Eilene Zimmerman's ex-husband, Peter, had it all: He was a partner at a prestigious law firm, lived in a $2 million house by the beach, and had two great kids. But a few years after their divorce she started noticing erratic behavior: absenteeism, weight loss, constant exhaustion and sickness. Months later, when she finds him dead, she goes on a journey to investigate how a man she thought she knew had become a drug addict.
... heart-wrenching ... the obverse of an addiction memoir: a chronicle of trying to make sense of a loved one’s struggles with the problem ... Zimmerman writes movingly about the glimmers of romance in the couple’s early years, when they would read poetry together in bed and take long drives into the wilderness ... Zimmerman can be keenly observant ... Zimmerman’s experience leads her to research and report on white-collar addiction, particularly with respect to the legal profession, where, she discovers, anxiety and depression are rampant, and heavy drinking and drug use common. And yet, ignorant as she was while her husband was alive, her account of her own confusion is the story that lingers.
In Zimmerman’s skillful hands, the compelling narrative unfolds seamlessly and convincingly ... The first-person narrative occasionally veers into excerpts about the psychology and physiology of addiction, citing research and statistics. Author Zimmerman’s brutally honest account identifies several telltale signs that, in hindsight, seem painfully obvious. They help underscore her revelation that addiction knows no demographic barriers.
... offers a much fuller account of Peter’s life (and Zimmerman's), and it reports on the factors — including depression, work stress, and competitive consumerism — that fuel white-collar addiction ... reads like an amalgam of two different books. The first, recounting Zimmerman’s love story, her marriage, the subsequent divorce, and Peter’s gradual deterioration, is an engrossing narrative laden with elements of pathos and mystery ... both warning and self-help, a preventative against future tragedies. But it falls short — perhaps inevitably — of illuminating the complex, seemingly unfathomable psychology of Peter’s addiction ... What is missing, through no fault of Zimmerman’s, is Peter’s own voice — specifically, his testimony about how his dependence on drugs, from opioids to speed and cocaine, started, and how and why it got out of hand ... Zimmerman manages to end this poignant tale on a gently positive note.