Staff Recommendations

The Many Lives of Mama Love: A Memoir of Lying, Stealing, Writing, and Healing

Author Laura Love Hardin presents a candid picture of addiction and incarceration, and the tumultuous journey it takes to heal from the resulting scars. In her lifetime, Hardin has experienced much adversity and, consequentially, many periods of growth. Our journey with Hardin (a typical suburban soccer mom of four, who holds an MFA in creative writing) begins as we find she is using her neighbors’ credit cards to finance her drug addiction. CPS removes her youngest child and Hardin is sentenced to jail, where she must navigate a new system of rules, find her place in the jail hierarchy, and embrace a sisterhood, by becoming “Mama Love.” Throughout, Hardin writes openly about her recovery, internal feelings of guilt and shame, and her desire for redemption.

In recommending this book Darcy says, “I listened to the audio version of this book, as read by Lara Love Hardin.  I couldn’t stop listening.  From the opening to the ending, I felt everything she described.  She does a phenomenal job of helping those of us who haven’t suffered from addiction understand it.  She describes, so clearly, how difficult it is for someone to overcome their worst moment because our penal system continues to punish people long after they’ve served their time.  I highly recommend this book to everyone, but especially to our CASAs, as it truly demonstrates just how hard it is to succeed in our “rehabilitation” system.”

Dopesick: Dealers, Doctors, and the Drug Company that Addicted America

Dopesick is a story that follows the preventable history of the opioid epidemic, focusing on central Appalachia, an area that was absolutely crushed by the targeted marketing of oxycontin by Purdue Pharma.  Written by Beth Macy, Dopesick begins as Macy seeks answers for a grieving mother who lost her only son to the epidemic, and uncovers a tale of greed and addiction, where overtreatment became the norm.  Macy provides readers with an intimate look into the families, communities, and systems deeply impacted by a manmade, avoidable crisis that has forever changed the country.

CASAs may recognize this recommendation as we have previously recommended the riveting Hulu series of the same name. If you love the series, you’re sure to enjoy the book!

As the Opioid Epidemic Persists, Virginia’s Foster Care Support Falters For Families

Leah Small writes about what it is like for kinship caretakers to take on not only caretaking responsibilities but the heavy lifting that goes on without resources and financial support. We follow Vicki Lightfoot, a retired IRS auditor who has taken on a kinship caretaker role for her four grandchildren. Lightfoot represents many who have stepped in to raise a relative’s child. The article touches on what many CASAs may encounter within their cases: kinship caretakers, addiction, and relative services (or a lack thereof).

“This article provided great insight into what a lot of kinship caretakers go through. It really reflects where Virginia stands in terms of support for kinship care families,” Fabi says.