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A scorching memoir of a love affair with an addict, weaving personal reckoning with psychology and history to understand the nature of addiction, codependency, and our appetite for obsessive love. "The disease he has is addiction," Nina Renata Aron writes of her boyfriend, K. "The disease I have is loving him." Their love affair was dramatic, urgent, overwhelming--an in A scorching memoir of a love affair with an addict, weaving personal reckoning with psychology and history to understand the nature of addiction, codependency, and our appetite for obsessive love. "The disease he has is addiction," Nina Renata Aron writes of her boyfriend, K. "The disease I have is loving him." Their love affair was dramatic, urgent, overwhelming--an intoxicating antidote to the long, lonely days of early motherhood. But soon after they get together, K starts using again, and years of relapses and broken promises follow. Even as his addiction deepens, she stays, convinced she is the one who can get him sober. If she leaves him, has she failed? After an adolescence marred by family trauma and addiction, Nina can't help but feel responsible for those suffering around her. How can she break this pattern? In prose at once unflinching and acrobatic, Aron delivers a piercing memoir of romance and addiction, drawing on intimate anecdote as well as academic research to crack open the long-feminized and overlooked phenomenon of codependency. She shifts between visceral, ferocious accounts of her affair with K and introspective analysis of the part she plays in his addictions, as well as defining moments in the history of codependency, from temperance to the formation of Al-Anon to more recent research in the psychology of addiction. Good Morning, Destroyer of Men's Souls is a blazing, big-hearted book, one that illuminates and adds nuance to the messy tethers between femininity, enabling, and love.


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A scorching memoir of a love affair with an addict, weaving personal reckoning with psychology and history to understand the nature of addiction, codependency, and our appetite for obsessive love. "The disease he has is addiction," Nina Renata Aron writes of her boyfriend, K. "The disease I have is loving him." Their love affair was dramatic, urgent, overwhelming--an in A scorching memoir of a love affair with an addict, weaving personal reckoning with psychology and history to understand the nature of addiction, codependency, and our appetite for obsessive love. "The disease he has is addiction," Nina Renata Aron writes of her boyfriend, K. "The disease I have is loving him." Their love affair was dramatic, urgent, overwhelming--an intoxicating antidote to the long, lonely days of early motherhood. But soon after they get together, K starts using again, and years of relapses and broken promises follow. Even as his addiction deepens, she stays, convinced she is the one who can get him sober. If she leaves him, has she failed? After an adolescence marred by family trauma and addiction, Nina can't help but feel responsible for those suffering around her. How can she break this pattern? In prose at once unflinching and acrobatic, Aron delivers a piercing memoir of romance and addiction, drawing on intimate anecdote as well as academic research to crack open the long-feminized and overlooked phenomenon of codependency. She shifts between visceral, ferocious accounts of her affair with K and introspective analysis of the part she plays in his addictions, as well as defining moments in the history of codependency, from temperance to the formation of Al-Anon to more recent research in the psychology of addiction. Good Morning, Destroyer of Men's Souls is a blazing, big-hearted book, one that illuminates and adds nuance to the messy tethers between femininity, enabling, and love.

30 review for Good Morning, Destroyer of Men's Souls: A Memoir of Women, Addiction, and Love

  1. 4 out of 5

    Meike

    There are many, many memoirs about addiction out there, but Nina Renata Aron rather focuses on co-dependency, the way people who have close relationships with addicts are affected by this illness. She does so by contemplating her own life and the family she grew up in: The way her grandmother and mother lived and taught love and relationships, the heroin addiction of her beloved older sister Lucia, her own background in the punk scene and the Riot Grrrl movement, her depression and drinking habi There are many, many memoirs about addiction out there, but Nina Renata Aron rather focuses on co-dependency, the way people who have close relationships with addicts are affected by this illness. She does so by contemplating her own life and the family she grew up in: The way her grandmother and mother lived and taught love and relationships, the heroin addiction of her beloved older sister Lucia, her own background in the punk scene and the Riot Grrrl movement, her depression and drinking habits, the way she chose her husband, and of course her relationship with K, the core topic of the book. K was her first love, and years after they split up, she takes up with him again - but now she has two young chldren, and K's a heroin addict. Does our protagonist enable her lover's bad choices by not letting him down? Is her wish to help him pathological? Is K's addiction a lifestyle choice? Why are co-dependents usually women? Aron's writing is raw and honest, and she frequently refers to scientific research, historic developments (like the temperance movement, to which the title of the book alludes), and other writers like Terese Marie Mailhot and Rachel Cusk. In an intersectional approach, she investigates how gender roles - the (good) daughter, sister, mother, lover, wife etc. - affect decisions and can be traps. It's certainly possible that the real K simply had a name that started with a K, but I found it interesting that Aron chose this letter to refer to him - Franz Kafka famously employed characters named K in his texts which investigate "identities of potential" (as Malte Kleinwort put it), of what people might become. Aron now states that co-dependents fall in love with their partners' potential, with what they might become if they were cured - while I find that (hopeful) sentiment relatable, it certainly is a kafkaesk idea (plus Aron holds degrees in Russian and Eurasian studies, and Kafka was born in Prague). A real pageturner of a memoir about destructive love, a book which shows that not only addiction is an illness, but co-dependency is as well.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Darcy G.

