[ Prime ] Chancers: Addiction, Prison, Recovery, Love: One Couple's Memoir Author Susan Stellin – Vansonphu.com

Chancers: Addiction, Prison, Recovery, Love: One Couple's Memoir In this powerful dual memoir, a reporter and a photographer tell their gripping story of falling in love, the heroin habit that drove them apart, and the unlikely way a criminal conviction brought them back together When Susan Stellin asked Graham MacIndoe to shoot her author photo for an upcoming travel book, she barely knew him except for a few weekends with mutual friends at a summer house in Montauk He was a gregarious, divorced Scotsman who had recently gotten sober she was an independent New Yorker who decided to take a chance on a rough around the edges guy But their relationship was soon tested when Susan discovered that Graham still had a drug habit he was hiding From their harrowing portrayal of the ravages of addiction to the stunning chain of events that led to Graham s arrest and imprisonment at Rikers Island, Chancers unfolds in alternating chapters that offer two perspectives on a relationship that ultimately endures against long odds Susan follows Graham down the rabbit hole of the American criminal justice system, determined to keep him from becoming another casualty of the war on drugs Graham gives a stark, riveting description of his slide from brownstone Brooklyn to a prison cell, his gut wrenching efforts to get clean, and his fight to avoid getting exiled far away from his son and the life he built over twenty years Beautifully written, brutally honest, yet filled with suspense and hope, Chancers will resonate with anyone who has been touched by the heartache of addiction, the nightmare of incarceration, or the tough choice of leaving or staying with someone who is struggling on the road to recovery By sharing their story, Susan and Graham show the value of talking about topics many of us are too scared to address I ve read several memoirs about addiction but what makes Chancers different is that it alternates between the viewpoints of the addict, Graham Macindoe and his girlfriend, Susan Stellin Stellin, a reporter, met Macindoe, a photographer, in Montauk, NY but it was nearly three years later when she asked him to photograph her professionally for the travel book she had just written Several months later, the two reconnect and begin an almost accidental relationship However, Graham is hiding from S I ve read several memoirs about addiction but what makes Chancers different is that it alternates between the viewpoints of the addict, Graham Macindoe and his girlfriend, Susan Stellin Stellin, a reporter, met Macindoe, a photographer, in Montauk, NY but it was nearly three years later when she asked him to photograph her professionally for the travel book she had just written Several months later, the two reconnect and begin an almost accidental relationship However, Graham is hiding from Susan that he is addicted to heroin A talented photographer, he soon gets to the point that he s not working at all At first supportive, Susan finally withdraws from the day to day challenges of trying to cure an addict, yet she remains always on the fringe of his life Finally hitting rock bottom, Graham is arrested for possession and sent to Rikers Island where he serves his time Macindoe, born in Scotland and not yet a naturalized citizen, learns that his conviction for a drug offense makes him subject to deportation Through a stroke of luck, Susan re enters Macindoe s life just when he needs it the most This is a fascinating story of addiction and the lengths that people will go to to help one another The alternating viewpoints is an effective way of letting the reader see the story from both sides It is an honest account of how ugly addiction can be both for the addict and those who love him her On another note, If you re so inclined, Mr Mcindoe took pictures of himself in the throes of addiction and those photos are available online Thanks to the authors, the publisher and NetGalley for an ARC of this book I loved it and will recommend it as a book of 2016 I found reading Chancers mesmerizing, despite the niggling voices at the back of my mind as I read it Chancers is a two person memoir written by Susan Stellin and Graham MacIndoe Susan is a journalist and Graham is Scottish and a photographer living in New York They had a relatively brief relationship approximately 10 years ago, which ended badly when Susan discovered that Graham was a crack and heroin addict and a consummate liar as addicts often are A few years later, Susan finds out th I found reading Chancers mesmerizing, despite the niggling voices at the back of my mind as I read it Chancers is a two person memoir written by Susan Stellin and Graham MacIndoe Susan is a journalist and Graham is Scottish and a photographer living in New York They had a relatively brief relationship approximately 10 years ago, which ended badly when Susan discovered that Graham was a crack and heroin addict and a consummate liar as addicts often are A few years later, Susan finds out that Graham is in jail and at risk of being deported back to the UK She then decides to help him in every way imaginable getting him decent legal help, getting the loose ends of his life outside of jail organized, and providing emotional support through lengthy calls and exchanges of correspondence The memoir is told in alternating chapters written by Susan and Graham The alternating chapters work really well, because what Susan and Graham experienced while in their relationship, while apart and then when