Read Chancers: Addiction, Prison, Recovery, Love: One Couple's Memoir by Susan Stellin Graham Macindoe Online

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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 frIn 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....

Title : Chancers: Addiction, Prison, Recovery, Love: One Couple's Memoir
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 9781101882740
Format Type : Hardcover
Number of Pages : 448 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

Chancers: Addiction, Prison, Recovery, Love: One Couple's Memoir Reviews

  • Debbie
    2018-12-14 16:35

    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 way more interesting (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 DID more or 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.

  • Esil
    2018-12-16 14:30

    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's more to 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 knows...But 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.

  • Debbie
    2018-11-30 19:10

    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.

  • Penny Schmuecker
    2018-11-23 15:22

    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.

  • Michelle
    2018-12-14 11:14

    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.

  • April Forker
    2018-11-30 12:28

    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!!!

  • Kirsten
    2018-12-01 13:30

    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.

  • Laura
    2018-11-29 14:30

    ARC via netgalleyOne of the best biographies I have ever read. Gut wrenching and real. Full review to come

  • Kym McNabney
    2018-12-12 13:31

    I have more books in my pile of books to be read then I want to admit to. Yet when I ran across, CHANCERS: ADDICTION, PRISON, RECOVERY, LOVE: ONE COUPLE’S MEMOIR by SUSAN STELLIN AND GRAHAM MACINDOE, I ordered it. That it is a memoir and had the word prison is what drew me in. When Susan Stellin asked Graham MacIndoe to shoot her author photo for an upcoming travel book, she couldn’t have imagined in her wildest dreams the journey it would lead her on. I’m not sure what I expected when I ordered CHANCERS: ADDICTION, PRISON, RECOVERY, LOVE: ONE COUPLE’S MEMOIR by SUSAN STELLIN AND GRAHAM MACINDOE. What I didn’t expect was a beautifully written, honest account of two people’s lives. CHANCERS flips between SUSAN STELLIN AND GRAHAM MACINDOE’S story of their life as they travel through their relationship. SUSAN and GRAHAM have distinct voices, yet maintain coherency in writing style. CHANCERS is a fascinating read, one you won’t be able to put down. SUSAN gives an honest look into the experience of having someone you love addicted to drugs. GRAHAM gives a harsh account of the reality of what drugs can do to one’s life. A fascinating walk through addition to drugs, experiencing withdrawals, prison, and the system we count on to be just. I have been volunteering in prison ministry since 2004. In all I have witness and been informed of by inmates, GRAHAM brought the experience from the view of one going through it to life, not hiding the ugly and brutal truth. CHANCERS is written like a great novel. Suspense, hope, love, uncertainty, and intrigue makes it hard to put down. I highly recommend CHANCERS: ADDICTION, PRISON, RECOVERY, LOVE: ONE COUPLE’S MEMOIR, and would gladly purchase other books written by SUSAN STELLIN AND GRAHAM MACINDOE. *Please see my profile for more information on this review.

  • Joann
    2018-12-12 17:06

    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.

  • Erin Cataldi
    2018-12-06 18:36

    Easily one of the most powerful memoirs about addiction I have ever read. Raw, gripping, and emotional, this memoir is told from two perspectives; from the addict and the concerned girlfriend. Addiction has such a stigma, it's the elephant that's in the room and no one ever wants to talk about but Susan and Graham do a powerful job of bringing their hard journey to life. Trying to help a loved one through addiction takes more willpower and love than most people can handle. Reading this memoir brought so many memories to the surface, it was surreal to read about another woman who understood everything I went through. Her thoughts, conversations, and actions were soo familiar to me because we had lived the same nightmare. Hearing Graham's recounting of his relapses, prison experiences, and descent into darkness also really helps put the story into perspective and allows readers to understand what is actually going through an addict's mind. A profound and touching book that was a little hard for me to read because it hit so close to home, if nothing else, at least it's given me a little more hope for the future.

