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New York Times bestselling author Lara Love Hardin recounts her slide from soccer mom to opioid addict to jailhouse shot-caller and her unlikely comeback as a highly successful ghostwriter in this harrowing, hilarious, no-holds-barred memoir.
No one expects the police to knock on the million-dollar, two-story home of the perfect cul-de-sac housewife. But soccer mom Lara Love Hardin has been hiding a shady secret: she is funding her heroin addiction by stealing her neighbors’ credit cards.
Lara is convicted of thirty-two felonies and becomes inmate S32179. She learns that jail is a class system with a power structure that is somewhere between an adolescent sleepover party and Lord of the Flies. Furniture is made from tampon boxes and Snickers bars are currency. But Lara quickly finds the rules and brings love and healing to her fellow inmates as she climbs the social ladder to become the “shot caller,” showing that jailhouse politics aren’t that different from the PTA meetings she used to attend.
When she’s released, she reinvents herself as a ghostwriter. Now, she’s legally co-opting other people’s identities and getting to meet Oprah, meditate with The Dalai Lama, and have dinner with Archbishop Desmond Tutu. But the shadow of her past follows her. Shame is a poison worse than heroin—there is no way to detox. Lara must learn how to forgive herself and others, navigate life as a felon on probation, prove to herself that she is more good than bad, and much more.
The Many Lives of Mama Love is a heartbreaking and tender journey from shame to redemption, despite a system that makes it almost impossible for us to move beyond the worst thing we have ever done.
About the Author
Lara Love Hardin is a literary agent, author, and president of True Literary. Prior to founding True Literary, she was the co-Ceo of Idea Architects. She has an MFA in creative writing and is a four-time New York Times bestselling collaborative writer, including the #1 New York Times bestseller Designing Your Life, and 2018 Oprah Book Club pick, The Sun Does Shine, which she coauthored with Anthony Ray Hinton. In 2019 she won a Christopher Award for her work “affirming the highest values of the human spirit.” In 2019 she was also nominated for an NAACP Image Award and short-listed for the Dayton Literary Peace Prize. Love Hardin lives in La Selva Beach, California, with her husband, Sam. She has four children, two step-children, five dogs, three cats, twenty-one chickens, and four ducks.
"Heartfelt, humor-tinged prose…The Many Lives of Mama Love contains notes of Wild, Orange is the New Black, and Catch me if you Can. —The New York Times
"A courageous and inspiring memoir." —Kirkus Reviews
“Grips you as suddenly as any psychological thriller… Readers will experience the lows and highs of addiction, incarceration and rehabilitation as Love Hardin assembles the pieces of her shattered life into something beautiful again in this inspiring chronicle.” —BookPage
“A hilarious and heartbreaking confession that will not let you go until it is done—and then it will haunt you. It will give you hope in what is possible for each of us if we allow others—and ourselves—to move beyond our shame, find redemption, and write a new, more inspiring story of our lives.” —Lori Gottlieb, author of the New York Times bestseller, Maybe You Should Talk to Someone
“The Many Lives of Mama Love is a masterclass in perseverance. This brilliant memoir is a reminder and inspiration that sometimes the only way out of suffering is to go straight through it. This book will leave you inspired and empowered to reveal your own most authentic self.” —Rich Roll, bestselling author of Finding Ultra and host of The Rich Roll Podcast
“Laced with penetrating wit, written with unsparing honesty and manifesting irrepressible resilience, The Many Lives of Mama Love is a book to intrigue, enchant, instruct, entertain and inspire readers of all ages and backgrounds. It speaks to our common human experience of suffering and the healing that can follow.” —Gabor Maté M.D., author of the New York Times bestseller, The Myth of Normal
“Start this thrilling, heartrending, funny book, and you won’t stop. I couldn’t. From page one, I was swept into Hardin's remarkable, un-put-down-able, artfully told story of suffering and redemption. This book can help anyone who’s struggled and felt hopelessness (and who hasn’t?). shows that not only can we survive the bleakest times, but we can thrive in them and because of them. ” —David Sheff, author of #1 New York Times bestseller, Beautiful Boy
“A compelling and timely rebuttal to the perverse and unjust notion that people who are convicted of crimes can only be criminals. This critically important idea is essential for a nation that has been so derailed by destructive “law and order” narratives that have left us both less just and less safe.” —Bryan Stevenson, author of the New York Times bestseller Just Mercy
“Hardin reveals who we truly are deep inside: infinite souls of limitless possibility. We are far more than the sum of what we have done and not done, what we have and do not have. In her profound, moving memoir, Hardin is honest, courageous, and challenges us to exceed the limiting definition we impose on ourselves and one another. We all can be redeemed.” —Dr. Lisa Miller, psychologist and author of the New York Times bestseller, The Spiritual Child
“This book will make you laugh, cry, and realize that everyone deserves a chance and, sometimes more than one. A powerful, poignant memoir filled with grace, enlightenment and love.” —Dr. James Doty, author of the New York Times bestseller, Into The Magic Shop
“Lara Love Hardin writes with the same humor and bravery that helped her navigate incarceration, sobriety and a daunting return to the community to regain her place in her children's lives. This beautifully told story flies in the face of assumptions about substance use disorder and incarcerated women and shows how community and connection help people rebuild themselves for the better.” —Piper Kerman, author of the #1 New York Times bestseller, Orange is the New Black