Arts & Leisure

Book review: Unstitched: My Journey to Understand Opioid Addiction and How People and Communities Can Heal — by Brett Ann Stanciu


Brett Ann Stanciu, the librarian in a small Vermont town, struggled after a community member, known to be a habitual drug-user and a frequent trespasser in the library building after hours, took his own life just after he was witnessed breaking into the library again one night. Unable to let it go, she comes to believe seeking knowledge and understanding about opioid addiction, how to overcome addiction and the nature of the disease itself, is her only path and she takes us along on her journey. She seeks out experts and former addicts, asking searching and fundamental questions, and as she does so, we learn more and more. She brings us along with her. Along the way, she peppers her narrative with the small, beautiful moments of her quintessentially Vermont life — her garden, the swimming hole, life with her children, and that immediacy brings an authenticity to the book that makes it all the more human. Stanciu’s book is, in many respects, for her, but it’s also for us, Vermonters, addicts, family members of addicts, anyone who has lost loved ones to the opioid crisis, and it’s written in such an accessible manner that I found it difficult to put down. 

— Reviewed by Jenny Lyons. Connect with her on Instagram @jennysbookshop to find more great book reviews and recommendations. Look for these titles and more at your local bookstore.

Ten Recommended for the Opioid Crisis

The Least of Us, by Sam Quinones

Dopesick, by Beth Macy

Heroine, by Mindy McGinnis

Death in Mud Lick, by Eric Eyre

Fentanyl, Inc., by Ben Westhoff

Canary in the Coal Mine, by William Cooke

Opioid, Indiana, by Brian Allen Carr

Do No Harm, by Harry Wiland

Killing Season, by Peter Canning

Invisible as Air, by Zoe Fishman

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