  • Tina
    2018-12-13 13:32

    This book is so hard to review - parts of it I loved and other parts - not so much.I have always said that people who write memoirs are brave, putting it all out there must be so scary. I was engrossed, for most of the story. Susan's point of view was the one I felt drawn to. Well told, excellent writing and at times, difficult to read because it shows just how smart women can be dumb when it comes to love!As for Graham - all I kept wanting to say to him (and continue to want to say) is: grow up AND grow a pair. They say that when you are addict, you stop maturing at the age you first used - I..e. if you started at 12 - you are still emotionally 12, even if you are an adult and Graham is the clear definition of this.I am not sure that helping with EVERY DAMN LITTLE THING - was actually helping him at all. What a baby and he did find someone (Susan) who was right there to help him with everything. This part of the story made me mad - she defines it as "standing by your man" and "being kind" - perhaps, but I am not so sure - this story certainly gave me lots to think about.Nonetheless this is a 4 star read because it is interesting and honest.

  • Tammy
    2018-11-25 19:22

    Intriguing memoir between two people who learn the value of the words, "I love you."SUSAN shares an honest look into the experience of having someone you love addicted to drugs. GRAHAM gives a harsh account of the reality of what drugs can do to one’s life. This is a descriptive account through addictions, experiencing withdrawals, prison, and the system we count on to be just.It is also a story of the immigration system and its horrible treatment of men and women who might be facing deportation. From the authors: "All we can hope is that what we've written helps other people talk more openly about their own lives- that it gets easier to tell a friend that they're struggling with a drug problem, or admit that their child is using heroin, or say at a dinner party, "My brother is in prison." And maybe it'll change how some people think about addicts,and people with criminal records and immigrants." We all have so much to learn.

  • Kimberly Bickford
    2018-12-17 18:34

    While this is a story written by my cousin, I found it captivating because of it's unfamiliarity and canyon-wide disconnect to my own and my family's life. A random story of two people who struggled, failed, lost and loved. Very proud of you Susan and Graham! An inspirational journey! Thank you for sharing this deep part of your life with us.

  • Claire
    2018-12-07 12:20

    actual rating 2.75 Actually ended quite liking this. Especially the end. The whole premise was interesting and quite educational.*I received a digital edition of this by Netgalley for an honest review*read my full review on my blog ------>>> http://pagesoverpages.blogspot.co.at/...

  • Donna Davis
    2018-11-21 19:29

    I decided to read and review this title because I anticipated that it would be, by and large, a depiction and critique of the American prison system and Homeland Security. As it happens, that is really only a small part of this memoir, which focuses more on the couple’s relationship and the way that addiction warps and undermines trust and affection. Nevertheless, I found it really compelling, and so thank you Net Galley and Random House Ballantine for the opportunity to read and review free and ahead of the public in exchange for this honest review. The memoir will be available to the public June 7, 2016.Susan met Graham at a beach getaway where they were two of the people sharing a large house over the course of a vacation. Later, when she needed an author photo done for a book she had written, she remembered that he was a photographer that had worked for the Guardian, and she called him to see if he was interested.That’s when everything began.The memoir was originally going to be Susan’s alone, but eventually it occurred to her that Graham could contribute a lot in sharing his experiences with addiction and the point of view from which he saw the world when he was in that condition. Imagine using heroin because it is easier to hide than alcoholism. From the frying pan into the fire! And hide it he did through the first stages of their relationship. He did romance like nobody’s business and she tried to remain objective, but there’s nothing all that objective about falling in love. And so although he made some highly questionable decisions, it took her awhile to find out about the heroin, which he had told her was behind him. But the heroin wasn’t behind him, and neither was the crack. And before she knows it, she is drawn partially down his rabbit hole while keeping one foot in that of mainstream journalism. It’s a strange place to be.This reviewer has never minced words about my dislike for cops in general and the punitive, demoralizing, racist, class-based system that is the so-called American Justice System; yet Macindoe didn’t earn much sympathy from me. His narrative is in turns puling, angry with no justification, whiny and full of self pity, up until the end when he has finally shucked the monkey from his back as he reaches his golden years. Macindoe had climbed from his early impoverished years as a child of a Scottish miner to the middle class world of photo-journalism. He was in the USA by preference and because his son from an earlier marriage was here; thus it was hard to feel the kind of solidarity with him that automatically comes to me regarding Third World citizens that are in the US as the only means by which they can feed their families. He owned a brownstone in New York City and had published photos internationally, garnering praise and a certain level of renown. And so…seriously? Heroin? It was Stellin that kept me turning the pages. Every time she decided to step back from the relationship I wanted to yank her into the nearest lady’s room and tell her one woman to another to lose this guy entirely. Even her former husband, now in a gay relationship, advised her to “cut bait”. And every time she decided she could offer him some assistance even though they were no longer romantically involved, every time she wondered what their relationship could be like if only he were off the smack, I wanted to howl. After all, the relationship might be interesting if one of them grew a second head or a third eye in the middle of the forehead, but what were the chances?“Chancers” turns out to be a Scottish expression, and I will leave the reader to find out what it means.I found this story had an addictive quality of its own, a romantic drama not unlike the soap operas that were the only adult voices I heard most days when I was a stay-at-home mother in the 1980’s. Graham was full of shit, I figured, but I still had to know what happened next. In the course of hearing Susan and Graham’s story, I did learn a number of things about Homeland Security that I had not known before. Imagine feeling nostalgic for Riker’s Island because it was so much more compassionate than the one for potential deportees! And so I have to say this is a good read, an ideal book to take on vacation and flop on the beach with; just don’t get so absorbed that you scorch your tender skin, because it’s mighty distracting regardless of what is happening around you.Fascinating and recommended to those that like compelling memoirs or are interested in addiction issues and the US penal system.