    I struggled with what rating to give this. The good: Nina has a gift with words. She’s a talented writer. What I didn’t like: I found her immature; too often wanting to blame “family trauma” for her mistakes. But the family she writes about is full of love and commitment to another. Her family life wasn’t easy- I feel her parents fear and worry over her older sister’s addiction. But She seems to think that hard times equal trauma, and I don’t think that’s fair. She’s an awful mother, putting her I struggled with what rating to give this. The good: Nina has a gift with words. She’s a talented writer. What I didn’t like: I found her immature; too often wanting to blame “family trauma” for her mistakes. But the family she writes about is full of love and commitment to another. Her family life wasn’t easy- I feel her parents fear and worry over her older sister’s addiction. But She seems to think that hard times equal trauma, and I don’t think that’s fair. She’s an awful mother, putting her children into actual family trauma. I’m curious to read the book they might write someday. As she talks about breast feeding her youngest daughter while also purchasing her deadbeat boyfriend Fentanyl (not the father of her child; that is her husband), all I think is “holy shit why didn’t her parents or sisters take her children away from her?” She also cleverly tells the story in a confusing timeline, hoping the reader won’t piece together certain details. For example, when K comes back into her life (when she’s married), he tells her he’s been sober for a year. Next: they’re having sex. Then all of a sudden he’s not sober anymore, but she refuses to acknowledge she’s the difference. Is she really the victim here? Some people need to live in chaos- and this is her. But she created her own chaos. She’s not a victim of other’s addiction. The codependent. But it was never clear why- why she wouldn’t put her children’s lives and well-being ahead of her own. Honestly, she should have had her ex-husband have full custody. He seemed like a great father and caretaker for the children. I found her lack of responsibility selfish, frustrating, and immature. And then at the end she has the audacity to say she is a good mother.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Lily Herman

    Nina Renata Aron's Good Morning, Destroyer of Men's Souls is an absolute mind fuck, and I mean that in the best possible way. While the memoir is centered around Aron's close proximity to addiction and an exploration of her codependency within those relationships, it quickly becomes a larger treatise on womanhood, upbringing, sexism, and what it truly means to love another person in a patriarchal world. Is love passive or is it active? Is love about mundane daily life or once-in-a-lifetime momen Nina Renata Aron's Good Morning, Destroyer of Men's Souls is an absolute mind fuck, and I mean that in the best possible way. While the memoir is centered around Aron's close proximity to addiction and an exploration of her codependency within those relationships, it quickly becomes a larger treatise on womanhood, upbringing, sexism, and what it truly means to love another person in a patriarchal world. Is love passive or is it active? Is love about mundane daily life or once-in-a-lifetime moments that take your breath away? How do we love people who aren't able to properly love themselves or us, and are they worth our sacrifice? For someone facing issues with people-pleasing or codependency, the answers aren't so simple. There's an elevated rawness to Aron's words and her slow unpacking of her history and these questions that's honestly rare in memoirs—and even addiction-related ones. There's no performance or righteousness, only her painful truth. Good Morning, Destroyer of Men's Souls is required reading, and I guarantee you'll stew in your own thoughts and emotions and memories for days (if not weeks) afterwards. I can already tell this is a book I'm going to revisit for years to come, and I'll find something new in it at every stage of life. I feel lucky to have read this memoir, even if I'm mentally overheated at the moment.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Sarah

    A fantastic, deeply personal memoir on addiction and codependency. I'm not sure anything I say about this will quite do it justice - Aron writes deftly about her own personal experience of growing up with addiction within her immediate family, her relationship with K - a man she meets as a teenager and later becomes a heroin addict, the history of Al-Anon (the support group for family and friends of alcoholics) and her own experiences of the group, as well as slightly more general sections on lo A fantastic, deeply personal memoir on addiction and codependency. I'm not sure anything I say about this will quite do it justice - Aron writes deftly about her own personal experience of growing up with addiction within her immediate family, her relationship with K - a man she meets as a teenager and later becomes a heroin addict, the history of Al-Anon (the support group for family and friends of alcoholics) and her own experiences of the group, as well as slightly more general sections on love, codependency and how the two are much more complex when intertwined. These themes are all weaved together with a more "traditional" memoir about her depression, marriage and motherhood. Given all the different themes this could have easily become confused and seemed like it was trying to achieve too much, but that never felt the case; in fact I found this pretty unputdownable. Highly recommended. Thank you Netgalley and Serpent's Tail/Profile Books for the advance copy, which was provided in exchange for an honest review.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Beth

    This book is strange in both intriguing and offputting ways. This book is supposed to be a memoir of independence, the author's journey with relation to those with substance abuse issues in her life, including her sister, husband, and boyfriend. Much of her reflections on their addiction and her codependence from Al-Anon and AA. What I found confusing is that the author herself struggles with alcohol addiction (and possibly drug addiction) for many years of her life, including right after the bi This book is strange in both intriguing and offputting ways. This book is supposed to be a memoir of independence, the author's journey with relation to those with substance abuse issues in her life, including her sister, husband, and boyfriend. Much of her reflections on their addiction and her codependence from Al-Anon and AA. What I found confusing is that the author herself struggles with alcohol addiction (and possibly drug addiction) for many years of her life, including right after the birth of her second child. I wondered why she categorized herself as Al-Anon and those around her as AA. I wondered if she thought about how other people in her life, say her husband, could have qualified himself as being a codependent and the author as the one with an addiction. She did not really explain why she got to qualify others as addicts but herself with an addiction as a codependent.  The author also does not seem to recognize her privilege throughout the book. She talks in sad ways about money and credit cards but, honestly, who can afford to shell out $40 every day to a boyfriend who is not working while managing a one-parent household in the Bay Area? She seemed incapable of recognizing her own privilege within her situation. This does not negate the challenges she faces but the memoir seems devoid of any reflection on privilege.  For an author who spends an exhaustive amount of time in the book quoting authors, essayist, poets, etc. she explains away a lot of her "codependence" to not being able to express herself, i.e. her husband going sailing all weekend and her not being able to ask him to stay home. Although easier said than done, I found myself wondering how can someone whose job it is to utilize words and who choose to excessively utilize other authors' words be so unable to use words to express her basic needs? Is this part of codependence? Or is this part of the author's growth and something she should reflect more on and not dismiss? Finally, I appreciated the author's work of understanding historical and modern frameworks of gender both within the larger society and, more specifically, with addiction. However, the author fixates on her own beauty throughout her life. These calls for gender equality and reflections on gender in society seem misaligned with the author's personal obsession with her own beauty, including make-up, hair, clothes, etc.  Overall, I cannot say I recommend the book but I will say that I found it thought-provoking, if not infuriating, at times.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Sheree | Keeping Up With The Penguins

