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I'm Just Happy to Be Here: A Memoir of Renegade Mothering

Narrated by: Janelle Hanchett
Length: 9 hrs and 27 mins
5 out of 5 stars (8 ratings)

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Summary

From the creator of the blog Renegade Mothering, Janelle Hanchett's forthright, darkly funny, and ultimately empowering memoir chronicling her tumultuous journey from young motherhood to abysmal addiction and a recovery she never imagined possible. 

Pregnant at 21 by a man she'd known three months, Janelle Hanchett embraced motherhood with the determined optimism of the recklessly self-confident. After giving birth, she found herself bored, directionless, and seeking relief in wine, which she justified as sophisticated and going well with chicken. 

But over time, her questionable drinking habit spiraled into full-blown dependence, until life became bedtime stories and splitting hangovers, cubicles and multi-day drug binges - and eventually, an inconceivable separation from her children. For 10 years, Hanchett grappled with the unyielding progression of addiction, bouncing from rehab to therapy to the occasional hippie cleansing ritual on her quest for sobriety, before finding it in a way she never expected.  

Hers is a story we rarely hear - of the addict mother not redeemed by her children; who longs for normalcy but cannot maintain it; and who, having traveled to seemingly irreversible depths, makes it back, only to discover she is still an outsider. Like her irreverent, laugh-out-loud funny, and unflinchingly honest blog, Hanchett's memoir calls out the rhetoric surrounding "the sanctity of motherhood" as tired and empty, boldly recounting instead how she grew to accept an imperfect self within an imperfect life - and think, "Well, I'll be damned, I'm just happy to be here."

©2018 Janelle Hanchett (P)2018 Hachette Audio

Critic reviews

"Hanchett offers a startling account of her struggles with alcohol and drug addiction in this raw and riveting memoir.... Readers will cheer Hanchett toward her triumphant recovery." (Publishers Weekly)

"By turns painful and funny, [I'm Just Happy to Be Here] explores the pressures of modern motherhood while chronicling one woman's journey toward acceptance of her own limitations and imperfections. A searingly candid memoir." (Kirkus Reviews)

"Janelle Hanchett presents motherhood as we seldom see it: with irreverent humor, brazen honesty, deep love and loss. Her story is about finding peace right in the mess of motherhood, and that's what makes it wonderful." (Jill Smokler, New York Times best-selling author of Confessions of a Scary Mommy)

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 27-06-18

There are REAL people in the world....amazing

I listen or read about 2 books a week...not because I’m some “book expert,” but because I yearn to either escape or connect from my own life. I was blown away by this book and have to say....Janelle, you are not only an incredible mother, daughter, wife, and woman; you are a beautiful person. Thank you for being real when I needed to know that real is still alive. Although our lives may be very different I could feel you speaking to me! This book showed me that I am not alone, even though I never truly fit, do we really want to “fit?” I am 44, divorced for over a decade with two teenage sons that hopefully are just in the “hate me” stage and will one day find their way back to the “strict” mom when Dad is so fun (I would’ve been fun too if I didn’t have to be responsible). My mother passed at 52 when I was 26 and my now 18 year old son was 5 months old and we do “live in the blood of our mothers.” Thank you thank you thank you.....words cannot express how much this book spoke to me. As the saying goes, you’ve proven that it’s “not how many times you fall, but that you get back up,” you got up and with all you had you are standing tall. I’m sure your mom is so proud and your grandmothers are both beaming in heaven

9 of 9 people found this review helpful

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  • Tracy Meier
  • 17-03-19

Heartbreakingly Honest, Insightful and So True

I don’t write many reviews but feel compelled to for this book as I wonder why it is not in the window of every book store I pass. I feel riveted having just ended the most profoundly tragic journey, followed by a triumphant defeat. This book will stay with me. So many I read do not.

The writer shares with intimate detail, what it is to be human. She shows us what we are all facing. This is a story about the lives of those in our nation. It’s about our community, our neighbors, our friends, our family, our children, and our partners. It’s about us. It is our story whether we chose to see it or not. It is a story as old as time and yet it is even more relevant today—right now... at this moment.

In the end, we learn there isn’t anything we can do to help struggling addicts. For the author, it wasn’t the shame or mother’s guilt that paved the way to sobriety. Rather, it was a purely conscious desire to live and it surfaced only when her odds of continuing to live and use were gone. We understand this when the author is standing in line to buy red Solo cups at a liqueur store. Another addicts journey is not your own.

There are many heroes that surface in the pages of this memoir. Some show the meaningful ways to help children and others hurt by addicts. Perhaps more importantly, these heroes show us there is nothing we can do to make an addict want of achieve sobriety. Other heroes are those who have been on the same path to sobriety and are willing to share their journey to help others. Now, the author, Janelle Hanchett is one of those heroes.

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  • Susan
  • 26-10-18

Excellent!!

I could not stop listening to this story. I highly recommend this book to everyone struggling with addiction!!

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Mary
  • 11-12-19

Many times, this book took my breath away.

Many times, this book took my breath away and left me in tears.

This book started out, a little difficult for me to get into but I am extremely happy I didn't give up on it. Being an ACOA myself and having a family with multiple siblings that struggle with addiction I found this book to be very therapeutic. Amazingly written!!! I am soo proud of Janelle and I love her truth, her words, her thoughts!!! Janelle you are amazing!!!

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  • Allison
  • 15-11-19

Heartbreakingly beautiful!

I want to share this book with everyone! I’m still crying and at a loss for words.

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 12-11-19

Brutally honest story of motherhood and addiction

Loved it. A brutally honest story of a women's journey through motherhood and addiction. Very relatable. This is real life.

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  • Anonymous User
  • 06-11-19

Beautifully written

Where do I even begin I absolutely loved this book because addiction isn’t all rainbows and unicorns and I loved the truth in the words that Janelle wrote what an amazing book you will not be disappointed it’s a must read especially for anyone who has been touched by alcoholism or addiction whether it’s a family member or themselves

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  • Crowd of Nevadans
  • 14-10-19

Raw and Real

Don’t believe the negative reviews. Well written and well read! Absolutely loved it. Raw and emotionally honest

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  • Monica
  • 23-09-19

Everything I’d Hoped for and More

I’ve been reading Janelle’s blog Renegade Mothering for a long time and love her style and stories. Her writing is so raw and honest. She has a way with words that makes you feel like you’re friends and you’re just sharing stories. Love it and can’t wait to see what she does next.

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  • Jennifer Benton
  • 19-09-19

Wise, funny and inspiring

Great book and narration. there are so many lines about life and growing up that I had to repeat the playback because they were so relatable and wise. This is just an incredible story of determination, love and redemption. And she has a great sense of humor.