Year of the Bookwormz: 2011

52 weeks. 2 friends. 1 challenge.

Book #7: LibraryLove January 30, 2010

unSweetined by Jodie Sweetin

Book description: Once Danny Tanner’s bubbly daughter on America’s favorite family sitcom, Jodie Sweetin takes readers behind the scenes of Full House and shares her terrifying — and uplifting — real-life story of addiction and recovery. Jodie Sweetin grew up in front of America, melting our hearts and making us laugh for eight years as the cherub-faced middle child on Full House. Her ups and downs seemed not so different from our own, but more than a decade after the popular television show ended, the star we knew as goody-two-shoes Stephanie Tanner publicly revealed her shocking recovery from methamphetamine addiction. Even then, Jodie still kept a painful secret — one that could not be solved in thirty minutes with a hug, a stern talking-to, or a bowl of ice cream around the family table. The harrowing battle she swore she had won was really just beginning. In her deeply personal, utterly raw, and ultimately inspiring memoir, Jodie comes clean about the double life she led — the crippling identity crisis that began at her birth, the hidden anguish of juggling a regular childhood with her Hollywood life, and the vicious cycle of abuse and recovery that led to a relapse even as she wrote this book. Jodie traveled the country speaking to college kids about her triumph over substance abuse, yet she partied nightly, spending tens of thousands of dollars on her habit. Her addiction tore her family apart and alienated her from her former Full House cast mates until becoming a mother gave her the determination and the courage to get sober.

Full House was one of my all time favorite shows growing up. Jodie Sweetin, who played Stephanie Tanner, was my favorite character of the show. Being the same age, I felt like I was growing up with her and could relate to the situations she was in on the show, eventhough my life didn’t just tie itself up in a little bow after 30 minutes a week.

Like many child actors, throughout her teens and 20s, Jodie continues the life-long struggle with purpose, managing the neverending cashflow and party scene. Jodie’s blunt and honest memoir, unSweetined, shockingly detailed her still ongoing battle with drug addiction and alcoholism, in and out of various SoCal rehab centers, and her struggle for acceptance, power, and identity.  I had no idea she fought as much as she did with substance abuse, nor did the media until recently. In her book she writes about how she “flew under the radar”, even showing up to motivational speaking engagements at various universities high as a kite on methanphetamine, after a 4-day bender, spouting empty rhetoric about her quest for sobriety. She even fell off the sobriety wagon while writing her book. This memoir was eye-opening and gave me in-depth look into the life of someone my own age, who walked a very different path than I have.

It’s easy to watch TV and envy the fame, fortune, and neverending “free pass” to behave however you chose like celebrities often do. It’s times like those embarrassing and humbling ones Jodie describes in her book that make me appreciate my (fairly) anonymous life compared to being a child star like she was. Although she still battles sobriety on a daily basis, I’m glad for Sweetin that she has the strength of her family to get her through each day and look to the next with optimism and she hopes to give her daughter the life she never had. Although this book wasn’t lifechanging, I give Sweetin so much credit for opening up and coming to terms with her struggle. I recommend this book as a quick read for any Gen Y’ers who grew up with shows like Full House.

7 down, 45 to go!

4/5 stars

On deck…Olive Kitteridge (Audiobook) and Keeping the House

Xoxo,  LibraryLove


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