Thursday, March 03, 2011

Book Review: I Romanced the Stone

I started I Romanced the Stone by Marvin D. Wilson, then put it down. This book was not for me. Chapter One is a How-to on crack cocaine. Chapter Two is a condemnation of my generation, those of us who grew up in the “hippie” era, except I knew no one Marvin described. It made me angry that he lumped all of that generation into drugs, free love, and tuning out.

Then a couple of weeks ago, I went on vacation with my husband. I packed books, one of them Marvin’s I Romanced the Stone. I started over from the beginning. I still felt the same after those first two chapters. But I kept reading.

Marvin is very open about his failures and the spiral downward his life took because of drugs. He not only hit bottom, he began to dig a hole and just kept digging. Deeper. Until he lost everything. His home, his job, his family. And yet his family did not abandon him.

When he was not willing or able to save himself, his family saved him. And he began to see that his life was worth saving. That he could come back from devastation and drugs, with the help of his wife and family, a spiritual recovery program, and God.

Lest you think Marvin had never been taught to turn to God, he says in his bio that he is the son of a Christian minister. But crack cocaine was more powerful than what he’d been taught, more powerful than his love for his wife, more powerful than Marvin himself.

Here is the back cover blurb:
Caution: Do not buy or read this book if you are timid, or of tender sensibilities. The story inside is the true, uncensored reality of the life of a crack-head; the harsh reality of the lifestyles, evil places, characters, and dangers that are rampant in the inner city streets of America. This is not fiction, and it is not pretty. If you can’t take the heat, stay out of the kitchen.

However, if you can handle the truth, and wish to stay around for dinner, you will be rewarded with a banquet, a celebration feast, held in honor of one crack-head whose life was spared, who was made whole again, and who wishes to share his spiritual message of hope and advisement with all who will listen.
Marvin writes his life. Not mine. I came to see that this is his memoir, his experiences, his words. They are powerful words. He went into the depths of Hell and came out with hope and a future.

I Romanced the Stone
Barnes & Noble

Marvin D. Wilson stood up and told his story, a dark tale of drugs and a bright hope of redemption. I give I Romanced the Stone a rating of Hel-of-a-Story.
FTC Disclaimer: The author, Marvin D. Wilson, sent me this book. He did not ask for a review. I decided on my own to write one. I admire Marvin for writing this book and sharing his story with others. It’s a dark story, but it has a bright ending, one which others may find inspiring and life changing. There is not rating system for books like there is for movies, but I recommend it for adults, not children or teenagers, unless you feel they are sinking and need a rope to grab hold of, a true story of someone who survived.


  1. I would imagine this type of book is extremely painful to write, to relive the experience. Kudos to you for giving it another try.

  2. Firstly, Helen, thank you for giving my story a 'second chance' even though it appears you struggled mightily with the opening chapters. Your sterling and candid review is graciously appreciated by The Old Silly, and thank you for posting it here with the lauditory "Hel-of-a-story" rating!

    Laura, writing "Stone" was indeed extremely painful, but it was also a much needed catharsis--a cleansing and gestalt closing process. And a fringe benefit was I realized I like (and am fairly well naturally gifted with the ability) to write. Some really great people in the industry encouraged me to continue on, so I have done so ... and enjoy it very much.

    Marvin D Wilson

  3. I admire him for writing it as well!

  4. Marvin, I bet it was difficult to write. You're very open and honest in this book.

  5. Helen, I have to admit that there aren't many books that I go back to when I put them down. I think it's great you gave it another try.

    I think a story like Marvin's is one that's tough to read but can be very inspiring.

  6. I’ve read and enjoyed a couple of Marvin’s books. I admire those who are able to pour themselves on the written page, warts and all, in order to inspire others.

  7. I read Marv's book and it was very painful to get through. I can't imagine the pain and shame he must have gone through to write it.

  8. Alex, thanks for that, really.

    Helen, I can totally tell how you appreciated the brutal honesty that book was written with.

    Liz, I'm glad she picked it back up, too! And thanks for the comment.

    Jane - Warts on me? You kidding? (wink) LOL, appreciate you being here and having read some of my books. Love ya!

    Jean - Pain, yes, but shame? No. Not any longer. I let go of shame once I accepted God's Grace and forgiveness. I stand unashamed and free in the face of now and eternity, and have a life's vow to help and inspire others to attain the same.

  9. Excellent review Helen.

    I'm proud of you Marvin.

  10. As someone who works with teenagers day in and day out, I like hearing stories of those who made it when all hope seemed lost. I hope Marvin's story helps some of them up from despair.

  11. Glad to hear others have read Marvin's book. He has really turned his life around.

  12. Jean, have you changed where you blog? Your profile page lists two blogs, one way old and the other went nowhere.

  13. Wow ... that's quite a stirring and emotional write up. I had heard about Marvin's book Romancing the Stone but didn;t really know the guts and glory of it. Thanks for your straight forward write up. And coincidentally, Marvin is at my blog too.

  14. Hi Stephen. I'm sure there are plenty of readers who had no trouble at all with the book. But there are also probably some like me who might. If they persevere, they'll find it's a story worth reading.

  15. Helen, You make a good point when you say you realized it's HIS life, not yours. And in reading about a life so different from yours, what an innovative way to learn, and see the world a little more clearly.

  16. Brooke, thanks - much appreciated. :)

    Susan - I can't tell you what a tremendous feeling i've gotten since publishing Stone when I've received letters and emails from people who had needed (or knew someone who needed) to read my story and how it helped them turn their lives around. And Stone STILL outsells all my other books!

    Stephen - 'guts and glory' are three very apt words for the Stone Story!

    Helen and Joanne - So true, about viewing people and the world from a different perspective. My path - the one of the Hippie during the 60s and 70s was not the path of ALL Boomers, so those who went the more straight path would of course not relate to my world experience during those times. Getting Helen's reaction to my story was a good reminder for me, too!

  17. Helen,

    No, I haven't changed blog addresses although the blogger has been making changes. My Mysterious Writers blog url is: and Writers of the West is:

    And Marv, I'm sorry that I forgot to add that I'm proud of, and in awe of you. I can't imagine going through the life changes that accompany drug withdrawal. It must have been the worst kind of nightmare.

  18. Don't know why there was a glitch when I went to your profile, Jean, but I'm headed to your blog now.

  19. Jean, thank you, and yes, I would not wish having to go through withdrawal from serious narcotics on anyone. It took a major spiritual breakthrough to give me the strength ... previous attempts had failed in relapse, but when I finally made the real God Connection, well ... the cure was instantaneous. I've not had so much as a craving in almost six years now.

  20. Your story, Marvin, and your comments here, should give hope to a lot of people.

  21. I like to read true life stories. From what I know about Marvin and what you've said here about the book, it sounds like something I might appreciate. I aim to check this one out.

    Tossing It Out


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