Albert Camus

Don't walk behind me; I may not lead. Don't walk in front of me; I may not follow. Just walk beside me and be my friend.

Friday, November 16, 2018

In the Key of Be by Lena Hubin

"I found her writing engaging and thoughtful. She's at her best in her portraits of family life, in all its glory of everyday triumphs and tragedies, and these are often taking place in exotic locales with a jungle or monkeys or servants or Caribbean beaches or Himalayan mountains. The wide-ranging and cross-cultural settings bring depth to a personal story, and combine for me to create compelling reading."- Peggy, Goodreads


Published: April 2nd, 2018

Lena Hubin is a straight-A college senior when she lands in a psych ward. After her release, psychotherapy, illicit drugs, and sex distract her from her chronic anxiety--but none yields lasting relief.

Despite teaching abroad, marrying, earning a masters and adopting two children, she remains haunted by anxiety. In her fifties, Lena returns with her family to the U.S., anticipating peace of mind. But when her son struggles with alcoholism, she feels her sanity swirling down the drain like the liquor she would dump--if she could find it.
In a quest to help him, the author starts a journey that will change her life for good. 


The entry to the Wisconsin farmhouse of my 1950’s childhood was small and windowless. My dad’s barn overalls and our coats and jackets hung from wall hooks to the right and left. A door on the right opened into the kitchen. An assortment of boots lined the floorboards, where the edges of the linoleum were ragged: When Mom let Cookie, our black cocker spaniel, in during thunderstorms, the poor dog gnawed at the floor like a nail biter chews to the quick.

But anybody flapping through the screen door from outside couldn’t miss the huge map of the world on the wall straight ahead. My mother tacked the thing there, above a trunk—she, whose 1940 “normal school” yearbook proclaimed her goal to teach in Alaska; who, despite three kids and meager means, would earn a masters degree in education; who forever warbled “Those far-away places with the strange-sounding names/ are calling, calling me” as she cooked and washed and gardened. 

Mom never went to Alaska. Instead, she settled down with my dad on a small dairy farm and raised three daughters. Rarely venturing far from home, she taught in public schools nearby for forty years. The traveling was left to me. Today, our home office space is plastered with maps of the countries where my husband and I have lived.

My parents did well by their three daughters, providing us with pets, piano lessons, the opportunity to go to college, and the example of a steadfast relationship. The benefits have accompanied me through the years. 

But less favorable elements of my Midwest upbringing have also traveled with me. My folks’ need to beat back the Depression with hard work and little play; Mom’s efforts to control and perfect everything, especially me, her first-born—and thus my fear that I never could do well enough. These became burdens I hauled along like unwieldy bags whose contents, when unpacked, attacked me as anxiety. My guts churned; my teeth clenched; my shoulders sat high and tight. Hypochondria plagued me. My fear of flying worsened with each flight. 

I spent a decade self-medicating with alcohol, drugs, and sex before jumping off the continent. Eventually, in Africa, I met the man with whom I would enter a lasting relationship. We lived and worked together in exotic foreign places; we adopted a son from India, then a daughter from Madagascar. 

Through it all my angst persisted. After twenty years abroad, settled with my husband and kids in Arizona, I still longed for release from some vague perennial distress I could not name. 

For ten years more I squelched disquietude, until in 2009, a crisis threatened my sanity. Someone suggested a path, and in desperation, I took it.

About the author:
Lena Hubin has been writing since she was a young kid growing up on a small Wisconsin dairy farm. She has had essays and articles published in ISS Newslinks, The International Educator, Midwest Living, and The Sun. For four years she wrote quarterly book reviews for In Recovery Magazine. She has a masters degree in Creative Writing from California State University, Fresno. Lena writes, plays piano, teaches, and works for social justice in Prescott, Arizona, where she lives with her husband, dog, and cat.

Author's Giveaway


kim hansen said...

Sounds like a good read.

VampedChik said...

Sounds very emotional. Thanks for sharing.

Lis said...

Sounds great! Can't wait to check it out!

Lis said...

Sounds great! Can't wait to check it out!

Lis said...

Sounds great! Can't wait to check it out!

lynnsbeans said...

love the cover looks like a great read

Laura said...

Such an simple yet effective cover for what sounds like a deep story.

CJ said...

This looks like a great read! Thanks for sharing the excerpt with us! :)

areck0001 said...

I love time spent at the beach with pets on the sand. Very nice and enjoyable way to have a day.

Debra Branigan said...

I like the cover and love the title. The memoir sounds intriguing. I definitely willbe looking into this book.

KateS said...

I'd love to read this, thanks!

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bison61 said...

read the excerpt-book sounds good

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Kelly Simpson said...

Sounds like an interesting book.

Clarissa Hiciano said...

Wow sounds intriguing. Would love to read it!