Addiction affects almost everyone at some point in their lives, either individually or through a friend or family member.
Knowing this fact, I downloaded this audiobook because I wanted to understand more about the circumstances that might lead someone to develop an addiction and how could they turn their life around after succumbing to the disease.
This book does give insight into the desperation, warped thinking, and manipulation of an addict. And, it does give a brief glimpse at the end of the author living a fulfilling life in recovery. Jenkins is to be commended for doing the work to get and stay clean and for the work she has done to help others in recovery.
While it is clear Jenkins achieved a positive outcome, High Achiever doesn’t offer much insight into the recovery process. Instead of providing depth, it came across more like a gossipy retelling of events.
The book opens with her time in jail, with the second half detailing Jenkins’ double life as she recounts what happened in the treatment center she’s released into to complete her sentence.
Don’t get me wrong – Jenkins is a great storyteller. She grabs your attention and includes shocking details that kept me listening. After a while, her strengths as a storyteller became a bit of a weakness. Some parts seemed embellished and a little too coincidental to be true. Overall, I felt like I was dropped in the middle of an interesting story, stayed there for a while, and never really found out how it began or ended.
There were so many unanswered questions. I wanted to know if she apologized to Eliot or made amends with her sister. Did she have any setbacks after completing her court-ordered treatment? And, did she ever come to understand what led her to turn to drugs and alcohol in the first place?
I also found it a bit problematic that she never acknowledged her privilege as a white woman with addiction. Instead, the narrative reinforced misinformed stereotypes that addiction doesn’t usually happen to former cheerleaders who look like her.
People who are already familiar with Jenkins and her social media personality might find this an interesting read as a way to learn more about her. Those looking for a personal account of an addict in recovery with depth, self-reflection, and lessons about overcoming addiction may want to pass on this one.