Graham is in jail is very different, and getting their different perspectives makes for a really compelling experience What made this mesmerizing It s hard not to like Susan and Graham in fact, one of the particular strengths of the book is that it makes clear that there sto Graham than his addiction although addiction made him a real shite for many years It s also hard not to root for a happy ending as their story unfolds with its setbacks and rough spots And it s hard not to respect Susan and Graham for laying their story out for the world the world to see although it does also feel like something they had to do for themselves The niggling voice at the back of my mind Unfortunately, their story feels almost too good to be true Susan was extraordinary in the efforts she made for Graham, but going all out for an addict can be dangerous even Susan and Graham acknowledge that their journey is not typical Also, it seemed that some of the journey is missing especially parts of Graham s long dark descent before his arrest and again they acknowledge this in the epilogue, explaining that some things were too painful for Graham to recount or for his friends and family to have to read And finally, the life story of an addict is not over until it s over hopefully, Graham s demons are exorcised forever, but who knowsBut forget about the niggling voice This was still a great read innovative in using two voices, powerful and moving Thank you to Netgalley and the publisher for giving access to an advance copy While I appreciate a memoir on addiction that shows it can target anyone, regardless of class or social standing, this one didn t fully grab me Graham is a photographer, Susan a journalist Susan has left their relationship due to Graham s using, but re enters his life years later when she discovers he is in serious trouble Her decision to help against all odds is the focus of this book.The events are told in alternating voices between Graham and Susan, but often felt as if one person was doin While I appreciate a memoir on addiction that shows it can target anyone, regardless of class or social standing, this one didn t fully grab me Graham is a photographer, Susan a journalist Susan has left their relationship due to Graham s using, but re enters his life years later when she discovers he is in serious trouble Her decision to help against all odds is the focus of this book.The events are told in alternating voices between Graham and Susan, but often felt as if one person was doing the telling for both Maybe this is due to Susan s profession, but I just didn t feel the anguish in Graham s voice While I was all for Susan coming to Graham s aid, there was just something I couldn t wrap my brain around With all her ideas to fix Graham, did she never once research what addiction is She believes Graham needs to look at his childhood traumas, or unresolved causes leading to addiction Unfortunately addiction is a disease, not a moral issue, or something caused by childhood trauma I know I ve done a little ranting, but all in all, this is not a bad read The idea to help an addict is one that many think is pointless, yet there are so many who want help and find it unavailable How many could be saved if not only people, but our government gave a shit This sure gave me a hard look at the U.S Justice system, and for that alone this one is well worth the read Thanks to NetGalley for an advanced copy I won this book as a giveaway on Goodreads and I m so happy that I finally got the chance to finish it I am a recovering alcoholic so I love any memoir type book about alcoholism addiction I love how this book gives the perspective of both Graham and Susan Both viewpoints are so important with this disease because the addicts perception is SO skewed when they are in the disease We don t realize what we are putting other people through and this is a great example of that I really liked thi I won this book as a giveaway on Goodreads and I m so happy that I finally got the chance to finish it I am a recovering alcoholic so I love any memoir type book about alcoholism addiction I love how this book gives the perspective of both Graham and Susan Both viewpoints are so important with this disease because the addicts perception is SO skewed when they are in the disease We don t realize what we are putting other people through and this is a great example of that I really liked this book a lot and I plan on recommending it to my friends One couple s memoir of their relationship that survived the brutal grip of addiction, Chancers Addiction Prison Recovery Love recalled by author Susan Stellin and Scottish American photographer Graham MacIndoe Truly a heartwarming story of the redemption and power of love to triumph over the harshest conditions and adversities.This unlikely couple reconnected through a photo shoot, several years after meeting through mutual friends Despite Graham being twice divorced, this didn t set off al One couple s memoir of their relationship that survived the brutal grip of addiction, Chancers Addiction Prison Recovery Love recalled by author Susan Stellin and Scottish American photographer Graham MacIndoe Truly a heartwarming story of the redemption and power of love to triumph over the harshest conditions and adversities.This unlikely couple reconnected through a photo shoot, several years after meeting through mutual friends Despite Graham being twice divorced, this didn t set off alarm bells Graham shared so openly with Susan, there were explanations Graham was the father of a teenage son Neither one had ever felt that deep