Enjoy My Misery

Based on true events, James Roberts’ debut novel, Enjoy My Misery, is a story within a story— beginning with the seemingly endless struggles faced by Maria Michaels while growing up and then shifting narrative focus to the hardships of her sons, James and Jared. Readers are given the Michaels family history through the lens of both Maria and James, which brings their mother-son relationship to life on the pages. The book’s duel perspective allows for an in-depth journey through one family’s battles with depression, divorce, drug use, and death. Enjoy My Misery is just how it sounds—a series of unfortunate scenarios that entertain to the end, and underline that even when all else is lost, love and family ties can hold us together and keep us from losing sight of what matters most.

Roberts’ work of fiction is a must-read coming-of-age story, and what makes this Bildungsroman unique is its scope—by including two points of view, Enjoy My Misery reads at times like a diary full of dark family secrets and at times like a conversation with a trusted friend. Roberts completely immerses his audience in such events as police chases, cocaine binges, emergency room visits, and high school basketball tryouts. Enjoy My Misery will have you laughing, crying, and probably wanting to call your mom to tell her you love her. This work reflects, as Stephen Chbosky wrote in his The Perks of Being a Wallflower, “Even if we don’t have the power to choose where we come from, we can still choose where we go from there. We can still do things. And we can try to feel okay about them.”

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