti MacGibbon has had SO many misadventures. She had a blossoming career in comedy when her life went a bit off-track with drugs. She was held against her will in Japan and forced to be an escort, she performed odd, menial jobs to support her drug habit, she was homeless for awhile, and had to come to grips with losing custody of her daughter. The book was more well-written than I’d expected, with no typos or grammatical errors, and MacGibbon has a talent for pulling you into the story. The writing made it easy for me to picture what things were like for her, and she does a great job at painting a scene with succinct yet effective prose and dialogue. The quality of writing and her ability to keep me absorbed with her story is what puts this memoir at a full five-stars in my book. "
Disclaimer: I was provided this book for free by NetGalley, but in no way does it influence my star rating or review.
--Shari Morehead, NetGalley
"Marti MacGibbon shows readers just how rough the road to redemption is in her gritty memoir of addiction. The narrative begins with Marti, an aspiring stand-up comedian with a promising career, strung out on drugs and steeped in a culture of sex and music. A new transplant to California from Texas, Marti feels like she’s on top of the world; instead, she’s about to hit rock bottom. She’s running from the pain of losing custody of her daughter, and in her haphazard pursuit of success she clings to “the dope fiends, the winos, the crystal meth chefs. My kind of people. People I could trust.” Soon after moving to a new town, she has a terrifying nightmare that sends her spiraling into a ruinous relationship. When her dark dream turns into a real-life news story, Marti and her boyfriend run further from the fear and realities that, once confronted, will ultimately make or break the couple. Any reader who has ever faced chilling regrets will sympathize with Marti as she recounts, one by one, the red flags of her past. The book’s title, however, may give the impression of a self-he lp focus that doesn’t actually run through the narrative. While parts of Marti’s life may be tough to read about—she doesn’t spare readers the harsh language, violence and sexuality of real life—her levity and transparency make the journey bearable and worthwhile. Her raw, honest, casual, funny voice permeates every page. The road to recovery begins with her daughter’s forgiveness and continues in a new, healthy marriage. Facing a number of tough crowds as her stand-up career restarts also helps Marti learn to maintain her composure. In the end, readers will likely feel the restorative power that’s symbolized in the memoir’s striking closing image of a rare albino redwood, a symbol of healing. A dark yet inspiring look at conquering addiction and regaining hope. "
--Kirkus Indie Review
"We make many mistakes in our life, and if we can laugh at them, we got the best of it. "Never Give In To Fear: Laughing All the Way Up from Rock Bottom" is a memoir of life and living from Marti MacGibbon as she shares her life of world travel and bad ideas, spaced through anecdotes, dealing with her own demons and finding the light at the end of the tunnel to pursue. "Never Give In To Fear" is a fine pick and much worth considering for memoir and humor collections."
--John Burroughs, Midwest Book Reviewer, Feb. 2013