profound connection with anyone else before After a whirlwind trip to Hawaii, Susan discovered Graham s drug paraphernalia hidden behind a bathroom mirror How could this have happened, Susan would question every notion and belief she ever had regarding love and trust in relationships The story unfolds over many years, Susan successfully published her first book and continued writing, moving near Graham s brownstone in Brooklyn It was nearly impossible to keep up with Graham with the secrecy and lies associated with addiction Susan bailed him out of Riker s once, it was impossible to continue a romance, though the couple remained in touch as friends Not surprisingly, Graham would lose everything with another prison term at Ricker s for drug possession, and wrote of the horror of being chained to other prisoners while in the throes of dope sickness The process of facing his own truth s possible deportation, never seeing his son again, recovering in prison and staying clean were huge obstacles he would face, as he worked his way back to the only lasting love he had ever known.Susan would miss out on many milestones of most women her age engagements, weddings, marriage and children After three years, feeling paralyzed and unable to move on after all the self analysis Susan provided one of the most articulate reasons for discontinuing therapy Therapy has been enormously helpful to me, in many, many ways, but something about constantly questioning and analyzing everything in my life was getting me down I need some space to see what s working and what s not, so I can get a clearer sense of what I want to address or change Out of contact with Graham for a long period of time, Susan was greatly concerned, fearing he might have died from an overdose, she tracked him down through prison records online How they would reconnect was nothing short of miraculous The second half of the book moves at a snails pace, yet shows the frustration of dealing with prison officials, bureaucracy, and the cold hard facts of criminal justice Graham s immigration attorney would encourage them to reconnect through letters, which would help articulate on deep seated issues This is an inspiring unforgettable story of love surviving against unmerciful unthinkable odds.Much appreciation and thanks to Ballantine Books for sponsoring the Goodreads Give aways, where I won a copy of this book for the purpose of review I won this book through a Goodreads Giveaway from Bdreads Thanks so much for the opportunity to read this amazing book It s probably not a book I would pick out to read but once I started, I found it very hard to put down This is a powerful dual memoir , a reporter and a photographer from NY, who tell their gripping story of falling in love, the heroin habit that drove them apart and the unlikely way a criminal conviction brought them back together You can t help but become involved in their I won this book through a Goodreads Giveaway from Bdreads Thanks so much for the opportunity to read this amazing book It s probably not a book I would pick out to read but once I started, I found it very hard to put down This is a powerful dual memoir , a reporter and a photographer from NY, who tell their gripping story of falling in love, the heroin habit that drove them apart and the unlikely way a criminal conviction brought them back together You can t help but become involved in their struggle.In alternately chapters, Susan and Graham, offer two perspectives on a relationship that endures against long odds Graham s account from the ravages of addiction to the chain of events that led to his arrest and imprisonment at Rikers is mind bending and heart wrenching Graham gives a stark, riveting description of his slide from owning a brownstone in Brooklyn to a prison cell, his gut wrenching efforts to get clean, and his fight to avoid getting exiled far away from his son and the life he built here in the US for over twenty years A lot of what he wrote about prison life and the system was an eye opener for me Susan also struggles as she tries to distance herself from Graham and then she decides to follow her instincts to try and help him.This is a beautifully written and brutally honest book and my thanks go out to both of them for writing this remarkable memoir Highly recommend When googgling his name, I ran across a site of some of the photos he took from a timed camera during his addiction I do hope that some of his photos are made into a book I loved the font used for the printing of this book Admire the authors courage in telling this difficult story and how open and honest they were A he said she said, alternating chapters, but not opposing views of the same story, just different perspectives of the same story The story does belong to both of them and the reader really benefits from their having chosen this approach The writing style seems to reflect her influence as a journalist, very informative, this happened and then this happened and then this happened Nothing wrong with t Admire the authors courage in telling this difficult story and how open and honest they were A he said she said, alternating chapters, but not opposing views of the same story, just different perspectives of the same story The story does belong to both of them and the reader really benefits from their having chosen this approach The writing style seems to reflect her influence as a journalist, very informative, this happened and then this happened and then this happened Nothing wrong with that, it s probably a lot like my own memoir would sound, not flowery and creative