    I know we shouldn’t judge a book by it’s cover… but judging it by its title is fine, right? Good Morning, Destroyer Of Men’s Souls is a corker. I would’ve picked up this book no matter what it was about. Luckily, Nina Renata Aron has the chops to back it up. This is an incredible memoir about love and addiction, from the perspective of the one who loves the addict. It's an unflinching account of a life of co-dependency, one I would recommend for fans of Kate Holden, Cheryl Strayed, and Susannah I know we shouldn’t judge a book by it’s cover… but judging it by its title is fine, right? Good Morning, Destroyer Of Men’s Souls is a corker. I would’ve picked up this book no matter what it was about. Luckily, Nina Renata Aron has the chops to back it up. This is an incredible memoir about love and addiction, from the perspective of the one who loves the addict. It's an unflinching account of a life of co-dependency, one I would recommend for fans of Kate Holden, Cheryl Strayed, and Susannah Cahalan. My extended review of Good Morning, Destroyer Of Men's Souls can be found on Keeping Up With The Penguins.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Chelsea Bieker

    This book is so needed. For anyone who has ever loved someone with an addiction, for those of us with addiction, and those who yearn to learn more, this story is brilliantly personal but also universal. An act of high literary memoir and journalism woven seamlessly. I read this in a burst. It's also a love story, so real and visceral I couldn't put it down. I am so happy this book exists. It feels inspiring and new and like the update we need for our current times. I can't say enough about this This book is so needed. For anyone who has ever loved someone with an addiction, for those of us with addiction, and those who yearn to learn more, this story is brilliantly personal but also universal. An act of high literary memoir and journalism woven seamlessly. I read this in a burst. It's also a love story, so real and visceral I couldn't put it down. I am so happy this book exists. It feels inspiring and new and like the update we need for our current times. I can't say enough about this book! I love it.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Liv

    Good Morning Destroyer of Men's Souls: A Memoir by Nina Renata Aron - ⭐⭐⭐⭐ "I believe the way we tell stories about addiction matters deeply--it informs the way we act, from the level of public health discourse to the kitchen table. It informs the degree of empathy we can bring to those suffering with this disease, the extent to which we can protect ourselves from its destruction and embrace living in spite of it. And it shapes the way we understand love and care--what can be justly expec Good Morning Destroyer of Men's Souls: A Memoir by Nina Renata Aron - ⭐⭐⭐⭐ "I believe the way we tell stories about addiction matters deeply--it informs the way we act, from the level of public health discourse to the kitchen table. It informs the degree of empathy we can bring to those suffering with this disease, the extent to which we can protect ourselves from its destruction and embrace living in spite of it. And it shapes the way we understand love and care--what can be justly expected of us, and when it has gone too far." This book was both deeply compulsive to read and intimately unsettling as Nina Renata Aron opens up, quite graphically and intimately in places, about her life. The book centres on her relationships and how the idea of co-dependency influenced by her relationships with her sister and her ex-boyfriend/lover K who were both drug abusers. This book is not just a memoir, however, as Aron examines ideas surrounding co-dependency; its origin, its gendered stereotypes, the arguments and theories surrounding it and what it means. I would not recommend this book lightly to anyone given the subject matter of drug abuse and codependency. However, I think this book sheds light on those in society who both have a very real issue and those individuals in their life who have to deal with it. Drug abuse is frequently seen as a taboo subject and often drug abusers are written off as "wastes of space" and more. When actually much of that abuse and dependency on drugs is driven by deeper issues. Nina Renata Aron does not shy away from discussing her own recklessness, obsessions and desires. However, she also humanises and is incredibly introspective as she examines the various moments of her life. This book is dark, gritty and quite frankly pretty visceral at times, but it's also incredibly honest and open. Thank you to @serpentstail for the #gifted copy of this book.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Denver Public Library

