“Love Junkie” (Bloomsbury USA, 2008) may sound like a Motown pop song from the 60s. It’s not. It’s a hard-hitting, personally revealing memoir by Rachel Resnick. Reviewers characterize it as disturbing and even terrifying. Resnick appears with Idyllwild Authors Series founder and facilitator Eduardo Santiago at 2 p.m. Sunday, July 17, at B’s Mountain of Books on North Circle Drive.
Resnick writes about a multi-decade history of failed relationships with badly chosen, toxic and abusive men and the trauma of living those years. She likened her need for men, for being with someone, to a junkie’s obsessive craving for a physical and emotional rush.
Resnick writes of her addiction on her website, www.rachelresnick.com: “When you’re addicted to someone, you’re using them. You’re getting high. You can actually feel the chemicals dropping down into your system, the warm pinging of your nerves.”
She begins “Love Junkie” in this way: “This is a story about my years of compulsive sex, romantic obsession, the endless demeaning emails I wrote, the addictive relationships I pursued … and the time and effort wasted. It’s also a story about how I finally decided to break the cycle, and how I slipped, and how I tried to find my way again.”
When asked what impelled her to become a writer, Resnick answered, “Revenge,” and then went on to recall, at the age of four, pointing her finger at her father and telling him, “I will write about this someday.” “If you’re angry, you can channel that [through writing] in a beautiful way. You can rewrite your own narrative” — a narrative, in Resnick’s case, dictated by a chaotic childhood in a dysfunctional family, and where as a child, she intuitively began raising herself and finding her own answers. She described the events in “Love Junkie” as the fallout and aftermath of “having raised myself.”
The epiphany that led Resnick to break her addictive cycle came after a boyfriend broke into her home and destroyed her computer containing an unfinished novel and other creative works on the eve of Valentine’s Day. A woman friend of Resnick’s, upon learning of the incident, said of the guy, “What a psycho.” Resnick said she later thought, “So if he’s a psycho, aren’t I a psycho too?” That propelled Resnick into therapy and a 12-step program.
Resnick said the writing of “Love Junkie” was an emotional journey that changed her as she wrote. “I did not realize that it [writing the memoir] would transform me,” she recounted. “The writing of the book, tunneling down, going deeper, became a tool for healing. The process of writing helped me to learn what I think and feel. Even if [my] story is extreme, people seem to connect strongly, and question their own romantic histories and choices.”
Resnick holds a B.A. in English Literature from Yale University and an MFA in Creative Writing from Vermont College.