Come Back: "An unflinching true account of a teenage girl’s dizzying, drug-fueled descent into society’s underbelly and a mother’s desperate and ultimately successful attempts to bring her back. Riveting, lively and often humorous, it is a testament to the enormous power of love and its miraculous ability to heal."
I love mother daughter stories. This one especially. It put me in mind of my own spiral out of control in my teens and what I must have put my mother through when I ran off with her car, her money, her sanity.
I started Come Back completely identifying with Mia when she said "I need to experience real life..." I remember feeling that way in my lily white suburb, where the only grit I was exposed to was on TV. It makes me wonder if we're doing our kids a favor when we create protected, predictable, ordered lives with them at the center when real life is nothing like that. It's the unarticulated feeling that haunted my early teen years: the yawning disconnect of the world I expected and the real adult world that was opening up to me.
As I read on the mother in me overpowered the angsty teenager. While I will never say my mother was blameless (she is human after all), I finally thought about what it must have felt like for her to have her baby dye her hair black and cut her arms and talk about suicide on Prodigy. I've thought about it before since having kids, but Claire's eloquence made me stop and really feel what that must have been like for her.
Mother-love is something that no teenager in the throes of painful self-discovery can seem to understand. We are so self-centered as teenagers. That liability seems to be part of the package for most of us. This book made me want to call my mother and apologize, even though those terrible years are far behind us.
Reading on, the most interesting part of the book to me was Mia's treatment and recovery. It made me long for Landmark, which uses similar "technology" as what's described in the book, with its focus on accountability, integrity, and authenticity. Claire and Mia do a great job at describing the process of transformation, step by step, without descending into hokey self-help talk.