Photo by Erik Mclean
Maryjo Paradis-Smith’s July In August is a gripping story that reveals what it is like for young children to live with a family member who is a drug addict.
July In August, A Story Set In The Drug Epidemic
July Krativitiz is not your average 12-year-old living in Maplewood, New Hampshire. Together with her adorable two-year-old sibling, Abe, and their drug-addicted mother, it is quite safe to say that July’s life is perplexing and a bit too much for a young girl to take in. This is aggravated more because her mother is too intoxicated to do anything, especially care for her younger brother, which forces July to either not go to school to take care of him or leave him alone for the day, praying all the while that nothing bad would happen.
Life can be terrible for children with drug-addicted parents.
For July and Abe, things only get worse when Mary White, an elderly neighbor of hers, tries to give the two children her aid–but when the older woman finds out that July’s mother is a useless drug addict, she feels like taking matters into her own hands.
Mary White kidnaps the two, whisking them away into a remote and isolated lake house to keep July and Abe, in her eyes, safe and secure. Her further actions only help July realize that her nice neighbor is not all that she seems.
So, when Abe’s father, Roger, comes to Maplewood one weekend to start his turn taking care of the little boy, he quickly learns that something is terribly wrong when the house is eerily quiet and smells of rotting potatoes–July’s usually drug-addled mother was dead on the floor, and Roger had no clue where the children were.
Will Roger find them and discover who their mother’s killer is?
What the Drug Epidemic Is
Persisting in the background of the story of July In August and in broader American society is the ongoing opioid crisis and the wider drug epidemic. This has been a serious and pervasive issue that influences the lives of many millions of people. With this, why do opioids receive such focused coverage? Aren’t there other dangerous drugs that contribute to the drug epidemic?
Opioids deserve more focus because it is one of the more commonly used classes of drugs. They include prescription painkillers like oxycodone and hydrocodone, as well as illegal substances like heroin. Therefore, opioids are easily abused, which leads to addiction and overdose.
While the dangers of opioid use have become more widespread, its benefits are too much, and it’s difficult to simply throw them away. There are several thousands of prescriptions for opioid painkillers every day. Yet, some doctors tend to over-prescribe, whether intentionally or not, and while most drug addicts acquire these drugs legally at first–it is the initial taking that pulls them to addiction, and when their prescription runs out, they turn to illegal means to gratify themselves and their addictions.
Addiction is difficult to overcome, but if society is to remedy it, people need to learn more about its effects and what happens when addiction starts to affect other people.
This is where July In August plays an important role.
July In August is a wonderfully delightful book to read. Although it has its dark moments, these scenes are generally rounded off with beautiful and poignant moments of reflection. It is an authentic and raw display of what children experience and undergo when the people that should be taking care of them are under the spell of addiction.
About the Author
Maryjo Paradis-Smith hopes to bring her stories to as wide an audience as possible. She currently lives in Barrington, New Hampshire, with Tom, her husband, and two lovely cats. She is a keen observer of Boston sports and is thinking of writing a book about it.