writing y like memoirs often are 3.5I m greedy for juice, and a memoir about addiction should have plenty We have prison juice and junkie juice, yum But then we also have a Girl Scout trying to earn her humanitarian badge, which is pretty damn juiceless, no matter how you slice it.This book is unique and clever it s a two person memoir, with alternating chapters for each The Scottish photographer druggie, Graham, tells his story, and the journalist rescuer, Susan, tells hers I loved the somewhat suspenseful beginning Secre 3.5I m greedy for juice, and a memoir about addiction should have plenty We have prison juice and junkie juice, yum But then we also have a Girl Scout trying to earn her humanitarian badge, which is pretty damn juiceless, no matter how you slice it.This book is unique and clever it s a two person memoir, with alternating chapters for each The Scottish photographer druggie, Graham, tells his story, and the journalist rescuer, Susan, tells hers I loved the somewhat suspenseful beginning Secrets and lies, hopefulness and innocence, the pull of addiction, different realities But the big middle, where the two of them are not involved, sagged for me I found myself bored every time it was Susan s turn And although Graham s story was wayinteresting drugs and prison, oh yes , I m thinking he must have been too stoned out to remember much because he talks without a lot of passion.Which leads me to the voice Susan s reporter chops were on full display here, and that s both good and bad The good part is that the writing is damn smooth, damn fine and it s conversational and not pretentious The bad part is that there isn t much emotion if you re reporting facts, you usually have to filter out the feelings so that you stay credible The problem here is, we re talking about a relationship where juice should abound , we re talking about the ugliness of addiction, we re talking about prison, we re talking about juice all over the place But in this book No juice But to make matters worse, Susan writes Graham s story for him, so we get pure Reporter Susan voice I get it She s the writer so she is in charge She wants it to be a smooth read But for me, it didn t feel right to have him talking away in the same tone as her I know they struggled with this problem In the endearing epilogue which I absolutely loved, partly because it talked about their collaborative writing process , Susan said Graham would complain, But that doesn t sound like me So I should just look at it as her helping him tell his story, not putting words in his mouth Call me weird, but I loved how Graham described a time when he shot up It was so vivid and detailed, I felt like I was peeking out from the closet as he prepared the needle, shot up, and then went to heaven Way creepy I don t think I would have made a good junkie when they do a blood draw, I have to close my eyes tight and still look away Little details, like seeing dots of blood from his needles on his bills, really added to the sad picture of what his life had become.The parts I liked best were the prison scenes I ve read a lot of books about addiction, but I haven t read about a junkie in jail A whole new world to me, and it grabbed me Graham s fascinating recounting of his months long stints in prison had just the right amount of detail and horror to keep me riveted All of the intense bureaucratic and unfair shit he had to go through made me cringe Reading this definitely pressed my Injustice button I m feeling a little mean here, but really, Susan is just too goody two shoes for me And yes, what she does for Graham wins her the humanitarian award of the year, but still I felt like she was way too perfect and way too braggy and I don t think she really understands addiction She s so damn squeaky clean I want to go get drunk and smoke cigarettes view spoiler Don t get me wrong she DIDor less save his life, and Graham was so damn lucky to have her as his crusader If I were in Graham s position, I sure as hell would want an angelic Susan on my team I have to remember how impressive it was that little miss fixer got his ass out of jail Seriously, without her, whole different story, whole different continent hide spoiler Oh, and one last complaint This book is way too long about 450 pages Too much detail about their every action, especially Susan s Memoirs should be shorter I m thinking 350 pages, max Cut this baby in half Despite my complaints, the story kept me engaged and I was invested in how the story ended I wasn t expecting to read anything about injustice, but this turned out to be a great expose of a guy in the prison system who really shouldn t be there, and I liked seeing what really happens in this country And even though Susan got on my nerves, I really do admire her perseverance, her kindness, and her great writing.Thanks to NetGalley for the advance copy ARC via netgalleyOne of the best biographies I have ever read Gut wrenching and real Full review to come


About the Author: Susan Stellin

Susan Stellin is freelance reporter who has contributed to The New York Times and other publications forthan 15 years In 2014, she and her partner Graham MacIndoe were awarded a fellowship from The Alicia Patterson Foundation for their project American Exile Previously she worked as an editor at The Times and at CNET in San Francisco Susan has a B.A in political science from Stanford University and spent two years after college teaching English and writing in Buenos Aires, Argentina She grew up in Michigan and lives in Brooklyn.


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