“An amazing memoir…a cross between The Liar’s Club and A Million Little Pieces.”
Everything I Never Wanted to Be by Dina Kucera is the true story of a family’s battle with alcoholism and drug addiction. Dina’s grandfather and father were alcoholics. Her grandmother was a pill addict. Dina is an alcoholic and pill addict, and all three of her daughters struggle with alcohol and drug addiction—including her youngest daughter, who started using heroin at age fourteen.
Dina’s household also includes her husband and his unemployed identical twin; a mother who has Parkinson’s Disease; a grandson who has cerebral palsy; and other people who drift in and out of the household depending on their employment situation or rehab status. On top of all that, Dina is trying to make it as a stand-up comic and author so she can quit her crummy job as a grocery store clerk. Through it all, Dina does her best to hold her family together, keep her faith, and maintain her sense of humor.
As you might imagine, a story filled with alcoholics and drug addicts includes a number of horrific events. But in the end, Everything I Never Wanted to Be is an uplifting story that contains valuable lessons for parents and teens alike, and a strong message about the need to address the epidemic of teen drug addiction in our nation. It’s a book that can change behavior and save lives—and make you laugh along the way.
Praise for Everything
“So absolutely over the top that it makes readers laugh out loud and thank God it is not them.” - San Francisco Book Review, March 2011.
"Raw and funny,” Joel Stein, Time Magazine Columnist. “How come people who have experienced such trauma write so well? Everything I Never Wanted To Be is so raw and funny that it almost makes me want to have horrible things happen to me so my writing will improve. Until I can orchestrate that, I can enjoy reading about Dina Kucera’s horrible life.”
"Like a maelstrom, Everything I Never Wanted to Be pulls the reader into the powerful whirlpool which threatens to suck the lives of a family down the vortex of drug addiction and alcoholism. This is not a story of a caring family member or friend rescuing a loved one from drug abuse. Rather, this is a unique tale of an addict trying to save addicts: Kucera fights desperately to save her three teenage daughters from meth and heroin addiction while battling her own overpowering dependence on alcohol and painkillers. Naturally, the events that unfold are chaotic. This is the author’s true story of a tumultuous but inspiring, against-all-odds journey to keep herself and her family afloat. This read could be overwhelming were it not for the humor and hope running throughout the story. It is an intense and exhausting journey, but well worth the effort." – Gary Klinga, ForeWord Reviews
"When this book came up for review my first thought was: Oh yes, another family dealing with addiction. Been there, done that. But I read an excerpt. I was hooked. What makes this memoir so special? As with fiction, it’s all about voice: the fairy dust that brings words to life, gives them a heartbeat. Dina has a voice many authors would cheerfully give a limb for. Everything I Never Wanted to Be will tie your heart in knots, it will have you howling in frustration and it will make you laugh out loud. I strongly urge everyone to read Dina’s story." – Jenny Mounfield, The Compulsive Reader
"A brutally open and honest look into the heart of a family beset by drug and alcohol abuse. [Kucera's] heart, soul, and humor shine forth from the book’s pages and…will make a lasting impression on those who read her memoir." – Charline Ratcliff, Rebecca’s Reads
"I started reading Everything I Never Wanted to Be and couldn’t put it down. It is terrific! It is a very visceral description of the lives of the author and her family, full of side-busting humor and moments of incredible drama and emotion. I don’t think there is anything like it out there in this genre. It deserves the attention of reviewers and the media, and I can see it becoming a hilarious movie in the vein of The Hangover or the original Death at a Funeral." – Mark Shelmerdine, CEO, Jeffers Press
Dina Kucera was born and raised in Albuquerque, New Mexico. After completing a project to collect and identify fifty insects, she graduated from the ninth grade and left school for good. It seemed like a good idea at the time. Her first job was a paper route, and she has worked as a maid, bartender, waitress, and grocery store checker. She recently left her job as a checker to become a writer.
She has also been a stand-up comic for twenty years, for which she receives payment ranging from a small amount of money to a very, very small amount of money. When it comes to awards and recognition, she was once nominated for a Girl Scout sugar cookie award, but she never actually received the award because her father decided to stop at a bar instead of going to the award ceremony. Dina waited on the curb outside the bar, repeatedly saying to panhandlers, “Sorry. I don’t have any money. I’m seven.” Dina is married with three daughters, one stepson, and one grandson. She currently lives in Phoenix, Arizona.