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Everything I Never Wanted to Be
 
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Everything I Never Wanted to Be [Kindle Edition]

Dina Kucera
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)

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Product Description

Product Description

Imagine a "Leave it to Beaver" in which June works as a grocery store clerk by day, a stand-up comic at night, and struggles to stay sober all the time. In addition, Ward likes to get high, Wally is gay, and Beaver is a heroin addict. That's Dina Kucera's life. 

Called "the funniest book ever about addiction," Everything I Never Wanted to Be by Dina Kucera is the true story of a family's battle with alcohol and drugs. Dina's grandparents were alcoholics, her father was an alcoholic, she is an alcoholic and pill addict, and all three of her daughters struggle with alcohol and drug addiction--including her youngest daughter, who started using heroin at age fourteen.

Dina's household also includes her husband and his unemployed identical twin; a mother who has Parkinson's Disease; a grandson who has cerebral palsy; and other people who drift in and out of the household depending on their employment situation or rehab status.

On top of all that, Dina is trying to make it as a stand-up comic and author so she can quit her crummy job as a grocery store clerk. Through it all, Dina does her best to hold her family together, keep her faith, and maintain her sense of humor.

Any story filled with alcoholics and drug addicts is bound to include horrific events. But in the end, Everything I Never Wanted to Be is an uplifting story that contains valuable lessons for parents and teens alike, and a strong message about the need to address the epidemic of teen drug addiction in our nation. It's a book that can change behavior and save lives--and make you laugh along the way.

Product Details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 349 KB
  • Print Length: 209 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 0982579438
  • Simultaneous Device Usage: Unlimited
  • Publisher: Dream of Things (March 18 2011)
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B004SPW56A
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #175,478 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Most helpful customer reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Funny and Sad Jan. 26 2013
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
This author is laugh out loud funny even though her subject matter is tragic. For her, being a comedian must be a coping mechanism. I could just picture some of the scenarios she described and her totally dysfunctional family. In some ways this book reminded me of The Glass Castle - especially the part where the kids all fly out of the moving family vehicle. Having been raised by a prescription drug addict mother, I could really relate. I remember coming home from school and trying to wake up my mother and her telling me to "get off the piano". You either laugh or you cry.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 4.6 out of 5 stars  233 reviews
32 of 33 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars "Malcolm in the Middle meets Cops" -- Jenny Mounfield, The Compulsive Reader, Sept. 2010 Jan. 12 2011
By Ukie2001 - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
When this book came up for review my first thought was: Oh yes, another family dealing with addiction. Been there, done that. But as I had nothing better to do, I went along...and read an excerpt. I was hooked.

So what makes this memoir so special? As with fiction, it's all about voice: the fairy dust that brings words to life, gives them a heartbeat. Dina has a voice many authors would cheerfully give a limb for, and what's truly amazing is I don't think she has any idea she possesses such a gift.

Recovering alcoholic and pill popper, Dina lives in Phoenix with husband John (also a recovering addict--who has a life-threatening heart condition thrown in for good measure), an infirm mother who sees things that aren't there, and at various times one or more of her three grown daughters, all of whom have addictions and various other issues. Add to this her less than glorious job at the local supermarket and what you get is a family dynamic that falls somewhere between, Malcolm in the Middle and Cops.

`My customer counts out ninety-six cents in change. "Can I get rid of this?" Of course you can. The express lane is the perfect place to unload your enormous pile of change.'

Without a doubt, the Kucera family is a family in crisis. Sadly, the crisis--or rather, crises--aren't anything unusual by today's standards; after all, the world is filled with dysfunctional families. What is unusual is how this family's matriarch has not only come to live with crisis, but bulldoze through it when so many others would have dropped the can and bolted years ago. The reason I single Dina out is that I believe this family would cease to exist without her at its head keeping it together on a daily basis.

`My house is like living with the circus. All we need is a midget and a bearded-lady. Well, all we need is a midget.'

One of six children--five of whom became addicted to something that wasn't good for them--Dina had a bohemian childhood living in a commune of sorts in Albuquerque New Mexico. As a child she was plagued with anxiety and a host of irrational fears even though there was plenty of genuine danger dogging her life. Her schooling ended with ninth grade and from there it was pretty much all downhill.

`When I was about nine, my siblings and I fell out of a moving van at an intersection. My dad didn't notice for about five blocks.'

