A scorching memoir of a love affair with an addict, weaving personal reckoning with psychology and history to understand the nature of addiction, codependency, and our appetite for obsessive love
“The disease he has is addiction,” Nina Renata Aron writes of her boyfriend, K. “The disease I have is loving him.” Their love affair is dramatic, urgent, overwhelming—an intoxicating antidote to the long, lonely days of early motherhood. Soon after they get together, K starts using again, and years of relapses and broken promises follow. Even as his addiction deepens, she stays, convinced she is the one who can get him sober. After an adolescence marred by family trauma and addiction, Nina can’t help but feel responsible for those suffering around her. How can she break this pattern? If she leaves K, has she failed him?
Writing in prose at once unflinching and acrobatic, Aron delivers a piercing memoir of romance and addiction, drawing on intimate anecdotes as well as academic research to crack open the long-feminized and overlooked phenomenon of codependency. She shifts between visceral, ferocious accounts of her affair with K and introspective analyses of the part she plays in his addictions, as well as defining moments in the history of codependency, from the temperance movement to the formation of Al-Anon to more recent research in the psychology of addiction. Good Morning, Destroyer of Men’s Souls is a blazing, bighearted book that illuminates and adds nuance to the messy tethers between femininity, enabling, and love.
About the Author
Nina Renata Aron is a writer and editor living in Oakland, California. Her work has appeared in The New York Times, The New Republic, the Los Angeles Review of Books, and elsewhere.
“I was riveted by Nina Renata Aron’s incandescent memoir from the first page to the last. What a marvel this book is, that such a harrowing subject can be rendered with such tenderness. Any person who has ever put herself in harm’s way for love will see herself in these pages. I have no doubt that this will be one of the best books of 2020.”—Mary Beth Keane, New York Times bestselling author of Ask Again, Yes
“Aron is a truth-telling badass with an irresistible voice. Balancing extensive research with dazzling, affecting prose, Good Morning, Destroyer of Men’s Souls is both a whip-smart addition to the literature of addiction and an intimate look at the beating heart of codependency. It’s a propulsive story of empathy, desire, recklessness, and the things we risk for love. I couldn't put it down.”—Kimberly King Parsons, author of the National Book Award–nominated Black Light “Aron has expertly examined and reframed the traditional patriarchal structure of recovery literature, incorporating her own raw and gorgeously rendered story. Good Morning, Destroyer of Men’s Souls is for anyone touched by addiction, which is all of us. It is a stunning interrogation of family and love and what it means to lose yourself in another. At turns wild and punk rock, redemptive and heartfelt, this book feels like the book I’ve always been looking for.”—Chelsea Bieker, author of Godshot
“In Aron’s candid and heart-wrenching memoir, the gnarled knots of love and addiction are untied and tangled and tied again. . . . Her compassion for victims of addiction never wavers, and her presentation of the addicted people in her life is dynamic and fair. A beautiful, nuanced portrait of living alongside addiction.”—Booklist (starred review)