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Thursday, March 28, 2013 11:38 AM

Everything I Never Wanted to Be by Dina Kucera was pretty much everything I wanted it to be. I started this book unsure of what to expect…and right from the beginning I was hooked. Kucera drew me in with her candid, open way of sharing the details of her life. Details to which I can relate.

This book is about addiction, hope, faith — it’s about being human. Kucera has had her own addiction issues, which she talks about, and then her daughters began exhibiting their issues with drugs — with life. This is a book about life.

Kucera’s writing style is accessible. It feels like you’re just sitting down having a conversation with her. So, yeah, at times it’s a little all over the place, as she relays her musings on everything from her penchant for the “f” word to her thoughts about working as a grocery check-out girl. The places, at times, where she strays from the main story and offers her own observations about something else didn’t really bother me. I think because that is how people talk, and throughout the book, Kucera really is talking to us. Plus I find her hilarious and her little musings made me laugh every time. She has a way with words, and a way of inserting something laughable into a situation that could very well remain somber without her flair for putting a twist on things.

The language is something that might offend some people, as I’ve mentioned her affinity for the “f” word. It didn’t bother me. It just might bother some readers. I think her story is so compelling, however, that one should be able to see past perceived “bad” language and still absorb her story.

Dina Kucera is real. She’s raw. She lays it all out on the table. I like that.

No…I love that.

It takes guts to look back on your life, your failures, your choices, everything…and then put it out there for the world to see. I felt as if I really got to know the people in her life that she described over and over…I kept reading because I was intrigued…enthralled…I wanted to see what happened to everyone. I started caring about each person in the book.

I could sense Kucera’s feelings of hopelessness…I felt her pain as she clocked in at the store…I have had so many jobs I’ve hated…I could relate to her wanting more in life. Toward the end of the book, she mentions a quote, “Bloom where you’re planted.” This really spoke to me, as a great friend referred to that quote when I was working at a job I detested…it was the first time I’d ever heard it. Then I was reading this book and relating to so much of it, when bam! This quote jumped out at me.

I am so glad I read this book.

If you or anyone you know has struggled with addiction in any form, I strongly urge you to read this book. Everything I Never Wanted to Be is not a self-help book. But it is a book that could be considered a friend. Someone who knows. Someone who understands. This book will make you feel less alone, plus, Kucera’s jokes are peppered throughout. You will laugh. I did. I also felt a strong emotional connection to everyone she described in the book…when I finished it I wanted more.
Thank you, Dina, for being brave enough to share your story.
Sara Berelsman lives in Forts Jennings with her husband and their two daughters. Check out her blog at


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