The Lost Years: Surviving a Mother and Daughter's Worst Nightmare

Image of The Lost Years: Surviving a Mother and Daughter's Worst Nightmare
Release Date: 
September 1, 2006
Jeffers Press
Reviewed by: 

The Lost Years by Kristina Wandzilak (daughter), and Constance Curry (mother), is the raw and touching story of a family that endures unimaginable hardships in an attempt to save their daughter from the grip of addiction and emotional chaos. This memoir capitalizes on the unique and undying bond between a mother and daughter in times of desperation.

Because The Lost Years is written from alternating perspectives, it provides a lot more insight than other books I’ve come across in this area. As someone who has experienced my own version of this journey, I found this memoir to be infinitely more moving because it solidified in my mind the kind of toll emotional chaos and addiction can take not only on the individual consumed by it, but on all those around them.

The honesty and candidness of Constance Curry’s words are powerful, and although the events she describes are specific to her own daughter’s circumstances, the emotions portrayed parallel those of any parent suffering through similar events.

Wandzilak spares no details when it comes to the gruesome circumstances of her descent into addiction, prostitution, homelessness, surviving a brutal rape, as well as her triumphant and satisfying return from oblivion. Kristina’s characteristic tenacity and unyielding openness regarding these horrors is remarkable and also comforting for anyone who has experienced similar misfortune.

The beauty of this book is that it appeals to a wider audience than other memoirs in this niche genre. Because I’ve found myself in startlingly comparable situations, Kristina’s fearless recount of her recovery was inspirational, reminding me that there are people who push through seemingly indestructible barriers, and go on to live healthy and happy lives.

While you will not find specific solutions or answers anywhere in this book, it offers readers both support and encouragement to create their own happy ending. Many people in the thrall of the tragedies described in this book have lost sight of the light at the end of the tunnel. It helped me find the strength to move toward that light and reclaim my life.

The Lost Years is a deeply profound read. For parents feeling helpless in confronting a loved one’s addiction, for those on the road to recovery, and those of us who won our personal battles, this is an intensely inspirational and emotional story. The combination of this mother and daughter’s representation of, “the lost years” is so easy to identify with, and absolutely dispenses a considerable amount of wisdom obtained by living through this nightmare.