Today, I am reviewing The Temptation of Adam by Dave Connis. This book is great.No, Fantastic. Hands down, a beautiful book that tackles addiction, support groups, family and love.One of the strongest aspects (possibly) of this book is its strong and captivating characters. I felt as if I was beside the Knights of Vices, seeing them through new eyes, listening to their story. Another strong aspect is that nothing is being concealed. Addiction is not something that’s cured overnight. It takes time. Not only to accept that someone has an addiction, but finding the balance to tame the addiction, and getting the right amount of treatment whether it be support groups, medication,or cognitive restructuring. This is not just Adam’s story, it’s the people that surround him. Addiction is a complex topic because the person with the addiction does not think they have a problem, which aids in distancing and interfering with their work, health, and relationships. This book is a rare gem and really glad to have read Adam experience.
Down below are some more in depth thoughts about the Temptation of Adam, a Q and A with Dave Connis , a sweet snack to make when your hungry and , a giveaway for Canadian residents only.
The Temptation of Adam by Dave Connis
Pub date: Nov. 21, 2017
Publisher: Sky Pony Press
Available in Canada through Thomas Allen & Son
3,7 / 5 Stars
Adam Hawthorne is fine.
Yeah, his mother left, his older sister went with her, and his dad would rather read Nicholas Sparks novels than talk to him. And yeah, he spends his nights watching self-curated porn video playlists.
But Adam is fine.
When a family friend discovers Adam’s porn addiction, he’s forced to join an addiction support group: the self-proclaimed Knights of Vice. He goes because he has to, but the honesty of the Knights starts to slip past his defenses. Combine that with his sister’s out-of-the-blue return and the attention of a girl he meets in an AA meeting, and all the work Adam has put into being fine begins to unravel.
Now Adam has to face the causes and effects of his addiction, before he loses his new friends, his prodigal sister, and his almost semi-sort-of girlfriend.
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* I was given an ARC by Thomas and Allen, All my thoughts and opinions are my own.*
“Once you know what you are, you are no longer a human who struggles with addiction, but a human who struggle with being human.”
The Temptation of Adam is a force of nature that does not hold back. The Temptation of Adam gave me feelings of tragedy, heartbreak, brokenness and hope. When I read the synopsis that this book was about a group of teenagers struggling through addictions, I just had to read it. It’s rare to find a protagonist with an addiction, let alone a teenager with a porn addiction or the subject being tackled in the YA community. This book talks about various forms of addiction and various types of heartbreak, families, friendships and self-discovery. The characters are incredible and truly amazing. I love Mr.Cratcher, Addy, Dez, Trey, Mark and Elliot. The plot is enjoyable and simple to follow along. Readers will find the pace is slow but I believe that if the pace of the novel went faster it would be too much and shadow the important factors of this book. Adam is suspended from school and attends the mornings with his science teacher, Mr.Cratcher to help with an album that he wrote years ago and attends Knights of Vices support meetings, where he meets a circle of teenagers with their own immoralities. When Adam is not attending the meetings he is with his dad and sister working on his relationships with each of them. When Mr.Cracther is hospitalized , The Knights of Vices go on a trip to find this album he created.
"I, Adam Hawthrone, am a hub fineness and solidity."
Adam is the biggest unnatural disaster character you will ever meet.Adam is such a great character. Yes, he has his imperfections and immoralities but the effort he puts into finding greatness in himself and other is incredible. He makes me feel my insecurities, my anxieties about work, relationships, and health. He reminds me of my fears and that inner darkness that we all feel we suffer alone, and reminds me that I’m not the only one who feels this way, we all do. When he explains why he turned to porn, it felt as if he was ripping his skin open to show his vulnerabilities; “I didn’t care about people, Dez. The Woman leaving, Addy, my family. I’d decided that people weren’t worth the manual labour of caring-everyone outside of Addy, anyway, I eventually realized-and I think because I believed that about everyone else, I believed that about myself. I love porn because there’s no labour involved outside moving my hand. Those girls don’t hurt me. Anyway, in the span of a week, I’d asked a bunch of girls to have sex with me who were in the same group of friends, who now call themselves The Anti-Adam order. I offered one twenty bucks to do me in the hallways. She pretended to say yes and started making out with me in the hallway. Then before we went anywhere, she started screaming. Teachers came running.They used that, the fact that I offered her money, and the other girls testimonies about my asking for sex to win the suspension.”
. And this was like an amen to me.
“ Life is made up of two kinds of pain, the hurtful kind and the beautiful kind, and that’s okay. Why? Because though I‘m broken, I’m not an addict. Just because I have a hard night or week or month, it doesn’t mean I haven’t changed. I might be never fixed, but that doesn’t mean I can't be whole. We are all variables of broke and holy light, and that’s the only thing in the world that doesn’t change.”
As I mentioned, this book is about a teenager with a porn addiction. This is a rare gem. Most YA novels have topics such as ecstatic joy of excessive drinking, shopping addiction, or substance abuse. I really enjoy that Dave did not label Adam a bad boy. That only bad boys do drugs or loves excessive sex. Dave writes characters from an array of backgrounds. I love that the message in the book is about finding greatness in yourself and the importance of honesty and openness is in the forefront. And finally, I like that Connis did not over-romanticize Dez and Adam relationship.He did not make the relationship between Dez and Adam the ONLY key to Adam’s recovery from his addiction. Their relationship happens fast and struggles when Dez does not want to make it official, out of fear of their battling addictions causing their ultimate collapse.
Q & A with Dave Connis
1. What/Who was your inspiration to write a novel based around a teenage boy struggling with a
porn addiction, and how much did you research for The Temptation of Adam?
