Official Review: Shattered Dreams and Broken Hearts

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joshfee77
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Official Review: Shattered Dreams and Broken Hearts

Post by joshfee77 » 30 Jul 2018, 03:02

[Following is an official OnlineBookClub.org review of "Shattered Dreams and Broken Hearts" by Sylvia Abolis Mennear.]
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4 out of 4 stars
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Shattered Dreams and Broken Hearts: Fentanyl, the Killer by Sylvia Abolis Mennear is a true story based on the tragic drug overdose of her son, Aaron, at age 30. On April 19, 2017, mum Sylvia goes to rouse Aaron from his bedroom only to find him stone cold. He has been dead for hours. In these opening paragraphs, we meet the Mennear family in the most horrific way possible as they discover their much-loved son and brother this way.

We read Aaron's own account of a terrible skiing injury he suffers three years earlier in January 2014, where he breaks his tibia in six places and sustains other serious damage to his left leg. Despite months of rehabilitation, he aims to compete in the ABBA Northern Body Building Contest, which he does in May 2015, an extraordinary effort from a determined young man. During his recovery, a wheelchair-bound Aaron stays with his parents for a long period. During this time, Silvia begins thinking her son might be taking more pain medication than necessary. But no matter what she says, he doesn't want to listen. What the family doesn't know is that Aaron has had a drug problem for a very long time...

This is an emotionally powerful book written by a grieving mother mourning the death of her son. She says Aaron was a lovely boy who grew into a caring young man. It is also insightful to have notes and descriptions included in Aaron's own words. His terrible drug addiction begins with ecstasy in high school and progresses to cocaine and heroin, continuing all through his twenties. Despite his parents urging all three of their sons to come to them with any problems, an ashamed Aaron tries to deal with his drug problem on his own. His parents never know until it is too late.

Sylvia includes information on drug overdose deaths and the effects of steroids, cocaine, heroin, and fentanyl, all used by Aaron. In British Columbia, Canada, where the Mennears live, there were 914 illicit drug overdose deaths with fentanyl recorded from January to September 2017. This was 147% higher than the 370 for the same period in 2016. Fentanyl was recorded in 83% of all illicit drug overdose deaths for this period, compared to just 4% back in 2012. Between 2015 and 2017, illicit drug overdose deaths overtook suicides, motor vehicle accidents and homicides as the most common unnatural deaths in British Columbia. These statistics brought home the seriousness of the problem for me, as I could see it was not just a grieving mother making something out of nothing.

The chapter by Aaron's girlfriend, Shauna, who helps him deal with terrible withdrawal symptoms when doctors cut him off from opioid drugs, is gut-wrenching in its reality. She describes weaning him off his "come-down" drug Dilaudid, having to hide it from him, and feeling more like his mother than his girlfriend. I also found it touching that Aaron wanted to help others get off Fentanyl. He lost some friends to it before his own death, and began planning a program he called LIFESAVERS. His handwritten notes considered all aspects, from focus, website, advertising, phone numbers, etc. Unfortunately, he never got the chance to launch his initiative.

There were only a handful of minor issues with this book for me, mostly formatting and a few typographical errors. For neatness, I would recommend using full justification for the text, not left justification. Also, the contents page lists sections but is missing the page numbers for those sections. Other than that, I found only five examples of missing punctuation or words truncated by a line break. I did not pick out errors from Aaron's sections or other items because Silvia left these unedited intentionally.

Given the powerful story and relevant information included by Silvia in Shattered Dreams and Broken Hearts, I rate it 4 out of 4 stars despite the minor errors. The author includes useful detail about illicit drugs and their effects, a copy of the coroner's report for Aaron, and notes from both Aaron and his girlfriend Shauna about his experiences. Her research makes it clear that the problem of illicit drug deaths in British Columbia is worsening at an alarming rate. I would recommend this book to all parents of children around their teens or anyone else affected by a drug problem. Just be warned: it is a heart-wrenching emotional journey. We all like to think this couldn't happen to us, but Sylvia and her family are living proof it could happen to anyone.

******
Shattered Dreams and Broken Hearts
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Post by AmySmiles » 30 Jul 2018, 14:57

This book sounds emotionally taxing. I could see where it would be a beneficial read though. Thank you for the review.
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Post by Cecilia_L » 30 Jul 2018, 16:35

Wow, I really admire this mother's choice to share her heartbreaking story. I teared up just reading your candid review.

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Post by lavisha » 30 Jul 2018, 16:52

what i have liked about this book is that it's based on a true story.... i also admire that the mother shared about his son's situation which is very rare some of them like to keep it a secret afraid of what people will say

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Post by Stalin Muthuswamy » 30 Jul 2018, 23:05

Excellent. I found this book is more advance in educating the young people of today who abuse drugs through Aaron's life incidents. It was unfortunate that he could not conduct the life savers program. But however the death of aron may change lots of lives.
I give 4/4 for this book

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Post by Fuzaila » 31 Jul 2018, 02:47

It indeed must cost much courage for Sylvia to open up about her experiences in parenting a child who died of drug overdose. I love how you put your feelings into words. Thank you for your review.
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Post by kandscreeley » 31 Jul 2018, 09:07

Overdoses happen way too often, but it's a touchy issue for me as someone who suffers from chronic pain. Because the government is trying to take away all pain killers even from those that need it. Anyway, it sounds like this is a powerful story. Thanks for a great review.
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Post by Eva Darrington » 31 Jul 2018, 17:12

I am so glad to hear about this book. I think stories like this are what is needed for addiction to be more fully understood. It can literally happen to anyone. I will look for this book! Your review is very well written and comprehensive. Thanks!
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Post by elizab8 » 31 Jul 2018, 23:35

Interesting review: But a sad and heart throbbing feeling for a waste of such a young life. Drug addiction is on the rise in young adults. If they can read Sylvia's story "Shattered Dreams and Broken Hearts" they will considered that "fenatly" and all those other "uppers" are deadly. It certainly is a good book to read.

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Post by Ever_Reading » 01 Aug 2018, 02:07

I have a weakness for true stories. I bet I'll be drowning in my own tears before I even get halfway through the book. However, I don't usually gravitate towards books about suicide but your detailed review has piqued my interest. Thank you!

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Post by rchacko » 01 Aug 2018, 09:04

Surely a gripping, deeply saddening story. The reviewer has been able to capture its deep emotion well. Needless to say, drugs are devastating and apart from the powerful, real-life story, one also gets an update of the latest drugs and their diabolic power.

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Post by kfwilson6 » 01 Aug 2018, 09:52

What a tragic story. I've heard so many times how selfish suicide is. That is because of the heartbreak of those left behind. The statistics you provided are quite haunting. It is sad how prevalent a preventable disease like addiction can be. No one has to die from an addiction, yet it is all too common.

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Post by Dahmy 10 » 02 Aug 2018, 07:48

I can imagine how much emotion was poured into the compilation of this book. The author has done well in getting this work out for many to read, it would be one to save numerous lives.

Thank you..

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Post by MsTri » 02 Aug 2018, 09:58

My ex- was addicted to crack cocaine for the better part of our 15+ year "marriage", so I know firsthand the devastating effects of drugs. I'm therefore glad that this book is out there, but I personally will not be reading it, for it'd surely rouse too many bad memories for me... Thanks for the very thorough review, though.

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Post by joshfee77 » 08 Aug 2018, 04:59

AmySmiles wrote:
30 Jul 2018, 14:57
This book sounds emotionally taxing. I could see where it would be a beneficial read though. Thank you for the review.
It was a really tough read, but well worthwhile. I certainly felt terrible for the family.

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