    The subject of addiction and recovery is so popular in the memoir genre that it has its own subsection, the recovery memoir. What is less charted, and arguably more interesting to many readers, is the story of the people who love and live with addicts. Codependency — we've all heard of it — is the clinical term, and author Nina Renata Aron makes the intricate psychology of it vividly clear in this memoir. The title comes from a declaration made by Carrie Nation, an outspoken proponent of tempera The subject of addiction and recovery is so popular in the memoir genre that it has its own subsection, the recovery memoir. What is less charted, and arguably more interesting to many readers, is the story of the people who love and live with addicts. Codependency — we've all heard of it — is the clinical term, and author Nina Renata Aron makes the intricate psychology of it vividly clear in this memoir. The title comes from a declaration made by Carrie Nation, an outspoken proponent of temperance, to bartenders before she took a hatchet to their establishments. The narrative circles around the author and her relationship with 'K', an addict she met while still young, and her own sister, also an addict. Even as Aron observes the codependency between her mother and sister while fighting her sister's addiction, she doesn't see that in her relationship with K. It is not until K puts her children at risk does Aron finally see that her addiction is K. This is an unflinching and painfully honest memoir from a side of the addiction story that is not often seen.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Sharon Huether

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. Addiction is a disease that Nina, is trying to cure her boyfriend K. of. Their relationship is dramatic, intoxicating, fun times and laughter. When K is using, he fills Nina with broken promises. The last straw was when he drives drunk with her children in the car. Nina's own family has had issues with addiction and codependency. This book shows the correlation of femininity, enabling and love. I want to thank Random House for sending me this book.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Cassidee Lanstra

    I was sent a review galley of Good Morning, Destroyer of Men’s Souls by Nina Renata Aron. The title immediately interested me and the beautiful cover drew my eye, as it is even more impressive in color. This is a memoir about love, addiction, codependency, and women. If you’ve heard one addict story, you’ve heard a thousand; man made homeless from his drug problem gets clean and makes his fortune, teens stealing from their parent’s purse to fund their habits, people finding their loved ones cold I was sent a review galley of Good Morning, Destroyer of Men’s Souls by Nina Renata Aron. The title immediately interested me and the beautiful cover drew my eye, as it is even more impressive in color. This is a memoir about love, addiction, codependency, and women. If you’ve heard one addict story, you’ve heard a thousand; man made homeless from his drug problem gets clean and makes his fortune, teens stealing from their parent’s purse to fund their habits, people finding their loved ones cold and blue after an overdose. There’s a million stories with a variety of endings. The public is fascinated with the stories of addicts (that’s not to say that the public is enamored with HELPING addicts, just poking and prodding them for their “journey”). What we hear about less, is the perspective of the loved ones of addicts. You might hear a testimonial here and there, but we rarely get into how deeply one’s life is affected by loving and taking care of an addict. Nina makes a comment about how the family members are just usually just seen as supporting cast in the story. I think this is an important narrative that she brings to light. Aren’t their lives torn apart? Aren’t they affected by depression, by the money drain that comes with taking care of an addict, by the instability and havoc that an addict can impose upon their lives? They are working, cleaning, nurturing, and worrying while the throes of addiction grasp the person that they love. In Good Morning, Destroyer of Men’s Souls, Nina highlights her childhood, where she was forced to take on the responsibility of an adult at a young age in the midst of her parents’ divorce and her sister’s growing addiction to drugs. She watched her mom date and nurture a drug addict for close to a decade after her father. This habit of nurturing an addict, which seems to have been psychologically instilled into her at a young age, follows her into her adulthood. She reunites with an old flame and is absolutely consumed by him. Nina is very honest with us. She cheats on her husband and trades her financially stable, solid, predictable life for the instability and at times, excitement, that comes from loving an addict. By the end of the book, Nina has come to terms with the fact that her codependency is putting her children at risk. This is one of those books that is hard to read because you want to shake Nina and yell, “leave him! What is wrong with you? There’s children involved!” That’s part of the issue though, obsessive love doesn’t make sense. You can say that family and friends are enablers —and they are, to an extent— but what is the alternative? Seeing your loved one on the street, their body rotting from misuse, starving, dying alone. An addict will rarely be forced by others into fighting their addiction. Nina understand this, and knows there’s people out there that can cut someone off as soon as their offers of help are being abused, and I think she understands there’s a strength in that. She was not one of those people. Her whole life she’s been conditioned to help the people around her, to the detriment to herself, her kids, her stability. Nina speaks with a clear, poignant voice. She’s that rare type of person that can look upon her past with a keen sense of awareness. I think those of us that are aware of our trauma tend to be a bit sadder. Though I haven’t ever been in a codependent situation with an addict, I have been in a codependent relationship with someone that adamantly ignored their own trauma’s existence, which spurred into a toxic, harmful relationship. I related heavily to Nina’s talk of obsessive love, to the addiction of the adrenaline that an unstable relationship provides, of how a calm relationship can be difficult to adjust to after. She is also a middle child, like myself, and talks about how that made her more likely the peacemaker, the pleaser. Less likely to say no, more likely to say yes. I could see a lot of myself in her descriptions even though I didn’t have the same experience. There’s also a theme of female empowerment here. Women are often the ones caring for people at their own expense, but most of our growth comes from when we are alone. Nina watches her mother blossom after the end of her relationship with an addict. When she ends her own relationship, she is able to provide a secure and stable life for her kids. It can be hard to find the line between empathy for others and respecting the needs of our own lives, but there’s a strength in both. There’s a really lovely quote about women becoming themselves in the space where men aren’t, that I’d love to include after publication. I must admit, there were a few moments that I glazed over. There was a cycle of attending Al-Anon while alternatively berating Al-Anon. I’m sure this would be more interesting to people that have gone through this cycle, though. There were also moments that our author skipped around and then kept going back to parts of her life that she had previously talked about. Some of those moment seemed like they would have been more interesting to address this chronologically instead of tearing us away from the current topic to revisit. These were some of the only flaws I could see. Ultimately, I give this book 4 out of 5 stars. There’s some beautiful quotes from this book that I’d love to share but I am obligated to wait until after publication. I will repost with quotes at that time. Good Morning, Destroyer of Men’s Souls will be published April 21st, 2020.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Suzanne Paul

