Title: ANY KIND OF LUCK AT ALL
Author: MARY FAIRHURST BREEN
Release Date: OCTOBER 12, 2021
Genre: NON-FICTION, BIOGRAPHIES AND MEMOIRS, CANADIAN NON-FICTION, DIVERSE BOOKS, LGBTQ
Number Of Pages: 193
Publisher: SECOND STORY PRESS
Received From: THE AUTHOR
Rating: 5 OUT OF 5 STARS ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
What was it like growing up as a smart girl in a world of 1970s suburban conformity?
What family secrets were hidden behind the vertical blinds and sliding glass doors, or swept under the orange shag carpets?
Is it possible to move from married mother-of-two to lesbian feminist activist without passing heartache?
In her bittersweet memoir, Mary Fairhurst Breen sketches scenes from a life darkened by four generations of mental illness and addiction.
Despite the odds, Mary’s sense of humor and willingness to practice “radical acceptance” see her through the chaos to a life full of friends, art, and the joys of being a grandmother.
Ultimately, she must face her greatest challenge of all when her daughter becomes one of the tens of thousands of people every year to die of an opioid overdose.
This is a journey of awakening and activism, and a portrait of a life to be celebrated in all its complexity.
Watch Mary Fairhurst Breen on
ary Fairhurst Breen may be a translator by trade, but she missed out on her true calling … until now.
I believe she was always destined to be a writer, and not just any ordinary, run-of-the-mill kind of writer. Her writing has the potential to change lives for the better.
Mary’s life experiences are vast and varied. The lessons she has learned throughout her unconventional life contain wisdom that can be applied to every one of us.
The title of this memoir offers readers a clue as to exactly what kind of luck the author has had in her life. The title of her memoir is based on the saying:
“If it weren’t for bad luck, I wouldn’t have any kind of luck at all.“
What could easily have been a book filled solely with times in Mary’s life when she experienced grief and pain, is instead, filled with poignant moments and life events.
Some moments are sad, some happy, and some downright hilarious. Somehow author Mary Fairhurst Breen has hit on the perfect formula to appeal to a wide variety of readers.
Mental illness and addiction have gripped members of Mary’s family for generations. Her most devastating loss to date is the death of her beautiful, creative, and special adult daughter Sophie to opioid poisoning.
“We all like to think our generation will be the one to set old family patterns ablaze, to toss the whole damned drafting table onto the bonfire and dance around the ashes completely cleansed. But we instinctively gravitate toward the familiar, for better or worse. New research into intergenerational trauma, and the Indigenous understanding that our decisions affect the next seven generations, can at least shed light onto what’s going on in the present. We can’t eliminate the pain we are bequeathed; we can only deal with it better as time passes.”
The author could easily be forgiven for curling up into a ball of depression and spending her days in bed; but she doesn’t do any such thing. Instead, her determination and will to survive the many traumas she has endured allows her to continue living her life with “radical acceptance.” She has channeled her grief into a call for action.
Author Mary Fairhurst Breen has written a beautifully written and exquisitely honest memoir of a life that has been anything but easy. She documents her life and the moment she chose to admit what had always been inside her.
I rate ANY KIND OF LIFE AT ALL as a solid 5 out of 5 Stars ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️
The fact that June is Pride Month means this is the perfect time to pick up a copy of this book. Also, don’t forget to enter to win a paperback copy on my blog and social media sites.
HOW TO ENTER TO WIN:
1. Leave a comment below to earn one entry into the giveaway.
2. Visit my Instagram page and click FOLLOW to gain a second entry.
3. Earn an additional entry by commenting on the giveaway post on my Instagram page.
Giveaway starts today
Ends on June 30th, 2022
QUOTES I LOVE:
“… I see not a wrinkly, plump, postmenopausal woman in the mirror, but rather someone fortyish, of average build. I have conceded that my breasts no longer point straight ahead, but instead indicate a spot on the floor a couple of metres in front of me, where I have perhaps dropped something important.”
“[Mary and her mother] never talked about orgasms, whereas my daughters were quite unselfconscious about discussing theirs with me. I remember my daughter Sophie cheerfully bringing up the topic of female ejaculation at breakfast one morning. She asked, ‘Which hole does the stuff come out of?’ I helpfully spurted coffee from my nose.”
“There are so many things one has to let go of past fifty, but an equal number of things one gets to let go of at the half-century mark. It is fantastically liberating to cease giving a fuck as one ages. I’ve been giving ever fewer fucks since my early forties, but why must it take so long to get to this place?”
*** Thank you to #SecondStoryPress and #MaryFairhurstBreen for providing me with a free copy of this book. ***
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
A translator by training, I spent thirty years in the not-for-profit sector, managing small organizations with big social change mandates. During those decades, I wrote innumerable newsletters, policy documents and outreach materials, and more grant proposals than I would care to count. After multiple lay-offs due to funding cuts, I launched my own arts business, indulging my passion for hand-making. It was a colossally enjoyable and unprofitable venture. While running the business, I supported myself with extra writing and editing jobs. Its demise gave me the time and impetus to really focus on my own artistic practice. I began with the goal of sharing my family history with my daughters, went on to publish some autobiographical stories, and wound up with my first book, Any Kind of Luck at All.
I had a father incapacitated by bipolar disorder and OCD, and a strong, smart, loving mother who died too young. I had to develop my own strategies to cope with my father’s needs, an alcoholic husband, two traumatized children, ever-worsening financial insecurity, and my shifting sexual identity. I supported my younger daughter through the debilitating mental illness that ultimately led to her death by fentanyl poisoning in 2020. Now a (young) grandmother, I want to pursue art for so many reasons: to support myself, to maintain my mental health, to help others with similar challenges, and to honour those I have lost and those I hold dear.
I am currently working on an oral history-based series of books for middle-grade readers.
To learn more about this author visit the following links:
ABOUT THE PUBLISHER:
Second Story Press is dedicated to publishing feminist-inspired books for adults and young readers.
Second Story Press is proud to have been publishing award-winning books that entertain, educate, and empower for over 30 years.
To learn more about this Publisher visit the following links:
More Writing by Mary Fairhurst Breen can be found at the links below:
Mary’s article Gigging Toward My Golden Years appeared in the summer 2021 issue of This Magazine, accompanied by this wonderful illustration by Matthew Daley (shinypliers).
My First Person essay, A Helping Hand, appeared in the Globe and Mail February 16, 2021.
A personal radio essay called Grievous Injuries was published and aired on CBC’s The Sunday Edition on May 3, 2020.
Mary’s autobiographical essay called Graywood Drive won an emerging writer award through Open Book, Arts Etobicoke and the Toronto Arts Council in 2018 and was published in an anthology as part of the project.
My essay called Why #IBelieveHer was published on the Ms Magazine blog in 2016.