  • Jessica Creason
    2018-11-23 16:13

    I requested this book several *cough* months ago... As I may have mentioned at some point, I was really busy for a spell, and even if I got to read, I certainly couldn't find the time to blog and write reviews, much less anything that anyone else would want to read.I'm still really busy these days, but I'm finding ways to make time for reading and blogging and such. So, when I finally went in and downloaded my Netgalley shelf, I had truthfully forgotten what this book was about and why I requested it. I only remembered that it was a memoir of a couple. My first impression, 36 pages in: I have been in one of the whirlwind relationships that Susan describes at first, with a person who is so charming and charismatic that it's magnetic, and you can't pull away. At this point, it almost seems like she is trying to make herself seem super sensible and responsible, but I know from first hand experience, no matter how put together you are, a person like that, pursuing you like that, makes you lower tat guard and act reckless when it comes to them.As if reading my mind, I came upon the next chapter, which is written by Graham. At this point, I remembered reading that this was a couple's memoir, but I didn't realize that the chapter alternate between Susan and Graham's POV. I don't think I would have believed some of Susan's story if it weren't for Graham backing her up. However, I figure that she probably had the last say in how the book turned out, especially from the way her personality is depicted. I ended up liking both of them much more throughout the book than I did when I first started reading. I've never heard of, or read, a memoir, especially one about addiction, written by a couple. It's "brilliant" (yes, that's quoting the Scot that wrote half the book! By the time I was done with it, I was describing everything as brilliant). The concept is just BRILLIANT!I really enjoyed this book and getting to hear two sides to this story. I've read lots of memoirs, and after I finished this one, I thought about how the book would have turned out if it only featured one perspective, and I think it would really be lacking. I don't think I would have read it if it was only from Susan's POV.I probably would have read it if it was only written from Graham's POV, and he might have even revealed more in that case. However, it would have taken away one of the biggest themes of the book: Sometimes you just can't five up on someone you love, and occasionally it takes the person you love hanging on through it all to pull you up when you hit rock bottom.I received this book from the publishers, via NetGalley, in exchange for an honest review.

