I’ll never forget the first time I read Doug Piotter’s first chapter of what would eventually be called Fixed: Dope Sacks, Dye Packs and the Long Welcome Back.
I’ll confess. I didn’t get it. I wanted to get it. But I wasn’t sure.
Now, we know for certain how wrong I was in my first impression. Fixed has just been given the Kirkus Star, which enters the book in the competition for its Kirkus Prize award and the $50,000 prize that comes with it.
It’s safe to say Kirkus’ reviewer got it.
“The author’s life, as portrayed here, contains enough screw-ups for 10 dysfunctionality memoirs,” the review writes, “but unlike other memoirists, he eschews angst and self-pity and highlights the absurd humor of the predicaments he made for himself. The pathos here is all the more moving for being spare, understated, and well-earned from hard experience. A smart, occasionally wise, and always entertaining recollection of addiction, crime, punishment, and recovery.”
I didn’t know Doug when I went out of my way to introduce myself to him at a writers conference. He unabashedly touted his book during the Q&A, describing it as micro-stories from his time as a drug addict, bank robber and prison inmate. He said, “it’s the real deal. It all happened.”
I introduced myself to him and invited him to a writers group. His moxie and story impressed me. I knew he could benefit from a serious group. Soon, Doug sent me his manuscript. I read the first chapter, and like I say, I didn’t get it.
But he added one more thing to his email, a link to the first reading of the book he had done. I listened to the reading and then I knew we were on to something.
Folks were cracking up. I may not have gotten it, but the crowd did.
Writing funny is nearly impossible. Perhaps it’s raw talent. But it’s also craft. And within Doug was a writer of raw talent and hidden determination to get better at the craft. Beyond the writers group, of which Doug remains a vital member, I’ve worked as his editor to help bring Fixed to life. It’s been a pleasure and an honor. We’ve now shifted into high gear for Doug’s second book, a work of fiction that offers much of the same promise of his memoir.
Meanwhile, Fixed continues to gain momentum, earning acclaim from dozens of reviewers and book awards including, a Finalist Beverly Hills Book Award and first place of the 22nd annual Colorado Independent Publishers Association and CIPA Education and Literary Foundation, Self Help.
Fixed is funny.
It’s also, as Doug, says, real. It all happened. And that is where the true amazement of this book’s accomplishment sneaks up on you. This funny writer with self-effacing charm survived all this pain and brokenness that makes the book so sharp and important. Funny is good, but impact is better and this book has both.
Don’t take my word for it. Buy it. If you do, we invite you to send us your review of the book. We will gladly post it here.