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. It’s was an so so book about a women who lives with addicts in her life and who herself is addicted to some degree to her own devices. The book didn’t make me like her as a person or how she dealt with situations. How can a book be deep and yet not really deep. I didn’t feel anything really. I had more questions about how her kids grew up dealing with this life. That is about the only question I had in my mind. I see all these 5 star ratings and wonder if I’m the only person who felt like it was It’s was an so so book about a women who lives with addicts in her life and who herself is addicted to some degree to her own devices. The book didn’t make me like her as a person or how she dealt with situations. How can a book be deep and yet not really deep. I didn’t feel anything really. I had more questions about how her kids grew up dealing with this life. That is about the only question I had in my mind. I see all these 5 star ratings and wonder if I’m the only person who felt like it was just meh.

  13. 5 out of 5

    BetsyD

    Really, I'd give this 3.5 stars. The writer still seemed kind of in love with her illness, honestly, and with her own sense of her cool girlness. I'd also recommend Codependents Anonymous rather than Al-Anon for codependency recovery, and I didn't find that the two parts of the book (an incomplete history of codependency and her own personal story) meshed very well. Of course, this may be because I've been waiting a long time for a good codependency memoir and this one didn't really speak to me.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Jules

    I devoured Good Morning, Destroyer of Men’s Souls in a day. For me, it hits the sweet spot between academia and accessibility, and lived experience and research. There’s a lot of psychological and sociological ideas and concepts around codependency, addiction, gender, self esteem, equality, division of labor, all of which are easy to understand in the context of the author’s life (and your own - I’ve realized I’m probably more codependent than I’d thought). It’s beautifully written too: I loved I devoured Good Morning, Destroyer of Men’s Souls in a day. For me, it hits the sweet spot between academia and accessibility, and lived experience and research. There’s a lot of psychological and sociological ideas and concepts around codependency, addiction, gender, self esteem, equality, division of labor, all of which are easy to understand in the context of the author’s life (and your own - I’ve realized I’m probably more codependent than I’d thought). It’s beautifully written too: I loved the settings of the Bay Area and New York. It made me nostalgic for the time I’ve spent there, and the 8 months Aron spends in SF as an 18 year old reads like a real life Visit From the Goon Squad. Though I really enjoyed Good Morning, I can understand why some others have not: there’s valid critique around Aron not taking ownership or adequately examining the impact her relationship with K had and will continue to have on her kids, as well as not exploring her own problematic substance use enough - at a minimum, there’s so much drunk driving which made me wince, but I’m aware Americans are much more casual in this regard than Australians are. While Aron does let herself off the hook in many regards, she doesn’t present herself as perfect by any means - she makes many mistakes and slips into ethical grey areas all the time, but why shouldn’t she? This is my kind of feminism. What was most frustrating for me was not that she kept going back to K, but that she kept going back to AA/Al Anon - as though sobriety is the only acceptable goal, and that this program is the only way to tackle addiction and/or codependency - despite dedicating a large portion of the book to explaining why these institutions are so problematic (again, this seems like a very American attitude to me!) I’ve seen AA do nearly as much damage as substances have to my friends and clients. It’s free and it’s accessible, but it’s run more often than not by people who have not had the support, time or desire to integrate their own trauma and who are posing as professionals to guide others who are at an even more vulnerable stage in their journey, with a splash of Jesus. Disastrous combo. I am team harm minimization, in case that wasn’t obvious. Other books that came to mind while reading were: In the Dream House by Carmen Maria Machado, Woman of Substances by Jenny Valentish, Bad Behavioir by Rebecca Starford. All written by complex, contradictory and very clever women.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Samantha

    4.5 stars. Beautifully written book about addiction, codependency, and the history of it all. It ties in how a lot of AA and Al-Anon came to be, her personal story, and so much more. While I didn’t always personally relate to every situation, it is overall very relatable. I found many concepts and stories where I finally started figuring out things about myself. There is so much to unpack here that I will likely need to re-read this again to grasp all the concepts. I don’t think I’ve read anythi 4.5 stars. Beautifully written book about addiction, codependency, and the history of it all. It ties in how a lot of AA and Al-Anon came to be, her personal story, and so much more. While I didn’t always personally relate to every situation, it is overall very relatable. I found many concepts and stories where I finally started figuring out things about myself. There is so much to unpack here that I will likely need to re-read this again to grasp all the concepts. I don’t think I’ve read anything like this and I hope there are more books like this instead of the stereotypical self-help books.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Tina Wright

