Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Book Review - A Forgotten Promise by John Olsen

Before I get into the following book review I have to thank all those who came to my signing at the Deseret Book Store in Draper.

 It was an amazing night, one I will long remember with fond memories. All I can say is-- 

thank you, thank you, thank you!

Now on with the book review . . .

Books about drug addiction aren't something I normally seek out. But drug addiction has become more wide spread and as a concerned citizen I wanted to learn how people deal with such an overwhelming problem.

A Forgotten Promise is a fictionalized biography about a couple who suffer with drug addiction and alcohol abuse and also about the relatives who raise their children. Please note that the names are fictionalized.

This ebook is told through two points of view: Jake, a drug abuser, and Phil, the concerned brother-in-law who takes care of Jake's children.

Through Jake we see how he and his wife, Shelly, were drawn into the drug scene and how their self-destructive habit tears their family apart.  This father and mother love their kids, but their need for drugs has them making very bad choices. However, they do something very right, they ask Shelly's sister, Susan, if she and her husband, Phil, would take care of their children for a while.

I marveled at the love and self-sacrifice of Phil and Susan. They already had five children of their own, but they opened their home to four more children not knowing when or if Jake and Shelly would ever get their act together enough to become responsible parents again.

The reader sees through Jake and Shelly how drugs take hold of its victims and keeps them on a roller coaster of emotional highs and lows as they struggle to stay alive. As the story progresses the reader learns what lengths addicts are willing to go to get a fix and how they are able to support a habit that costs hundreds of dollars a day.  Jake and Shelly break one promise after another, always saying they'll do better, but giving up to their weakness at times without hardly a fight.

I was quite impressed by their brother-in-law, Phil, and what he was willing to do to help Jake and Shelly. His patience was commendable. Through this ordeal he developed strategies of protecting his family and also the children that now relied on him to keep them safe. He was diligent and smart, which in the long run was the best thing for everyone.

The story is powerful and really opened my eyes. However, as with most self-published ebooks, this novel could have used some editing. I also became impatient with how many times Jake would break his promises. But this book is based on a true story and it reflects how life helping an addict really is. Promises are made, broken, and made again, time after time because in the end the family hangs onto the hope that their loved ones will somehow gain the strength and fortitude to overcome their addiction.

As I thought about this book, I realized most all of us fight addictions of some kind whether it's over-eating, smoking, drinking, drugs, temper, spending, and etc. Sometimes we may think because our little addiction isn't as big as others that overcoming them isn't as important. But one thing this book showed me is that we all need to work on becoming better people, stronger people. It takes work to overcome bad habits and it must be a Herculean task to overcome something so mind-numbing as drug addition.

The book ends with hope, which makes it worth the read.

To learn more about this ebook click here.



  1. Nice job on the review---seems to tell enough, but not too much. And to shine a light on this dark obsession will surely help someONE--- or, hopefully, MANY someones!

    1. Thanks, Brenda. This book could definitely help those struggling with addiction and also those trying to help them.

  2. Thanks for the review, Kathi. It was an amazing project to compile my own notes with information from my brother-in-law in an attempt to produce a coherent story. It was done as a labor of love and to fulfill a promise of my own, so I understand where it could have used better (as in professional) editing. I hope the unpolished nature doesn't interfere too much with the message I felt I had to share.

    Do you mind if I link to your review? If it's not too much trouble, I'd also be really grateful if you could send your review along to Amazon since comprehensive and unbiased reviews are a rare treat. :)

    1. I learned a lot reading your book. Thank you for writing it. If the unpolished nature of the novel was a problem I wouldn't have written the review, so no worries.

      Of course, link to my review. I will try to post my review on Amazon, though I haven't been very successful in the past. Someone told me that if you're an author with novels on Amazon that it won't let you post a review. But I'll give it another try.

  3. This is a nice review about a difficult issue. It's important to read about and discuss these taboo subjects so there's more understanding and empathy.

    I'm glad you had such a great time at your book signing, Kathi!

    Happy reading and writing! from Laura Marcella @ Wavy Lines

  4. It was so great to see you at the book signing, Kathi!
    Finishing a work like this is a a great accomplishment, John. Congrats. :)



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