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Reviewed by Asher Syed for Readers' Favorite
Unraveled by Laura Cook Boldt and Tom H. Boldt is a non-fiction memoir co-authored by mother and son as they allow us into their journey out of addiction. The narrative moves back and forth between each of its authors in an interesting string of chapters that frequently read as independent scenes but are woven together with the type of longevity not found often with vignettes. Each tells their story in the first person, their voices balancing each other exceptionally well. Tom is pitch-perfect with natural humor that brought me to tears as he grapples with the possibility of having murdered someone...hysterical, snort-laughing tears. Laura takes more even-handed steps through the moments that shape her the most, including shocking losses that hurt all the more by an unexpected note, and the lead-up to the first time Tommy took a Valium.
Unraveled is really just extraordinary. I loved the way Tom H. Boldt and Laura Cook Boldt jive in the type of harmony that can only come from a place of genuine love and understanding. The writing is so clean, so crisp, and there's this totally bizarre feeling of general naughtiness when you realize that you really, really like Tommy. He's skimming cash out of a dead relative's closet and all I can do is hold my breath and hope he makes it to the car with it still in his hand. The anti-hero quality is alive and well and a little too easy to embrace. I suppose this is due to Tom and Laura being real people—and we want to root for real people, even when they do really bad things. The arc and pacing of Unraveled are great, a smooth ride down a bumpy Memory Lane where Mom is able to rein our driver in and flush coke down the toilet at precisely the moments we need her to. The Boldt pairing is likely to be as satisfying for other readers as it was for me.