Details from Audible:
- One Good Reason
- A Memoir of Addiction and Recovery, Music and Love
- Written by: Séan McCann
- Narrated by: Séan McCann
- Length: 6 hrs and 10 mins
- Unabridged Audiobook
- Release date: 2021-06-17
- Language: English
- Publisher: Nimbus Publishing
- 4.8 out of 5 stars (13 ratings)
This deeply personal memoir, cowritten by singer-songwriter, renowned mental health advocate, and recent Order of Canada recipient Séan McCann and wife Andrea Aragon, leaves no stone unturned. Detailing in powerful and lyrical prose a Newfoundland childhood indoctrinated in strict Catholic faith, the creation of the wildly successful Great Big Sea, and the battle with alcoholism that nearly cost them everything, McCann and Aragon offer listeners a story of reaching international fame and finding rock bottom. Most of all, this audiobook is an honest, raw, and inspiring tribute to embracing the belief that we are all worth saving.
At the heart of this insightful coming-of-recovery is McCann’s exploration of the root cause of his alcoholism: a secret he kept until 2014, when he came out as a survivor of sexual abuse. Aragon’s parallel narrative offers a rare and intimate spousal perspective, making the memoir a nuanced and complex portrait of the effects of addiction on family.
Featuring lyrics from McCann’s celebrated solo career, One Good Reason is a rallying cry for holding on to the ones you love, helping yourself, and turning music into medicine.
©2020 Séan McCann (P)2021 Séan McCann
I have been listening to a lot of books from Newfoundland (and Labrador) authors. This one I’ll admit I put off, just because I knew the subject material was going to be dark. I think most people (at least middle-aged ones who live in/around St. John’s) have some idea of how Sean McCann left “Great Big Sea” and that he was abused but not much more than that. I love a book that is written (and read) by the author, so earlier in July I cued this up on my Libby list.
I am so glad I gave this book a listen. McCann has a nice speaking voice and he is a good writer, the book gives us the incredible (and heart-breaking) story of his life, how it was shattered, and ultimately how he came out the other end a stronger person and a better version of himself. One of the things I loved about this book (and there were several more) is that it is not just him, once he meets his wife in the story of his life she gradually gets about half the story. Andrea Aragon is an amazing person, has a lovely speaking voice and it was wonderful to hear her side of everything that happens and hear her own thoughts and feelings.
In some ways, this is an unusual book, which makes it a little hard to review, as it is part memoir, part mental-health awareness/addictions recovery help/commentary on the world/denouncement of the Catholic church/self-help/inspirational. I know that’s a lot of parts, which is also a great thing! The book surprised me several times and it was worth adding now that this deals with very serious subject matter. If you have triggers around abuse, addiction, alcoholism, drugs, suicide, self-harm, eating disorders, or marital difficulties you should consider carefully before listening to (or reading) this.
I also want to say that I greatly admire Sean and Andrea for being so open and honest with their lives and everything they have gone through, they are incredibly brave people who are willing to be very vulnerable putting themselves out there like this. I loved this book and talked about it with lots of people including at work and with my friends and I really learned a lot about Sean, and Andrea and what they both went through.
I agree with everything he says about the Catholic church, it is horrendous that young people continue to suffer abuse at the hands of priests and the organization continues to not do nearly enough to stop it. I used to be Catholic myself and came to similar conclusions that any church that will turn a blind eye to abuse is not one worth being a part of (and I’m Agnostic but that’s a personal blog post). It is also disgusting the way Canada treats its veterans, they serve and protect our country, and the very least we can do is look after them when they need it.
The book is not all serious, there are moments of levity and joy spread throughout, I laughed out loud several times and I will take away several life lessons from this. One of the most important ones is that anger is the worst emotion, we all feel it but when you hang onto it for any more than a few minutes it will only cause you harm. The path to happiness lies in forgiveness and becoming the best version of yourself, which means living your truth, whatever that may be.
I could go on and on about this book but I want there to be some chance someone will read this, so I’ll start to wind down. There are moments that I would consider graphic in this book but they are few and I think it was wise to not provide too much detail about the sexual abuse/assault that Sean endured. Thank you Sean and Andrea for being so brave and sharing your life and your struggles. I will think about this book for a long time, and yeah I’ll admit part of that is because I am glad I didn’t have the experiences either of them did but a larger part of me can see that life brings pain and trauma and 99% of us (myself included) experience it. My only small concern would be I thought he works too hard at times with metaphors and perhaps a few parts would have been better with less thematic descriptions. I give this a very solid 8.5 out of 10 and would recommend it to anyone who is interested in mental health/addiction/life/forgiveness/happiness and many other interesting and important topics. Andrea and Sean have excellent speaking voices and it was a pleasure to hear him singing a couple of times in the book. This book has very mature subject matter and I would say ages 19+, please don’t let your kids listen to this but do check it out, it’s a great book and you’ll be glad you did.