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When Susan Stellin asked Graham MacIndoe to shoot her author photo for an upcoming travel book, she barely knew him except for a few weekends with mutual friends at a summer house in Montauk. He was a gregarious, divorced Scotsman who had recently gotten sober; she was an independent New Yorker who decided to take a chance on a rough-around-the-edges guy. But their relationship was soon tested when Susan discovered that Graham still had a drug habit he was hiding.
From their harrowing portrayal of the ravages of addiction to the stunning chain of events that led to Graham's arrest and imprisonment at Rikers Island, Chancers unfolds in alternating chapters that offer two perspectives on a relationship that ultimately endures against long odds. Susan follows Graham down the rabbit hole of the American criminal justice system, determined to keep him from becoming another casualty of the war on drugs. Graham gives a stark, riveting description of his slide from brownstone Brooklyn to a prison cell, his gut-wrenching efforts to get clean, and his fight to avoid getting exiled far away from his son and the life he built over 20 years.
Beautifully written, brutally honest, yet filled with suspense and hope, Chancers will resonate with anyone who has been touched by the heartache of addiction, the nightmare of incarceration, or the tough choice of leaving or staying with someone who is struggling on the road to recovery. By sharing their story, Susan and Graham show the value of talking about topics many of us are too scared to address.
Customer ReviewsMost Helpful
By Digby on 07-15-16
Skillful mix of personal and political
I listened to the audio version of Chancers during a road trip and was immediately drawn into the memoir, which is narrated by the authors themselves. It is an amazing love story but extends beyond the personal realm, delving into addiction, criminal justice, and immigration. I found it rivoting and can easily imagine it becoming a Hollywood movie.
4 of 4 people found this review helpful
By Art on 06-25-16
AMAZING! THANK YOU SUSAN AND GRAHAM! INSPIRING!
I listened to this audio book and finished it in two days. My husband an addict like me actually bought a splitter so that we could listen to the book together! We too struggled with addiction in the past, we started using together after a solid year of being together. I desperately wanted to stop and did while he had a much harder time. He had been incarcerated for over a year and his 3 kids will no longer speak to him. However, hearing your story has helped us both by just knowing it is possible to trust again and to stay clean and move on. Thank you Susan for not giving up on someone who had given up on himself and thank you Graham for your willingness to share your story and your openness. Seeing the pictures online that you took while using where so powerful! I've saved a few just as a ill reminder of where heroin WILL take us if we don't stay on top of our health, healing and recovery! god bless you both and thank you from the bottom of my heart!!!
3 of 3 people found this review helpful
Customer ReviewsMost Helpful
By Zebra Karma on 12-17-16
I read about this memoir in the British Journal of Photography. Addiction and recovery are not topics that I normally choose as reading material but I was intrigued by Graham MacIndoe's back story as a celebrity photographer who had made the leap from small town Scotland to the bright lights of Manhattan. I was also drawn to the dual-memoir structure told by MacIndoe and his partner, New York Times journalist Susan Stellin.
Towards the end of the book Stellin raises a crucial question. Do we as a society really believe in rehabilitation? I'd never before given the matter any thought. Having finished Chancers, I would have to admit no, I don't think we do. MacIndoe's account of his time in prison, most notably in immigration detention after serving time at Riley's for a drug possession misdemeanour, is an eye-opener. Those inmates lucky enough to be released are dumped at the bus station without money, phone or even a jacket and expected to get back on their feet.
At times, Stellin does emerge as a saintly figure but she's wise to that and up for the takedown with the wry humour that I strongly suspect to be the spark that keeps them together despite everything.
"It's easy to say I love you, it's showing it that's hard," writes Stellin. I think it's fair to say by the end of the book they have both passed that particular life lesson with flying colours.
By michael on 07-11-16
Addiction again I couldn't put the book down!
What did you like most about Chancers?
A very gripping true story - I am so naive about drugs it has helped me understand what it must be like for addicts and their loved ones to encounter. Susan's strength and encouragement is remarkable and Graham I'm glad your back to the caring better person you were before all of this. Keep up the good work and continue the book letting us know about the good times.