  • Laurel Flynn
    2018-11-19 19:23

    Chancers are people who take the leap, risk the safety of their everyday box, do something new. Sometimes the results are fabulous, sometimes they are not....but you tried. And, then, there are consequences..."Chancers" is all about one couple's experiences, not just of the items in the title but also of the legal system and Immigration. If this couple weren't a journalist and a photographer, white, with friends and funds, this not only would be a different story but would not get told. Think about who wrote the book, "Orange is the New Black."My initial interest in "Chancers" was generated by reading some article about new, worthwhile books; I can't remember where the article appeared. I was interested in the "why" of addiction, not being content with the stereotypes, with the mainstream assumptions, or by what I knew of AA. I listen to people and more insight is never a bad thing when so many different people cross your path. I was ready for a serious, challenging book. This is it.I learned so much from reading this book, hoping that it speaks to at least some level of universal application. Can I just put this out there: narcotics addiction fills a need, and, until that need is dealt with, recovery (release from addiction) is not going to happen. It isn't willpower, moral fortitude or devotion to deity that is going to start lifting you up. Organizations like AA may be a stage in healing but they don't deal with the cause - some other part of the process must deal with that root pain before "sharing time" is helpful. An easy way to deal with pain, loneliness, despair? Addictive substances can be very appealing, especially when you are living in the moment.Apart from the main topic, however, "Chancers" also highlights dysfunctions in the US prison system, especially the for-profit sector, the US legal system, and the vagaries of the immigration system. If you have money, a support system on the outside, a lot of patience, good lawyers and, yes, some luck, you may have a positive final outcome. But don't put a foot wrong, ever quit trying or miss a date - you can be tripped up by thoughtlessness, total NGAS or random things falling from the sky. There is a long list of "what ifs" towards the end of the book where chance good deeds fell the way of our protagonists. Perhaps some of the "chancer" is also those chances that come your way, not just those you take.If you have no means or no support there is little chance that you'll make it through the system. Plus, your story will never be told.

  • Lauren Snow
    2018-11-24 11:21

    Amazing bookSo open and honest. I love the way the story is told from both the main people's points of view. I believe it is so important for people to be open about things like addiction, prison, and immigration issues. Thank you Susan and Graham for writing this book and opening your lives to us, your readers.

  • Carmen Gordon
    2018-11-18 17:27

    I won this book in a giveaway. It is a very interesting read with good flow. The authors tackle an incredibly sensitive subject of addiction, offering the reader 2-person accounts that are refreshingly honest, delving deeply into the complex psyche of the addict and a person that loves them. I recommend this book to any reader ages 18+.

  • Monical
    2018-12-05 12:12

    This was an interesting book about a couple and the oddyssey of their relationship, complicated by his addiction and eventual immigration problems (he was a green card holder from Scotland). I enjoyed the way the book was written, with alternating chapters by each of the couple written from their perspective. I had a harder time with the man's story, especially since he was almost a stereotype of an addict-- totally in denial, lying and cheating, eventually totally self-absorbed and selfish. Her story becomes more mysterious as her motivation isn't clear, and I had a hard time buying her indignation at the immigration process (especially since she had warned the man of this risk very early on, not that it changed anything that he did). This book is a good read for anyone who has ever dealt with such challenges.

  • Pip
    2018-12-09 19:16

    This is a touching story. It is also very topical with respect to American presidential politics in 2016. I read most of this book the day after the election and I could not help but wonder how many more people might be faced with both untreated drug addictions and the hell of Immigration and Customs Enforcement if our new president initiates some of his "promises." I would recommend anyone who feels strongly about being tough on drug addicts and misdemeanor legal "aliens" to take the time to peek into a case like the one described here. For me, this brought home some of my worst fears invoked by recent political rhetoric in the US.

  • Brian J
    2018-12-16 11:24

    Excellent! Could not put the book down!

  • Jen
    2018-12-19 12:11

    I hated this book. 100 pages in all I could think was that she's a weak, whiny enabler and he's an obnoxious prick. I skimmed through the ending and left the book on the beach

  • Jeanne
    2018-12-06 15:16

    I rarely give a book one star, but this was a real stinker. Instead of writing the story, there are huge blocks of transcripts of emails between the couple that will put you to sleep. The story is a whiny explanation of why someone would stay with a drug addict. It is a train wreck and not interesting at all.

  • Kelly
    2018-12-12 18:10

    A back-and-forth commentary by a 30-something couple coping with the monkey on his back. I found their letters and emails tedious and was somewhat surprised that she didn't give up on him. True love, I guess. Good luck with that.

  • Jennifer
    2018-11-20 14:13

    Very well told memoir from two POVs.

  • John
    2018-12-01 17:30

    Review to come.

  • Tara Koop
    2018-11-28 16:26

    I loved to hear both voices, both perspectives. I am very appreciative to have been given the chance to read this memoir.

  • Susan Muller
    2018-12-05 14:23

    Story of a user and a loserBoring but accurate portrayal of manipulating and arrogant photographer and well-meaning but gullible writer. His stunning recovery is impressive and her unflappable support is a bit baffling but all in all it's a fairly interesting story.