Harrowing and timely, Paula Becker’s A House on Stilts: Mothering in the Age of Opioid Addiction is a poignant parenting memoir detailing the ripple effect of addiction. For over a decade, Becker and her husband struggled to walk the tightrope between caring for their eldest son, Hunter, and enabling his self-destructive behaviors. Lying and stealing to support his habits, Hunter becomes someone Becker both fears and fears for, and her account is unflinching in its portrayal of a parent’s struggle to learn when to accept and when to release responsibility for the choices of their children. There are no simple answers to questions of addiction, and Becker doesn’t offer any. Instead, in confronting a growing epidemic with compassion for both addicts and the unwitting families caught in the maelstrom, she lays bare the breadth and limitations of a mother’s love.
A House on Stilts: Mothering in the Age of Opioid Addiction, Paula Becker, University of Iowa Press, Paperback $18.00 (176pp), 978-1-60938-659-7