A woman came up to me by the information desk. She was mid 50's-ish, short, high-lighted hair, very tan, and wearing one of those long ragged edged sweatshirts that are supposed to look cheap but are actually really expensive. She seemed almost frantic. She asked if we had a novel in which the main character is dealing with recovery and drug use.
"Hmm, well, this isn't a novel, but what about Beautiful Boy and Tweak?", I said. "I'm not exactly sure what you're looking for, but this is about drug use and the first one is from the dad's point of view and the Tweak is from his son, the user's point of view."
"I thought of those, but he relapses after the book. That's not good. My daughter is in recovery and I don't want that for her. She's read all the books that are specifically about addiction...Melody Beattie, etc., she's read all that. Committed it to memory, pretty much. My daughter is in recovery but she keeps getting involved with men and then gets sidetracked from what she needs to be doing for her recovery. I want to get her something to read where someone is dealing with their recovery."
"Has she read James Frey's A Million Little Pieces? In that book he's in recovery..."
"She LOVED that, that was great."
"Oh wait...again, this isn't a novel, but what about Drinking: A Love Story by Caroline Knapp? I just finished reading that. She's an alcoholic and keeps getting involved with men and she can't see how her alcohol addiction is getting in the way of her relationships."
"Hmm, I don't know...does she get out of it?"
"Yep", I said confidently. "By the end of the book she stops living with men because she realizes she has to get herself together and work on her recovery before she can be involved with men."
"That sounds perfect." She stopped, "except my daughter used meth, not alcohol. Where is it?" I took her to the Biography section and handed her a copy.
When I told Therapist about it later, she suggested that I could have given her Caroline Knapp's next book, Pack of Two, where the author is in recovery and realizes that she can't even be in a relationship with people, so she gets a dog. I haven't read that one yet. It's on my list.
An older couple brought up The Encyclopedia of Dog Breeds.
"Are you looking for a new dog? Or do you have a dog...?", I asked.
"We just lost our dog. A King Charles Spaniel. And we're trying to decide whether to stick with the same breed for our next dog, or get a different breed this time."
"They are nice dogs," I said. "We're getting a springer spaniel next week", I told them.
"Oh, that's great. The King Charles spaniels are great dogs. He was so wonderful."
"How old was he when he died?" I asked.
"He was 10. That breed is known for heart problems. We're lucky to have the time we did with him."
"It's hard to lose a dog, even if you know it's coming," I said. "I'm sorry you lost him...and good luck with your search!"