A House on Stilts

Mothering in the Age of Opioid Addiction

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Pub Date 15 Sep 2019 | Archive Date 15 Sep 2019
University of Iowa Press, University Of Iowa Press

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Description

A House on Stilts tells the story of one woman’s struggle to reclaim wholeness while mothering a son addicted to opioids. Paula Becker’s son Hunter was raised in a safe, nurturing home by his writer/historian mom and his physician father. He was a bright, curious child. And yet, addiction found him.

More than 2.5 million Americans are addicted to opioids, some half-million of these to heroin. For many of them, their drug addiction leads to lives of demoralization, homelessness, and constant peril. For parents, a child’s addiction upends family life, catapulting them onto a path no longer prescribed by Dr. Spock, but by Dante’s Inferno. Within this ten-year crucible, Paula is transformed by an excruciating, inescapable truth: the difference between what she can do and what she cannot do.
A House on Stilts tells the story of one woman’s struggle to reclaim wholeness while mothering a son addicted to opioids. Paula Becker’s son Hunter was raised in a safe, nurturing home by his...

Advance Praise

“Really brilliant. I often feel that addiction lies right outside in this way. This is a remarkable book. And an utterly terrifying one.”—Andrew Solomon, author, Far from the Tree: Parents, Children and the Search for Identity

A House on Stilts is the story of a family just like yours perhaps, or the family next door. Through raw and authentic expression, we come to share in this mother’s loss of dreams for her addicted son. Paula Becker deftly shows how addiction can happen to anyone.”—D’Anne Burwell, author, Saving Jake: When Addiction Hits Home

“Paula Becker pulls back the curtain and shows us what is typically only whispered about: the opioid crisis among young, white privileged kids and the effect on their middle-class families. Becker, in a fashion true to her historian roots, digs into the opioid crisis that is leaving no demographic untouched, and also digs into her past, looking at her parenting for clues and wrong turns along the route to her son’s teenage years. Ultimately, what she writes is an elegy for Hunter, who she finally realizes had been walking his own path all along.”—Kate Carroll De Gutes, author, Objects In Mirror Are Closer Than They Appear

“Really brilliant. I often feel that addiction lies right outside in this way. This is a remarkable book. And an utterly terrifying one.”—Andrew Solomon, author, Far from the Tree: Parents, Children...


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ISBN 9781609386597
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Featured Reviews

A House on Stilts by Paula Becker is such a roller coaster ride. This book took my feelings for a crazy ride: I was smiling one moment, crying uncontrollably the next, proud now and so so disappointed later. Hunter's story is such a heartbreaking one that happens all over this country, again and again. Becker shows that she has done her research on programs, drugs, and the history of Seattle as it is related to drugs. She also shows the devastating effect that a person with addiction can have on their family, and the struggle between wanting to care for your child but not wanting to be an enabler. Becker does not hold back in her account, which is much appreciated. I am glad that addiction is starting to be talked about more, which will hopefully lead to more help for those affected by it. Writing this book must've been very difficult but it is much appreciated.

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Thank you for sharing your story. My family has been affected by drugs as well, including heroin, methadone and fentanyl and I appreciate the strength it took for you to share this.

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