"This is the story of an extraordinary boy with a brilliant mind, a heart of gold, and a tortured soul. It is the story of an illness, a fight to live, and a race against death.
I want to share the story, and the pain, the courage, the love, and what I learned in living through it. I want Nick's life to be not only a tender memory for us, but a gift to others. . . . I would like to offer people hope and the realities we lived with. I want to make a difference. My hope is that someone will be able to use what we learned, and save a life with it."—Danielle Steel
From the day he was born, Nick Traina was his mother's joy. By nineteen, he was dead. This is Danielle Steel's powerful, personal story of the son she lost and the lessons she learned during his courageous battle against darkness. Sharing tender, painful memories and Nick's remarkable journals, Steel brings us a haunting duet between a singular young man and the mother who loved him—and a harrowing portrait of a masked killer called manic depression, which afflicts between two and three million Americans.
At once a loving legacy and an unsparing depiction of a devastating illness, Danielle Steel's tribute to her lost son is a gift of life, hope, healing, and understanding to us all.
Like Kurt Cobain, Nick Traina lived for punk rock (his bands made two CDs, Gift Before I Go
and 17 Reasons
), succumbed to heroin addiction, and died of suicide. His mom, Danielle Steel, takes us through her 19 twister-like years with Nick in a memoir more affecting than her potboiler novels. Like his AWOL addict father, Nick had good looks, bad behavior, and a yen for the feminine. Five days before he died, he phoned a woman he saw in a centerfold and had a new girlfriend by nightfall. But his fun was ever haunted by manic depression. At age 11, he was a bed wetter who ate all the Tylenol and Sudafed in the house. He first considered suicide at 13, as Steel learned by reading his diaries after his death.
There is tension in this story--one doctor told Steel if she could get Nick to live to 30, he'd probably live a normal life span. (For example, Nick's troubled dad resurfaced, sober, soon after his son's death.) And Steel conveys a sense of the intelligence Nick used to conceal his learning disability, and the irreverent charm that alternated with irrational rages. Oliver Sacks has urged us not to ask what neurological disease a person has, but what sort of person the disease has got hold of. Steel gives us a vivid sense of the costs of the disease to a family--and of the person who was Nick Traina. --Tim Appelo