But don't think for one minute this is a tale to inspire pity. Far from it. Neither does Dina come across as a victim. She tells her story with matter of factness and humour, imparting wisdom and insights along the way. This wisdom has come at a huge price and she doesn't underestimate its value. Her story, this getting of wisdom, is about what it means to be human, and what it means to survive despite the odds.

By far the most difficult passages to read in Dina's story are those concerning her youngest daughter, Carly's battle with drugs. The title of this book comes from a poem written by Carly at age sixteen:

`I have decided that when I get caught doing something by the police I will kill myself right away.
I have destroyed my family.
I have become everything I never wanted to be.'

Everything I Never Wanted to Be will tie your heart in knots, it will have you howling in frustration and it will make you laugh out loud. This story is for everyone, not just for those plagued by addiction. In fact, those with the least experience with this disease will have the most to gain. I use the word, `disease' in the singular case here because whatever the addiction it's all the same beast. Addiction is addiction whether it be to alcohol, heroin. or green M&Ms. Addiction is the engine that drives the behaviour. The only real difference between one and other is how fast it'll kill you. I strongly urge everyone to read Dina's story. For parents in particular, this should be compulsory reading. This book has the power to change lives.

About the reveiwer: Jenny Mounfield is the author of three novels for children and YAs In addition, several of her short stories and articles have appeared both in print and online. She has regularly reviewed children's books for e-zine Buzz Words since 2006 and is currently working on her first adult novel.
11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars If you didn't like it, you haven't lived it Nov. 10 2012
By smskgm - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I began reading this yesterday. At times I could barely hold in my laughter. Addiction and alcoholism isn't funny, as the author states, unless you are an addict or alcoholic. In just over 24 hours, I finished the book. While I spent yesterday laughing at the retelling of the author's crazy, out-of-control life, I also related to her suffering. The second half of her book hit home even more. Today I cried, recovered, then cried again. I have lived her life, or at least much of it. I only have one child to deal with. I've spent so much time wondering what I did wrong that I failed to see what I did right. My son has put me through quite a bit, but I have done the same to him. We've spent many months not speaking to each other. I've kicked him out of my house, dragged him to rehab, sent him to live with his father, let him sit in jail all to no avail. I realize his addiction is his. I am here to love him and support him in recovery, should he chose that course for himself. However, I am not here to financially support him or his lifestyle. Having a relationship with him is more important than trying to make him live the life I want for him. Because of this, I listen as he talks of going to college, owning his own business, and moving somewhere else (anywhere--he hates this place). I don't preach about recovery or his addiction. He doesn't believe he has a problem even though it's so obvious to the rest of us. I pray for him throughout the day and ask God to take care of him and keep him safe. I wish I had a magic wand to wipe away his addiction, but I'll settle for God. I think he's a better bet.

