Thursday 26 March 2020

Book ~ "One Good Reason: A Memoir of Addiction and Recovery, Music and Love" (2020) Séan McCann and Andrea Aragon

From Goodreads ~ In this deeply personal memoir, co-written with wife Andrea Aragon, singer-songwriter and renowned mental health, addiction, and recovery advocate Séan McCann leaves no stone unturned. Detailing, in powerful and lyrical prose, a childhood in Newfoundland indoctrinated in strict Catholic faith, the creation of the wildly successful Great Big Sea, his courtship and early marriage with Aragon, and the battle with alcoholism that nearly cost him everything, McCann offers readers a love story, a memoir of addiction and recovery, of young love and a strained marriage, of reaching international fame and rock bottom. But most of all, an honest, raw, and inspiring tribute to embracing that we are all worth saving.

At the heart of this insightful coming-of-recovery is McCann's exploration of the root cause of his alcoholism, a secret he kept until 2014 when he came out as a survivor of childhood sexual abuse. Aragon's parallel narrative offers a rare and intimate spousal perspective, making the memoir a nuanced and complex portrait of the effects of addiction on family.

Séan McCann is a singer and musician and founding member of Canadian band, Great Big Sea.   He left the band at the end of December 2013.  Andrea Aragon is his wife and mother of their two children.  This book is their story.

Séan was born and raised in St. John's, Newfoundland.  He and his family were Catholic and their priest befriended the family when he was in his teens.  This same priest sexually abused Séan, which has stayed with him for the rest of his life.  Not able to deal with what happened, Séan turned to alcohol and his dependency on it only increased over the years.  When he and his friends formed Great Big Sea and their popularity grew, they become known as a party band which encouraged Séan's lifestyle of drinking to excess.

Andrea is an American, the daughter of an alcoholic and had an unstable childhood.  After divorcing her first husband, she moved to Colorado to start over and find herself.  It was there that she met Séan after a Great Big Sea concert and there was a spark.  She eventually moved to Newfoundland to be with him, they got married and had two children.  As Séan's alcoholism grew worse, their marriage began to fall apart.  She eventually gave him an ultimatum ... quit drinking or she was moving back home to Minneapolis with the kids.  Happily he chose his family over liquor.  He has since embarked on a solo career and has become a mental health advocate.

I am/was a fan of Great Big Sea and have read band member Alan Doyle's two books so was interested in reading Séan's book.  The chapters alternate between Séan and Andrea's stories ... it took me a couple chapters to realize that.  If there is a guitar icon at the beginning of the chapter when it's Séan's voice and a heart when it's Andrea's voice.  I liked the writing style ... I found it honest.  It was interesting to get the two perspectives (Séan's and Andrea's) of the same events.

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