    Nina Renata Aron's Good Morning, Destroyer of Men's Souls was, for me, a deeply affecting book. More than a memoir of codependency, its narrative encompasses themes of love, family and self-actualization, woven together with honesty, tenderness and frank but gorgeous prose. As is noted in the blurbs and other reviews, the linchpin of the book is Aron's codependent relationship with her addicted lover, K. Our understanding of this relationship is framed in the context of Aron's upbringing. She pa Nina Renata Aron's Good Morning, Destroyer of Men's Souls was, for me, a deeply affecting book. More than a memoir of codependency, its narrative encompasses themes of love, family and self-actualization, woven together with honesty, tenderness and frank but gorgeous prose. As is noted in the blurbs and other reviews, the linchpin of the book is Aron's codependent relationship with her addicted lover, K. Our understanding of this relationship is framed in the context of Aron's upbringing. She paints a vivid portrait her older sister, Lucia, who also experienced addiction. I found Lucia to be one of the most compelling characters in the book, the result of Aron's deftly detailing the charismatic parts of Lucia's personality, the magnetic as well as the repellent. Another character who informed Aron's journey is her Nanny, and one of the most poignant parts of the book is when her Nanny described what happened the last evening her husband (Aron's grandfather) was alive. Without spoiling it, I will say that I wept openly, viewing this as a beautiful communication between two souls who knew what was to come, even though their minds did not. Aron also offers us a compelling--though maddeningly incomplete--view of K. Perhaps this was intentional; perhaps it speaks to the fact that, even after more than a decade of loving him, his depths and inner workings were still a mystery to her (as is the case for many--most?--of our relationships). Even the endpoint of his narrative is ambiguous. What is NOT ambiguous is Aron's journey into a greater understanding of herself. She states in the book that she does not believe in God, yet to me the heart of this book is her spiritual journey from aspects of self-loathing to the belief (soul understanding) that she deserves love and joy, and that one can't truly receive them from others until one gives them to oneself. Many of life's experiences and lessons exist to make us aware of this: Ultimately, love is ALL that matters--unconditional love of others, and of self. This book will be of great interest, I suspect, to those who are in or have navigated the codependent waters. But the material supersedes that audience; it is a moving tour de force of a story about one woman's journey into discovering herself, a journey that intersects and connects intimately with the paths each of us walks. A beautiful work. My thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for an ARC.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Julie

    This book. There is so, so much here. Fingers crossed we get to read a whole book by this author on motherhood. And on love. And on romantic relationships and marriage. And on divorce. And on place. And home. And on gender roles and families and on anything else she is willing to consider deeply and put on paper. I’d read at least a long-form essay expanding on her experience of having “help” (finally) with the never-ending doing of dishes that is shared living. The author’s combination of real-d This book. There is so, so much here. Fingers crossed we get to read a whole book by this author on motherhood. And on love. And on romantic relationships and marriage. And on divorce. And on place. And home. And on gender roles and families and on anything else she is willing to consider deeply and put on paper. I’d read at least a long-form essay expanding on her experience of having “help” (finally) with the never-ending doing of dishes that is shared living. The author’s combination of real-deal-not-just-buzzword-level vulnerability in her writing, her open book detailing of her imperfect way of being in the world (hello all of us), coupled with her consideration of big questions and history and society and culture and contexts big and small in relation to her lived experience...YUM. I could eat up a zillion books like this. Dear Nina Renata Aron, More please. P.S. I recognize that many Goodreaders use the book review option to share their perceptions of an author as a person, whether they like the person an author shows herself/himself/themselves to be. I get that. I do it, or at least I think about doing it, too. I don’t even know, generally, what I think about this practice one way or the other. But in reference to reviewers of this particular book focused solely on judging negatively the author’s life, choices, lens, etc., I think they’re missing the point, or, at least, a central point of this specific book. (Also, if spending time and wondering and learning with perfect people in aspirational contexts is one’s comfort zone, maybe spend less time reading certain books and more time on Instagram or Facebook. This book includes a genuine offering of a flawed, messy, ever-evolving personal story, which is, of course, the kind of personal story that is real.)

  18. 5 out of 5

    Axica

    While reading this book, I brought up codependency in relationships in a number of conversations with my friends. This book made me question almost every relationship I have with pretty much everyone I'm even remotely close to in my life. It's so easy to get high on people, use them like a drug. This book has honestly given me some serious perspective about love, about boundaries and about the lies we tell ourselves and the behaviour we validate in the name of love. Good Morning, Destroyer of Me While reading this book, I brought up codependency in relationships in a number of conversations with my friends. This book made me question almost every relationship I have with pretty much everyone I'm even remotely close to in my life. It's so easy to get high on people, use them like a drug. This book has honestly given me some serious perspective about love, about boundaries and about the lies we tell ourselves and the behaviour we validate in the name of love. Good Morning, Destroyer of Men's Souls is a gut wrenchingly honest memoir, that gets too real and too dark every now and then. I have constantly been recommending this book to everyone I've talked to, and I just loved how this book shook the very core of my knee jerk reflexes in relationships, left me vacuous and wanting and then made me fend for myself.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Rebecca

    Thanks to Crown Publishing for an advance copy for honest review. 4+ stars. Good Morning, Destroyer of Men's Souls is the type of memoir that also dives deep into a topic, and this one takes on codependency and addiction. In addition to describing author Nina Renata Aron's relationship with an addict (and some of her own family history that ties in), it goes deep into the history of Al-Anon and the problematic parts as well as what it gets right. I have a better view on the shapes that codependen Thanks to Crown Publishing for an advance copy for honest review. 4+ stars. Good Morning, Destroyer of Men's Souls is the type of memoir that also dives deep into a topic, and this one takes on codependency and addiction. In addition to describing author Nina Renata Aron's relationship with an addict (and some of her own family history that ties in), it goes deep into the history of Al-Anon and the problematic parts as well as what it gets right. I have a better view on the shapes that codependency can take and how it can look after reading this, and on the importance of support for someone who loves someone with an addiction.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Tre

