A Novel of Redemption from Addiction and a Broken Family
Carter Kirchner struggles to stay sane and sober as a counselor at Six West, an adolescent drug treatment center run by Sister Mary Xavier, a hard-drinking nun with an MBA. The young Kirchner is caught between Sister Mary’s plan to rescue the center by reforming a hard-case kid and the dysfunctional staff’s clumsy plan to intervene on their boss’s drinking. Meanwhile, Carter’s mother—who never forgave him for giving up a promising hockey career to treat his own addiction—lands in the hospital with an advanced case of cirrhosis. Before Carter can help the young addict commissioned to his care or safely navigate the staff’s dysfunctional intervention effort, he must rescue himself from his family’s broken past.
A Clean Heart is a novel by John Rosengren, a writer and recent nominee for a Pulitzer Prize who knows the territory of addiction. He went through treatment at age 17 and has been clean and sober since 1981. He also worked in adolescent treatment centers when he was younger. John Rosengren’s articles have appeared in more than 100 publications, including The Atlantic, New Yorker, Reader’s Digest, Sports Illustrated, and Utne Reader.
If you are a fan of the 2018 films Ben is Back or David Sheff’s Beautiful Boy or have read addiction memoirs such as If You Love Me or We All Fall Down, you will love reading John Rosengren’s A Clean Heart.