There were quite a few who/whats. First was my experience in high school. I went through a intense porn phase that could've gone done more damage than it had. I wasn't addicted like Adam, per say, but I would've been if it had gone unchecked. Porn was more than just an exploration of sexuality, it was a definition of it. So, I was learning all these things about sex, with no one really talking about it outside of whispers, disappointment, or purity/moralism discussion. None of which were helpful.
I'm a part of a group sort of like the Knights of Vice, but less formal and less addict-y. More just a bunch of long time who really care about each other. The year I had the idea for TOA was a really tough one for all of us. Each one of us was struggling with some sort of vice, traumatic life event, intense doubt, etc and, if it hadn't been for those guys, I wouldn't have made it through it. Both of these experiences sort of collided into this idea of community and the common ground of the human experience of pain. I wanted to talk about it, and I wanted to talk about the depths of it in a way that would've helped Teen Dave, so, I started thinking about a book that Teen Dave would've wanted, and out came the idea of TOA.
I researched the science of addiction (all types) for about three months leading up to even writing the first word TOA. I'm definitely not an expert. Three months of research is pale in comparison to counselors and psychologists that do it for a living, so I had professionals read through the book to tell me where and what I was getting wrong because I desperately didn't want to mess this up.
2. Addiction is an illness, not a disease. The word addition comes with a plethora of immediate
negative thoughts and stigmas that make it difficult for people with them to admit they
need help and seek treatment. How challenging was it to write both the social and mental
impacts of someone who has an addiction and is fighting against stigmas? Was it possibly
the hardest part of writing Adam’s story?
It was incredibly hard. As a writer, I didn't want to mess up such an intense experience. Addiction is an incredibly hard thing with incredibly hard consequences and I often feared that I was diluting the hardness of the experience by being too hopeful. Hope will always be a part of my books, I can't write without hope, but I also wanted to show that things as hard as addiction don't end because they can rally all their strength, or of massive experiences (like a road trip). Addiction takes struggle. Learning your flaws and figuring out the tools to deal with them takes struggle. You can't expect a boy or a girl to fix you. There were a lot of things like that that I wanted to speak too, and striking the balance between some really sobering truths and being hopeful was really really hard.
3. Mr. Cratcher is just an important character to the story. He becomes this sort of doorway
for Adam to seek hope out of. Is there someone in your life that inspired this character?
Mr. Cratcher is actually inspired by Mr. Feeny from Boy Meets World. This older man who uses his life and wisdom to subtly guide Adam down the corridors of his own struggle without even noticing.
4.How important was it to have a ‘united front’ in Adam’s family when it came to his
So important. You can't struggle alone. In anything. ESPECIALLY addiction. Adam's family has the most experience with Adam's story. They were in the thick of all the shit at the time he became addicted. We isolate ourselves in our pain a lot. Often using the justification that "that people just don't understand" or that "there's no one who really cares". For Adam to have the people who knew his specific pain talking straight to his heart, that challenged his ability to isolate, which is a massive part of what changes him.
5. Do you think Adam is a role model? If you ask all readers to take one thing from this novel,
what would that be?
Oh man, why are you so good at questions? Strangely, I think I'll say yes. Adam is a flawed kid who just wants to have value. The way he questions things after the story picks up. The way he considers what it means to love. The way he struggles. It's beautiful and honest. I want to struggle as well as Adam does.
6. As part of an agreement and treatment, Adam has to assist Mr.Cratcher in producing an album he wrote years ago. Your debut album, Looking For Eden is full of songs that Adam helped write in the novel. Did you work on both the novel and album at the same time or did the album come first?
I did! They were written in a way that influenced the writing of the other. I'd do something in the book that'd change a lyric in the album. I'd add an instrument in the album that would effect a discussion in the book. It was a super self-referential creative process. I challenge anyone who's up for it to find all the cross-references and such because there are multitudes.
7. Do you have any advice/thoughts for readers who are in sitting in Adam’s shoes?
Find your Knights of Vice. You can't fight a war by yourself. No one can. Help each other get good at digging into your heart. Listening. Encouraging. Talking through what you're feeling. Honest is one of the hardest things anyone can ever be, but it comes with so much freedom. Also, go easy on yourself. Give yourself time to change and grace to fail.
8. (Fun question) Do you have any current reading recommendations?
YES. Wolf Hollow by Lauren Wolk, Hillbilly Elegy by J.D Vance, A Grief Observed by C.S. Lewis. All FANTASTIC.
The Tempting Milkshake inspired by Pritchett's - Home of the best milkshake this side of that one chick's yard, possibly in America. - The Temptation of Adam by Dave Connis.
About the Author
Dave Connis has held all manner of job, from ballroom dance instructor to construction worker. He is now a community manager at Code Corps, a platform where people can donate time, talent, and money to projects for social change. He also works as an assistant youth director at his church, Rock Creek Fellowship. He has a bachelor’s in community development with a focus on international economics from Covenant College. He is a member of the SCBWI. He lives in Chattanooga, Tennessee, with his wife and son.
The winner will receive:
1. 1 finished copy of The Temptation of Adam by Dave Connis
2. 1 digital copy of Dave’s companion album, Looking for Eden, courtesy of Dave Connis
3. 2 mini journals courtesy of Sky Pony Press
- Canada Only (full rules found in the T&C on Rafflecopter)
- Giveaway ends on November 9th at 12:00AM EST
- Winner will be drawn randomly through Rafflecopter, contacted via email and will have 24 hours to claim their prize
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