    Aron's relentlessly beautiful first memoir drew me in from the first page and didn't let go until the final word. I literally couldn't put it down. The book is gorgeous, moving, compelling, horrifying, and uplifting and offers new perspective on the world of addiction and all those affected by it. I couldn't recommend more highly.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Maria

    Great! Fairly dark but real and raw about relationships, codependency and dealing with addiction. I love that she quotes Eric Fromm and does a beautiful literary analysis of her own life tying in other authors' feelings on the subject of codependency.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Angela Juline

    Hmm...so hard. Aron is brutally honest and yet there were parts that I felt her honesty wasn't quite truthful - I know that doesn't make sense, but sometimes I felt like she was leaving something out even when she had revealed so much. Her story isn't told in order and that threw me off. She'd describe something really tragic and then not tell you how she got past it (or through it). But, she is a fantastic writer and she presented a lot to think about. Our view on alcoholism is gendered: "Women Hmm...so hard. Aron is brutally honest and yet there were parts that I felt her honesty wasn't quite truthful - I know that doesn't make sense, but sometimes I felt like she was leaving something out even when she had revealed so much. Her story isn't told in order and that threw me off. She'd describe something really tragic and then not tell you how she got past it (or through it). But, she is a fantastic writer and she presented a lot to think about. Our view on alcoholism is gendered: "Women with substance dependencies are largely seen as failures at the other roles our culture enlists them to play. The catalogue of tormented genius alcoholic men is large." (188)...is this true? it sure seems true? i think we look at men who are alcoholics differently than we look at women who are alcoholics - definitely more judgment with women That living with an addict can also be regular - "life is also just life, boring and funny and complicated. Ever-changing and always the same." (219) "It can be harder for codependents to hit 'rock bottom' than it is for addicts...I overpromised and underdelivered. I dodged responsibilities and issued breathless apologies that left no room for response or repair. Like alcoholism, codependency is, at its core, a form on insincerity... "(280-281)

  23. 4 out of 5

    Baillie Ward

    As the wise Lily Herman once said, “This book should come with a voucher for a free therapy session.” I did, in fact, have a therapy session earlier this week where I spent five minutes reading different excerpts from this book to my therapist and crying. There’s not much to say about this book other than the fact that it’s beautiful and smart and heart wrenching. If you struggle with codependency or you live with/love someone who suffers from an addiction, this book is required reading. But ple As the wise Lily Herman once said, “This book should come with a voucher for a free therapy session.” I did, in fact, have a therapy session earlier this week where I spent five minutes reading different excerpts from this book to my therapist and crying. There’s not much to say about this book other than the fact that it’s beautiful and smart and heart wrenching. If you struggle with codependency or you live with/love someone who suffers from an addiction, this book is required reading. But please make an appointment with your therapist once yoh finish—you’ll need it.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Maggie Cavanaugh

    A great dive into living with an addict and the social stigmas that come along with addiction. Highly recommend!

  25. 5 out of 5

    Maya Sophia

    This is a thought provoking memoir about addiction and codependency and I genuinely thought it was very well written. I thought the author did a commendable job of weaving some theory and sources amongst her personal narrative. But there were certainly things that rubbed me the wrong way: I thought that there were times where I just flat out could not believe the things that she let happen around her children and she writes that her breaking point came when her addict boyfriend endangered their This is a thought provoking memoir about addiction and codependency and I genuinely thought it was very well written. I thought the author did a commendable job of weaving some theory and sources amongst her personal narrative. But there were certainly things that rubbed me the wrong way: I thought that there were times where I just flat out could not believe the things that she let happen around her children and she writes that her breaking point came when her addict boyfriend endangered their lives drunk driving, but there were so many other points (letting a man she knew full well was a drug addict move in with her children, throwing her kid a party hung over from methadone, to name a few) that should have been that line, and it felt like that was glossed over and then she patted herself on the back for her parenting later at the end of the book. There were times when reading this was just kind of infuriating and in some ways, I think that's the point: people who enable alcoholics, at least to this extent, also have issues that need to be addressed. It definitely introduced some interesting concepts to me, it's certainly thought provoking, but there were also parts that didn't sit well with me.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Sian Lile-Pastore

    really enjoyed this memoir - loved the voice and it was great to have the perspective of someone living with an addict rather than a book from the addicts point of view. i think also really good about bad or toxic relationships in general and what we should expect from people.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Heather

    Good Morning, Destroyer of Men's Souls is an exploration of addiction largely through the lens of co-dependency, and particularly why women inhabit this role. With a close proximity to addiction through her life, Nina Renata Aron considers her relationships to those addicted and addiction itself, whether familial or her relationship with K. Exploring the histories of addiction and Al-Anon and asking big questions on the yearning to help, enabling, the effects of choices made, how destructive and Good Morning, Destroyer of Men's Souls is an exploration of addiction largely through the lens of co-dependency, and particularly why women inhabit this role. With a close proximity to addiction through her life, Nina Renata Aron considers her relationships to those addicted and addiction itself, whether familial or her relationship with K. Exploring the histories of addiction and Al-Anon and asking big questions on the yearning to help, enabling, the effects of choices made, how destructive and all-consuming love and can be, and what it really takes to hit breaking point, it's deeply personal, moving, insightful. Brilliant book, incredible writing.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Becca Gonzalez

    I can relate with certain elements of this book and being codependent. I was this way in sorts with my mom growing up and with one of my first major relationships. I did not realize the book was about codependency and especially how it is more prevalent in women versus men and is more a "genderized" issue. This issue arose during the temperance movement of the early 20th Century when women were getting sick of the abuse from their alcoholic husbands. They were sick of how their men wasted away a I can relate with certain elements of this book and being codependent. I was this way in sorts with my mom growing up and with one of my first major relationships. I did not realize the book was about codependency and especially how it is more prevalent in women versus men and is more a "genderized" issue. This issue arose during the temperance movement of the early 20th Century when women were getting sick of the abuse from their alcoholic husbands. They were sick of how their men wasted away and gave everything away for the drink. This was all news to me but made perfect sense. Overall I could relate with the author about many issues and liked her writing style.

