In today's economic environment, all it takes is one unexpected job loss to completely destroy your concept of "normal". Amy Wolf had that happen when Washington Mutual (WAMU) went belly-up, and she tells her story in the book Don't Let Me Die In A Motel 6 or One Woman's Struggle Through The Great Recession. Wolf writes with a dark and morbid sense of humor, being open with her struggles and successes (many more of the former than the latter). I have to hand it to her, though... I think all these things would have crushed me.
Her story starts in 2008 as an employee of WAMU. She had a nice job, a large home, a vacation home, horses, and a ton of debt... basically, the American Dream. But when WAMU collapsed in 2008, she found herself out on the streets looking for work. Of course, everyone else in Seattle was doing the same thing, and she was having issues finding a new job. Severance runs out, homes go into foreclosure, her husband loses his job (he's got a slew of problems himself), and her adopted daughter is a physical danger to them both due to mental issues. To escape all this (she hates the weather in the Northwest), she heads back home to California to be closer to family. That's not much better, however...
Overall, it takes her four years before she gets a full-time regular job again. While in California, she has to deal with stage 2 breast cancer and insurance issues, all with varying levels of support from her sister and husband. Her daughter becomes uncontrollable, and ends up being turned back over to state custody. She basically loses everything that she considered normal in her life up to 2008.
It's far too easy to read Don't Let Me Die and blame Wolf for much of what happened. Her physically abusive daughter manipulated her and her husband endlessly, but Wolf kept letting her come back. In the midst of her depression, she starts having one-night stands via Craigslist. She contemplates suicide, but steps back from the edge on her way to make it happen. BUT... in reality, none of us are that far away from our own trials (if we're not already there). Love and emotions cause people to do things that don't make logical sense. In hindsight, I'm sure she'd do things very differently (starting with not marrying someone she had only known in person for three days). But once decisions are made, you have to play the hand that's dealt.
Wolf bares her life with painful honesty and humor. I found myself laughing at parts that should have been uncomfortable at best, but she applies her unique brand of humor to it all. She went through four years of hell, and came out a survivor. This was worth reading on a number of levels. As humor, I loved it (even though I kept thinking "WHY DID YOU DO THAT AGAIN???"). As someone's honest life story, it reinforced how temporary and tenuous things can be.
I hope Wolf continues her writing, as I think she could do a stellar job in a novel format.
Disclosure: Obtained From: Author Payment: Free
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About the reviewer
Thomas Duff (duffbert)
Thomas Duff, aka "Duffbert", is a long-time member of the Lotus community. He's primarily focused on the development side of the Notes/Domino environment, currently working for a large insurance … more