This is a memoir of about six months when the author and her husband, Hal Gibson, took time each day to try to help nineteen-year-old Jesse-Ray Lewis recover from a life born into drug addiction and drug dealing. It takes place in Bluefield, West Virginia, where Jesse-Ray arrived from Southwest Virginia to the Bluefield Union Mission as an aged-out foster child. Each chapter begins with one of Jesse-Ray’s poems – collected in Hillbilly Drug Baby: The Poems published in May of this year – and ends with the author’s essay on one of the issues raised by the events and conversations in the chapter. This innovative book provides an important and quite readable window into drug abuse and many related problems that perplex and challenge our region. It also illuminates the agencies that have been created to deal with them. The author, Andrea Brunais, is a journalist and the author of five previous books, including a memoir of growing up in a small Michigan town.
Christiansburg, Virginia: WriteLife Publishing, 2018. 250 pages. Trade paperback