  29. 4 out of 5

    SCOTT SUCHYTA

    I had a lot of mixed feelings about Good Morning, Destroyer of Men's Souls. This memoir is no doubt eloquently written. At times, however, I found myself lost and confused as Nina relates her experiences as both a co-dependent and an alcoholic. Despite poignant descriptions of her struggles, her attitudes struck me as immature to an extent. Ultimately there is growth, though it felt cloudy and incomplete.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Ariel [She Wants the Diction]

    This book has some beautiful writing in it and I'm not sorry I read it, but I still wouldn't really recommend it. If you're looking for a good memoir about abusive relationships, In the Dream House is a good one to check out instead. This book recounts Aron's experiences with marriage, motherhood, and being in a relationship with an unknown addict named K (why she couldn't just give him a fake name instead of an initial was beyond my understanding), mixed with a bit of historical background on th This book has some beautiful writing in it and I'm not sorry I read it, but I still wouldn't really recommend it. If you're looking for a good memoir about abusive relationships, In the Dream House is a good one to check out instead. This book recounts Aron's experiences with marriage, motherhood, and being in a relationship with an unknown addict named K (why she couldn't just give him a fake name instead of an initial was beyond my understanding), mixed with a bit of historical background on the formation of AA and Al-Anon. While I liked the mix of personal and historical, and the focus on codependency and addiction as gendered issues, some of the family stuff got a little too extensive and off-track for me. I was bored and almost DNFed a third of the way in, but managed to push through. I guess this book just wasn't what I hoped. I went into this specifically looking for a thoughtful, representative exploration of being in an abusive relationship with an addict (as it's something I've also been through), but ultimately I came away feeling unsatisfied. Even as someone who's been in her shoes, scenes like this are just NOT understandable to me in any circumstance: What had people done for me that had truly made me feel loved? she [the therapist] had asked me at the next session. I thought about the time K, with a beatific, postcoital smile, wrote I LOVE U in my menstrual blood on his bedroom wall, just above his bed, dipping his middle finger lingeringly into me like a quill into an inkpot as I watched and laughed and my eyes went wide as teacups.I have to respect the brutal honesty here, but that doesn't mean I wasn't like, "WTF?" I'll admit, I still cried at the end when K (view spoiler)[accompanied her to the abortion clinic (hide spoiler)] , even though he was high again and pretty much up to his old ways. While I was glad she'd gotten over him and stopped trying to change or influence his life in any way, I couldn't for the life of me understand why she was still in contact with him, for any reason, or would call him up specifically. I know personally, however much I might sometimes miss my "K" and all the good times we shared, I could never have the strength to still be in contact with him or even be around him, and can't imagine doing so. I know not everyone is the same and not all experiences are the same, but for me, this is when the book ceased to be relatable, and I questioned whether she had truly moved on. Guess I'll have to keep looking. * * * QUOTES: I remembered the vaguely animal way his face lit up when we were actually together and realized, helplessly, that there was no way to replicate that chemistry, to incite that interest, that desire. Three thousand miles away, I had no hope of holding his attention. Not with tales of our family drama, not with jokes. I wasn't there, where he was, wasn't among the girls who smoked and giggled outside the bar where he worked the door, wasn't a flesh-and-blood thing, whose smiling teeth could be seen sparkling under the streetlights, whose nervous shifting was plainly an invitation to be taken home and fucked. Men miss these moments, I think. They so rarely stick around for the magic of women becoming themselves, or maybe we can only become ourselves in the spaces where they aren't. Why couldn't I be one of those bitchy wives who just says, You've got to be kidding me, absolutely fucking not. The kind who says, We're ottoman shopping on Saturday, it's on your calendar. Even the kind who says, I can't do the whole day on my own. I've always wondered what that feels like. But I was a different wifely species altogether: The kind who tells her husband to go, that it is fine, and then cries that she is lonely. Who wants her feelings to be intuited, not subject to the vulgarity of needing to be spoken. In the laser beam of his gaze, I came radiantly alive. Suddenly, strangely, unmistakably, I was legible. An open book. His love invited me to perform every femininity I could possibly want, every character I'd ever read, every starlet I'd ever wanted to be. He could see it all. He wanted it all, every inch of me, every word, urge, hormone, every costume change. I felt how I'd always wanted to - I was safe and beautiful, pinned like a butterfly, still containing mysteries in my diaphanous wings. I was a looker, a hooker, a tired, middle-aged professional coming home to make stir-fry and make her husband listen to her yammer on about the day. I was a teenager with cramps. I was a frontierswoman hanging the washing on the line, squinting against a gust of prairie wind. I was a mob wife, clad in black lace with lipstick the color of blood, making his dinner. I was a worthwhile object of obsession. I was no one special and didn't care because I was with him. The catalog of tormented genius alcoholic men is large. But apart from a few famous sharp-tongued "harpies" like Tallulah Bankhead and Dorothy Parker (few were mothers), no corollary exists for women.

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