Anyway, if you have a child living in addiction or have been an addict or alcoholic yourself, you will certainly relate to this book. Heck, you may even learn a thing or two. If nothing else, you will take comfort knowing you are not the only one suffering--and it's okay to laugh at times. There are millions of us out here and we'll say a prayer for you tonight, too.
27 of 32 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The struggle of one woman to keep her family from falling apart while she herself was also falling apart. Nov. 10 2011
By Autumn Blues Reviews - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
If today for some reason you believe your life is falling apart, is not fair or you have been dealt a bad hand. Why is this happening to me you may say? If you may think your life is so bad, you feel you just don't know how you will get through the next day. I promise if you read "Everything I Never Wanted To Be," your outlook on life will change in an instant. Suddenly your life won't feel so bad and it might even seem like a slice of heaven. Dina Kucera has lived through hell most of her life and no hell is more real than watching your children and family struggle through addiction or mental illness, while feeling overwhelmed and helpless as you try to care for those members and try to be everything to everyone, until you yourself are run down into the ground. There is so much in this book I couldn't even begin to explain what Kucera has gone through. What I liked most about Dina's book is that it is raw and real, she did not sugar coat anything and honestly told her story completely from her heart and did not hold anything back. Was she probably embarrassed for herself, her family, her children when thinking about how the whole world would react once they read her story? Did she have doubts about writing this memoir, probably so? But I am more than sure that the weight Dina has been caring on her shoulders has gotten a heck of a lot lighter after writing this book and it will bring her much healing. I read this book without judgement and I still place no blame on anyone after finishing it. None of us are given a book at birth that tells us how life will be, how it should be or how we should behave. If you were blessed with good parents that raised you well, then you have been truly blessed. If you have not been born or have no family or friends that struggle with addiction or mental illness whether it be alcoholism, ADHD, autism, anxiety or any genetic or inherited abnormalities or metabolic disorders, then you are truly special. But the truth is the majority of people on this planet are not and the choices most of us make are mostly made due to how we feel at the moment, while we blindly walk our way through life, again unless we have good role models to teach us otherwise. Dina is a very strong person, stronger than she will ever know and I am sure if she continues to ask God for help for her family things will continue to improve. For God is all around us but we need to reach out and ask for help, for he wants us to reach out. Sometimes in my own personal life I have noticed God will not interfere unless I have reached out to him, sometimes in desperation, but I have asked for help. As we all have free will, and are free to pray and ask for that help. Dina and I share one thing in common and that is the stress of caring for an elderly mother in her home. Maybe Dina has never given this a thought, but Dina deserves a huge reward just for stepping up to the plate to care for her elderly mom who is also suffering Parkinson's disease. While working in the medical field I have seen so many cases of abused and neglected elderly. Most of these elderly had children who just abandoned them and never even acknowledged their existence. My life has not been roses either and I can surely write my own book as I myself have struggled through life while raising my own children, my first marriage was to an addict. We are all on this planet to grow spiritually, it just comes easier to some more than others, but no growth comes without God. After reading this memoir I will be sending my prayers to Dina and that Dina receives the healing her and her family so desperately needs.
15 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars My Christmas List has been Simplified!! Nov. 3 2010
By lisayazzie - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I met Dina and her husband John while they were visiting their daughter Carly and she invited me to a comedy show she was doing in Tucson. Knowing very well, a comedian must have REAL talent to make me laugh, I went to the comedy club that night. I was completely blown away with Dina's amazing ability to take real life situations and make them hilarious without exaggeration! I knew these were her real experiences having sat with her daughter. Dina had no mercy on us as we gasped for air and prayed she would stop only for a moment to give the burning of our stomach muscles a rest!
Her book is no different. She has no need to spice up, exaggerate, or make up her writing. Her story is a heartfelt, witty, traumatic & intense journey that leaves you feeling like you are not alone & someone out there also struggles to keep their family in together despite the obstacles.
During a workshop with her family, me and my daughter had dinner with them. Reading Dina's book brought back memories of how she made us laugh with the stories of her family & how we were unable to finish our salads with "oversized leafs" of lettuce!
I don't know Dina's older daughters but I do know Carly and she is an amazingly intelligent woman! Dina captures this in her book and has reason to be very proud despite the wreckage she has had to endure! It was amazing to watch Carly's healing take place and to see what a real asset in others recovery process she was.
I have had many moments since reading her book where I think I have it tough, and then remember how Dina rushed to the hospital because her daughter had overdosed again. Moments where I have thought about planning a vacation, and then remembered how Disneyland turned out for them. Times when I laugh out loud by myself, my kids no longer ask; they just say "that book!" This happens often...
I recommend this book to anyone who wants a shot of reality with a plenty of humor to wash it down! Whether you are affected by addiction or not (most are in some way) you will love this book and have a hard time putting it down. I would've quoted the book but I have already lent it out; something I said I would not do, but I want everyone to enjoy a good thing!
20 of 24 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Huh? What's with the good reviews?? July 29 2012
By gissella - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I can't imagine why anyone would call this book "life-changing" or "amazing". Granted I could only take about 20% before deleting- but that was more than enough for me. The book is basically an autobiography written by a woman who happens to be a comedian/grocery checker. She includes facinating details such as the difference between chili sauce and red sauce, the color of roofs and doors in New Mexico and the weather in Albuquerque (much too cold for the author, she prefers Phoenix). Any trauma in her life seems to take backseat to her many observations that come out of nowhere.

Parts of the book read like a script for her comedy show, "And if you're a woman and you accidentally get a mullet, whatever you do, do not wear a fanny pack or play tennis during that time. You will attract a gal pal." A bad comedy show.

I have to question the Editorial reviews above. I can't believe they actually read the same book. I'm not a Prime member so sadly I threw away the $2.99.
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