What was it like growing up as a smart girl in a world of 1970s suburban conformity? What family secrets were hidden behind the vertical blinds and sliding glass doors, or swept under the orange shag carpets? Is it possible to move from married mother-of-two to lesbian feminist activist without passing heartache?
In her bittersweet memoir, Mary Fairhurst Breen sketches scenes from a life darkened by four generations of mental illness and addiction. Despite the odds, Mary’s sense of humor and willingness to practice “radical acceptance” see her through the chaos to a life full of friends, art, and the joys of being a grandmother. Ultimately, she must face her greatest challenge of all when her daughter becomes one of the tens of thousands of people every year to die of opioid poisoning. This is a journey of awakening and activism, and a portrait of a life to be celebrated in all its complexity.
About the author
Mary Fairhurst Breen grew up in the suburbs of Toronto and raised her kids in an artsy, slightly gritty part of the city. A translator by training, she spent thirty years in the not-for-profit sector, managing small organizations with big social-change mandates. She also launched her own arts business, indulging her passion for hand-making, which was a colossally enjoyable and unprofitable venture. Its demise gave her the time and impetus to write her family history for her daughters. She began to publish autobiographical stories, and wound up with her first book, Any Kind of Luck at All.